“Nights like this I wish raindrops would fall”– Those were the lyrics sung throughout just about every Black household after the iconic movie, The Five Heartbeats was released on March 29, 1991.
The timeless film, co-written by Keenen Wayans and created, directed by and starring Robert Townsend, journeys the rise and fall of a fictional 1960’s Black vocal group. Chronicling the highs and lows of an amateur all-guy group during early 60s segregation in Chicago, the loosely-based-on-true events story highlights the realities of the music industry and the personal struggles of each group member.
In addition to Townsend, the group was comprised of stars Michael Wright, Leon Robinson, Harry J. Lennix and Tico Wells.
The film didn’t see great success upon its release in theaters – it earned a 39% rating on top critic site Rotten Tomatoes – but over the course of the next 20 years and throughout its 31 year history, the movie cemented itself as a classic among the Black community.
One of the most notable aspects of the movie is the music. While the actual actors performed real-life concerts to promote the project, most of the hit tunes were produced by ’60s R&B group, The Dells. Additionally, songs “Nights Like This” and “A Heart is a House for Love” by R&B group After 7, went on to become Billboard chart-topping hits.
The Five Heartbeats airs every so often on BET and is available to watch on streaming services like Prime Video.
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