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R.I.P. Kenny Kelly of 90s R&B group Riff


(August 1, 2016) We are very sad to inform SoulTrackers of the bad news of the death of Kenny Kelly of the fine 90s vocal group Riff. As the group posted today on their Facebook page:

As many of you may already know, we lost our brother Kenny "Damn" Kelly last night. Our hearts are heavy and broken. We send prayers and love to his wife Yolanda, his mother Mrs. Kelly and his brothers and sister, Terry, John and Pearl. There are no words to describe the loss of our brother. We are truly devastated and he will remain in our hearts forever. Please keep his family and us in your prayers. To think, we were just talking about planning our reunion concert here in Paterson this past Thursday. We will never forget that he called our harmony the "Riff Sound". He was the best and funniest cat we knew. Rest In Paradise...until we sing again.

The New Jersey based group joined together in the 1980s, and came to the attention of music lovers when they sang in the hit movie Lean On Me in 1989 when they were called The Playboys. They changed their group name to Riff and were signed by SBK Records in 1990. They came out of the box with a self-titled album and the top 10 hits “My Heart Is Failing Me” and “If You’re Serious.” Riff followed two years later with To Whom It May Concern, but it was less successful. By the late 1990s, the group disbanded, and members Anthony Fuller, Dwayne Jones and Michael Best went on to be part of the group Men of Vizion.

Various members of Riff reunited from time to time in the new century.

Kelly’s tragic death at such a young age is another particularly sad blow to music fans in 2016. He will be remembered for his role in one of the talented male vocal groups that helped usher in a new period of vocal harmony excellence a quarter century ago. Rest in peace, Kenny. 



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