Az Yet

Az Yet is an American R&B group from Philadelphia, best known for their songs "Last Night" and the cover "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" originally performed by Chicago.

Az Yet
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Years active1989–present
LabelsLaFace, DreamWorks, Az Yet Records
Associated actsBoyz II Men, Blayse, Babyface, Peter Cetera, David Foster, Chicago, Brian McKnight, Jon B., Floetry, Diane Warren, Kirk Franklin, 112, Silk, Jaclyn Victor
MembersDion Allen
Kenny Terry
Claude Thomas
Dyshon Benson
Past members
Shawn Rivera
Darryl Anthony
Marc Nelson
Tony Grant
LeDon Bishop("Smith")
Kris Gilder
Dante Harper
Damon Core (deceased)
Ali Hyman


Formed in 1989 initially as a duo with Shawn Rivera and Dion Allen, the two were later joined by Kenny Terry, whom they met singing in the lobby of the Wyndham Hotel in Philadelphia.[1] The addition of Ali Hyman, Claude Thomas, Dyshon Benson, & Damon Core briefly made the group a septet but Damon and Ali would depart early on. Through the process of getting management & in the process of being signed in 1992 both Claude & Dyshon left the group in 1995 &1996 then fellow Philly native Darryl Anthony came on board. A demo by the group found its way into the hands of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds through his mother-in-law, Jacqueline McQuam, who would one day hold various showcases to highlight their work. Impressed by their sound, Edmonds asked them to perform at a concert with After 7 and El DeBarge. Subsequently, the group added Boyz II Men founding member Marc Nelson. Az Yet first hit it big with a song from The Nutty Professor soundtrack, "Last Night." [2]

Debut album

Az Yet released their self-titled debut album in 1996 on LaFace Records. The album featured a "who's who" of musical heavyweights, including David Foster, Babyface, Sheila E., and Brian McKnight. The first single, "Last Night," reached #9 on the US Hot 100, #1 on the R&B chart, peaked at #2 on Australia's ARIA charts, and spent 2 weeks at #1 in New Zealand's RIANZ charts, ultimately achieving platinum status in the US. The group's second single, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" (a cover of the Chicago hit), was nominated for a Grammy award (Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals),[3] reached #8 on the Hot 100, and achieved platinum status. Driven by these two singles, the album reached RIAA platinum status.[4]


Fueled by 2 Top Ten hits, the group's popularity led them to several television appearances in their early years. Live performances include 'The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show', 'All That' and two appearances on Soul Train (the first in 1996 with Marc Nelson as lead singer and the second in 1997 with Tony Grant). The group was also cast as "TJ's Band" and appeared in several episodes of the short-lived television drama "Fame L.A.".[5]


Az Yet appeared on movie soundtracks for "The Nutty Professor" (1996 Def Jam Records, Certified Double-Platinum), "Hav Plenty" (1998 Sony Music) and "Kingdom Come" (2001 GospoCentric Records), as well as on the soundtrack for "Fame L.A." (1998 Polygram Records). "Kingdom Come" was nominated for a Dove Award in 2002.

Group changes

Marc Nelson

Marc Nelson was removed from the group in 1997 due to "personal differences" and pursued a solo career. Nelson was replaced by Tony Grant.

Nelson's television appearances include "All That" and the group's first appearance on "Soul Train."

Tony Grant

During Tony Grant's tenure with Az Yet, the group recorded the popular remake of "You're The Inspiration" with Chicago's Peter Cetera in 1997. Grant was a part of the group during their cameo appearances on the T.V. series "Fame L.A." and the recording of the "Fame L.A." soundtrack. He was replaced by LeDon Bishop after a dispute with the group's management team.

Grant's television appearances include "The Keenon Ivory Wayans Show", "Fame L.A." and the group's second appearance on "Soul Train". Traditionally, performers on "Soul Train" lip synched, however, the recorded tracks contained Marc Nelson's vocals prompting the group to perform live, a rarity for the long-running show.

LeDon Bishop

After Tony Grant's replacement with LeDon Bishop, the group (now consisting of Shawn, Dion, Kenny, Darryl and LeDon) recorded "Every Woman" written by Kirk Franklin and appearing on the Kingdom Come Movie Soundtrack.

New formation

In 2002, Az Yet parted from DreamWorks Records. Original group member Darryl Anthony then composed a new group with replacement member LeDon Bishop and brought aboard new members Kris Gilder and Dante Harper, changing the dynamics of the group from a quintet to a quartet. This formation of Az Yet released the EP "That B U" in 2004 and disbanded in late 2007.

Original members reunited

In November 2007, the four remaining original members - Marc Nelson, Kenny Terry, Shawn Rivera and Dion Allen - reunited and began recording their second album, set for release in January 2009. The group released their first single, "Share Life", on October 30, 2008.[6][7]

On July 21, 2008, the reunited members made their first appearance as a group, performing with their mentor Babyface and former Yab Yum Records counterpart and fellow Babyface protégé Jon B in Los Angeles at a concert benefiting Leeza Gibbons' Memory Foundation.

In October 2008, Az Yet released a statement announcing that past member Tony Grant was re-added to the group, bringing the dynamics of the group back to a quintet.

On December 18, 2008, the group confirmed that they were planning a world tour beginning April 2009. The tour would have marked the world premiere of their second album which was originally set for release in March 2009.

As of 2012, the group consisted of Dion Allen, Shawn Rivera, Kenny Terry and original member Claude Thomas who returned to the group.

Az Yet toured as featured actors/performers in 2013 with the Broadway musical, My Brother Marvin (The Secret Life of Marvin Gaye), starring Keith Washington, Tony Grant and actress Lynn Whitfield.[8]

Later that year, the group recorded "Magical Moment"[9] with Malaysian Idol winner Jaclyn Victor as a theme song for the animated feature film, Ribbit[10] (KRU Studios).

Marc Nelson later returned to the group making them a quintet again with Dion, Shawn, Kenny and Claude.

In 2015, Shawn Rivera left the group to pursue separate interests, thus regressing the group into a quartet. However, the group would still continue on as Dion, Kenny, Marc and Claude would work on a tour and album in 2016, as evidenced by their official Facebook page.

In 2016, Nelson was removed from the group due to personal differences. The original members, Dion Allen, Dyshon Benson, Claude Thomas and Kenny Terry were to record a new album and go on tour.



Extended plays

  • 2004: That B U (Intersoul Records)[12]


  • 2006: Back Home 2007 LP (Az Yet Records)[13]


Year Title Album Label Released
1996 "Last Night" Az Yet LaFace Records August 12, 1996
1997 "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" Az Yet LaFace Records February 2, 1997
1997 "You're the Inspiration"
(Peter Cetera featuring Az Yet)
You're the Inspiration Platinum Entertainment August 26, 1997
2007 "Keep on Pushin'" Back Home InnerSoul Records May 5, 2007[14]
2008 "Share Life" Single only Az Yet Records October 30, 2008
2008 "She Loves the 90s" Single only Az Yet Records November 12, 2008
2009 "I Can't Let U Go" Untitled Az Yet Records January 2009
2011 "Ms. Behaving" Single only Az Yet Records February 2011[15]
2012 "Star Spangled Banner" Single only Az Yet Records July 2012[16]
2013 "All It Takes" Single only Az Yet Records January 2013[17]
2013 "Magical Moment" Ikut Rentakku KRU Music June 26, 2013[18]



  1. ^ "Az Yet biography on". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  2. ^ "Az Yet Timeline". "Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  3. ^ "1998 Grammy Nominees". "Rock On The Net. 1998-02-25. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  4. ^ "RIAA". "RIAA". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  5. ^ "Fame L.A. Episode List". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  6. ^ "Az Yet biography on". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-02-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ download
  14. ^ "Az Yet Teams with Heart Association "Power to End Stroke" Campaign | SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews". SoulTracks. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links

1997 Soul Train Music Awards

The 1997 Soul Train Music Awards was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on March 7, 1997. The show was hosted by Brandy, LL Cool J and Gladys Knight. It would be the final public appearance for The Notorious B.I.G., who would be killed in a drive-by shooting on the early hours of March 9, 1997.

Az Yet (album)

Az Yet is the eponymous debut album by American R&B recording group Az Yet, released in 1996. The album spawned two charting singles including the lead single "Last Night" and the cover of the Chicago song, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry".

Babyface (musician)

Kenneth Brian Edmonds (born April 10, 1959), known professionally as Babyface, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 number-one R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards. He was ranked number 20 on NME's 50 Of The Greatest Producers Ever list.

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1997

This is a list of Billboard magazine's Top Hot 100 songs of 1997.Elton John was 50 years old when his double-sided single topped the chart, which was "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" and the 1997 remake of "Candle In The Wind", although it only debuted in October 1997 and was also #1 for two weeks in the 1998 calendar year.

Jewel's "Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me" was the second most popular song of the year, outperforming many number one singles. The song only reached number two for two weeks, but spent twenty-eight consecutive weeks in the top ten (then the longest running top ten single of all-time) and 65 weeks on the chart (then the longest run in history). It is also placed higher than both of the songs that prevented it from topping the Hot 100.

Although it wasn't dethroned until November 1996 and spent 60 total weeks on the chart, "Macarena" by Los Del Rio, which topped the 1996 year-end chart, is only ranked #82.

Amber's "This Is Your Night" despite peaking in the 1997 calendar year, and being in the 1996 installment, is not displayed in the 1997 installment.


Blayse was a short lived American R&B supergroup, which consisted of Terrell Phillips (formerly of Blackstreet), Marc Nelson and Tony Grant (formerly of Az Yet) and Gary "Lil G" Jenkins (formerly of Silk). The group name is an acronym developed by combining the names of the members' former group affiliations (BL from Blackstreet, AY from Az Yet, S from Silk, E added to denote the phrase "Everything You Could Want").The group was formed in 2006 by Tony Grant and Marc Nelson who later added Gary Jenkins and Terrell Phillips to complete the quartet. All four group members have extensive experience in not only singing, but writing lyrics, music production, global touring, playing various instruments, video direction experience and live stage play performance experience. All four member sing first tenor and alternate the position of lead singer. Their first sample recordings, Back For My Heart and Forever drew international attention and the group decided to press forward with serious pursuit of completing the project. Their debut single was released in September 2007 followed by their first U.S. tour as a group Blayse has worked with Mike City, Trackmasters, Shep Crawford, The Co-Stars, Orange Factory and Stargate on their debut album. However, as of 2012, nothing has come to fruition.

In a radio interview in late 2014, Marc Nelson stated that the group will be reforming. There is no word yet on whether this will result in an album release.

Hard to Say I'm Sorry

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" is a song written by bassist Peter Cetera, who also sang lead on the track, and producer David Foster, for the group Chicago. It was released on May 16, 1982, as the lead single from the album Chicago 16. The song reached No. 1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 11 of that year. It was their first top 50 hit since "No Tell Lover" in 1978, spent twelve weeks in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in September of the same year.

LaFace Records

LaFace Records was an American record label based in Atlanta, Georgia that operated as a unit of Sony Music Entertainment from 2008 to 2011 and was historically a part of Bertelsmann Music Group from 1989 to 2004. It was most active and achieved its greatest commercial success during the 1990s; dealing largely in the field of urban music. It was originally distributed by its co-creator Arista Records from 1989 through 2001; after which it was shuttered and absorbed into Arista. In 2004, the label was rebooted, and it began operating through Jive Records until both were absorbed into RCA Records in 2011. Today, the label's back catalog and reissues are managed by Legacy Recordings.

Last Night (Az Yet song)

"Last Night" is an R&B song recorded by the group Az Yet and produced by Babyface and Mervyn Warren. The song became the group's first hit, reaching number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart, number four on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart, in addition to reaching number two in Australia and number one in New Zealand for two weeks.

There are two versions of the song's music video, one with clips from The Nutty Professor and the other without.

Brazilian group Fat Family recorded a version for their 1998 album.

Lionel Cole

Lionel Cole is a pianist, songwriter, composer, music editor, music supervisor and public speaker. He has served as a regularly touring member of Mariah Carey's live band. Cole also partnered with Malcolm-Jamal Warner, to create the jazz and funk band Miles Long. The first album, The Many Facets of Superman, featured En Vogue's Cindy Heron and soul icon Teena Marie.Cole co-wrote with Mariah Carey the Billboard chart single "Through the Rain", which appeared on Carey's ninth studio album Charmbracelet (2002). The song peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it hit number 1 on the U.S. sales and dance charts. Previously, Cole remixed the million selling cover single "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by boy band AZ Yet. In 2010, Cole toured with 1980s star Rickie Lee Jones. From a storied musical family, he is the son of Freddy Cole, a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist, the nephew of Nat King Cole, and the cousin of Natalie Cole.Cole's music work extends into film and television, he composed for the Tim Reid film Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored and the Showtime series Linc's.

List of Top 25 albums for 1997 in Australia

The following lists the top 100 albums of 1997 in Australia from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) End of Year Albums Chart.

Peak chart positions from 1997 are from the ARIA Charts, overall position on the End of Year Chart is calculated by ARIA based on the number of weeks and position that the records reach within the Top 50 albums for each week during 1997.

List of Top 25 singles for 1997 in Australia

The following lists the top 100 singles of 1997 in Australia from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) End of Year Singles Chart.

Peak chart positions from 1997 are from the ARIA Charts, overall position on the End of Year Chart is calculated by ARIA based on the number of weeks and position that the song reached within the Top 50 singles for each week during 1997.

List of songs written by Babyface

This is an alphabetical list of the songs known to have been written or co-written by Babyface.

Marc Nelson

Marc K. Nelson (born January 23, 1971) is an American singer and songwriter. His mother was the late American singer Phyllis Nelson, best known for the songs "I Like You" and "Move Closer". He was an original member of Boyz II Men while still attending Philadelphia's High School of Performing Arts. However, Nelson left the group to pursue a solo career before they released their first album.

Peter Cetera

Peter Paul Cetera ( sə-TERR-ə; born September 13, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, and bassist best known for being an original member of the rock band Chicago (1967–1985), before launching a successful solo career. His career as a recording artist encompasses seventeen albums with Chicago and eight solo albums.With "If You Leave Me Now", a song written and sung by Cetera on the group's tenth album, Chicago garnered its first Grammy Award. It was also the group's first number one single.As a solo artist, Cetera has scored six Top 40 singles, including two that reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in 1986, "Glory of Love" and "The Next Time I Fall". "Glory of Love", the theme song from the film The Karate Kid Part II (1986), was co-written by Cetera, David Foster, and Diane Nini, and was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for best original song from a motion picture.In 1987, Cetera received an ASCAP award for "Glory of Love" in the category, "Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures". His performance on "Glory of Love" was nominated for a Grammy Award for best pop male vocal. That same year Cetera and Amy Grant, who duetted on "The Next Time I Fall", were nominated for a Grammy Award for best vocal performance by a pop duo or group.Besides David Foster and Amy Grant, Cetera has collaborated throughout his career with other nationally known and internationally known recording artists from various genres of music including: The Beach Boys, Billy Joel, Karen Carpenter, Paul Anka, Agnetha Fältskog, Richard Sterban, Bonnie Raitt, Madonna, David Gilmour, Az Yet, Cher, Chaka Khan, Crystal Bernard, Ronna Reeves, and Alison Krauss. His songs have been featured in soundtracks for movies and television.In 2014, the first album by the group Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority (Columbia, 1969), with Cetera on bass and vocals, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Cetera was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Chicago in April 2016, and Cetera, Robert Lamm, and James Pankow are among the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees for their songwriting efforts as members of the group.

Shawn Rivera

Shawn Rivera is an American singer, songwriter, producer and percussionist best known for his work with the R&B vocal group Az Yet.

A Philadelphia native of Puerto Rican ancestry, Rivera is also the inventor of the popular cajon-style drum called SlapBoxx.

The Nutty Professor (soundtrack)

The Nutty Professor soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 1996 Universal Pictures comedy film, The Nutty Professor. It was released the same year through Def Jam Recordings, which was distributed by PolyGram Records and contained hip hop and R&B music. The album fared well on the Billboard charts, peaking at #8 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and featured several charting singles: "Ain't Nobody" by Monica featuring Treach of Naughty By Nature, "I Like" by Montell Jordan featuring Slick Rick, "Ain't No Nigga" by Jay-Z featuring Foxy Brown "Touch Me, Tease Me" by Case featuring Mary J. Blige and Foxy Brown and "Last Night" by Az Yet all made it to the charts with "Last Night" making it to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The two tracks "Come Around" by Dos of Soul and "My Crew Can't Go For That" by Trigger tha Gambler featuring D.V. Alias Khrist and Smoothe da Hustler.

Tony Grant (singer)

Tony Grant, a native of North Carolina, is an American R&B singer, writer, producer and stage play actor. Grant replaced Marc Nelson as lead singer for R&B group Az Yet following Marc's departure in 1997 to pursue his solo career. Included in Grant's brief tenure with Az Yet is the popular remake of "You're The Inspiration" with Chicago's Peter Cetera.

Grant had star billing in the stage play and DVDs Tell Hell I Ain't Comin', Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married and Love Ain't Supposed To Hurt. In the earlier part his entertainment career, Tony was cast for the lead role in the stage play "A Good Man is Hard to Find" in 1991. From there he has become one of the most popular leading men in the stage play industry. In January 2008, Grant began touring with the Tyler Perry stage production The Marriage Counselor.

You're the Inspiration

"You're the Inspiration" is a song written by Peter Cetera and David Foster for the group Chicago and recorded for their fourteenth studio album Chicago 17 (1984), with Cetera singing lead vocals. The third single released from that album, it reached  No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1985 (behind "All I Need" by Jack Wagner and "Like a Virgin" by Madonna) and also climbed to the top position on the adult contemporary chart at the same time. Peter Cetera re-recorded the song for his 1997 solo album You're the Inspiration: A Collection. That same year he also recorded a single version with the vocal R&B group, Az Yet.

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