New Edition, Helplessly In Love
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday : New Edition, Helplessly In Love

R&B group New Edition was at crossroads in the summer of 1987. The group’s fourth album, Under the Blue Moon, and their only one as a quartet, had only achieved gold sales. Those numbers were very different from the platinum sales of their previous two albums.

Nevertheless, the group was one of their label’s most popular acts. Label head Jheryl Busby had big plans for the group and would bring in producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and vocalist Johnny Gill to give the group a mature sound. 

However, before working with Gill, NE built chemistry with Jam & Lewis for the lovely ballad. “Helplessly In Love.” Originally appearing on the soundtrack to 1987’s Dragnet, the song production was textbook Jam & Lewis, which perfectly accompanied the maturing tenors of group members Ralph Tresvant and Ricky Bell.

The double R connection sounds excellent together as they croon:

“Never knew the closing of a door

Could open up a heart

Since the day we met I needed you

(needed you)

In my life

To do and say the things that I

Needed to feel and hear

I’m just

Helplessly in love


Don’t know what to do, I’m

Helplessly in love

And the love in my heart

Is for you.”

A long-time favorite among NE fans, “Helplessly in Love” is one song that I wish they would add back to their concert setlist. While I was fortunate enough to hear Ralph perform it live during his stint with Heads of State (a side project with NE members Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown), I would love to hear it performed with Ricky Bell. “Helplessly in Love” was a perfect preview of the chemistry that Jam & Lewis would build with the New Edition collection.

Final Grade: A

“Helplessly in Love” is available on all streaming platforms.

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