The music of the ’80s featured everything from the early sounds of rap and the new jack swing to dance/pop. And that fun, energetic style of Pop & R&B, was the flavor for the popular group The Jets.
The Jets are five brothers (Leroy, Eddie, Eugene, Haini and Rudy) and three sisters (Kathi, Elizabeth and Moana) of the Wolfgramm family of Minneapolis via Tonga. While all of them sang, they were also a self-contained band, most having learned various instruments. In 1986, their playing for family, friends and talent shows turned into a record deal.
With innocent good looks, upbeat charm and bouncy music, The Jets soared with their self-titled debut album. Their first single, “Curiosity,” would be the first of the group’s four R&B Top 10s. But, months later, “Crush On You” launched The Jets onto the pop charts. The #3 pop/#4 R&B hit was followed by the Top 30 R&B “Private Number” and then another pop smash, the #3 pop/#2 R&B slow-dance anthem “You Got It All” (written by Rupert Holmes of “Pina Colada” fame). The Jets went platinum.
In 1987, the group took off again with the gold-certified Magic. “Cross My Broken Heart,” which also appeared on the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack, went Top 10 pop and #11 R&B. “I Do You” was Top 20 pop and R&B. Early the next year, “Rocket 2 U” reached #6 pop and #5 R&B. Another slow-dance favorite, “Make It Real,” peaked at #4 pop and Top 25 R&B. Magic also included “Sendin’ All My Love.”
The decade was nearing it’s close, and in 1988, The Jets didn’t release a project. It’s understandable that the group chose a brief hiatus. That might have had an influence in their 1989 release, Believe, not becoming the monster hit like that of each of the previous albums. The memorable single “You Better Dance” contained the group’s signature energy and pop elements, and “The Same Love” looked for major airplay as well. But the shift in musical taste now was leaning toward rap and hip-hop.
In 1990, MCA once again released the group’s next CD, entitled “The Best Of The Jets.” That featured a newly recorded version of their hit “Special Kinda Love,” a song that exhibited the group’s true love and heart for their music.
In 1991, MCA Records tried to refashion The Jets into a street-wise hip-hop band with a R&B, urban sound. It was such a bad fit, that MCA never released the album & their hits album was the last on the label.
Moana stated some years back “The music almost tore us apart. The business took over and the gigs were more important than our relationships,
“Liz, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, just walked away from the music. We were like 20 — when kids are almost finishing college — and we were like burnt-out, has-been music artists.”
The band filed for bankruptcy and fired their high-profile manager, Don Powell in the late 90s. $12 million was grossed between 1985 and 1990 and the split between them and their manager didn’t add up.
The group went on to release 5 independent releases since, with the last being the “Reunited” album featuring classic Jets and six new songs in 2014. The Jets have recently announced a new album project in the works and will announce that soon and as well as 2017 Tour dates.
Though the group may have experienced only a brief stay in the musical spotlight, they will go down in harmonious history as singers and songwriters who simply love music.
A true representation, of the “Minneapolis Sound” – Salute!
The Hits from The Jets + Music & Videos