R.I.P. Kenny Kelly of Riff - Noise11.com

R.I.P. Kenny Kelly of Riff

by Roger Wink, VVN Music on August 2, 2016

in News

Kenny Kelly, a former member of the 90’s R&B group Riff, has passed away.

There are no details on the cause of death. The current version of the band posted the following on Facebook:

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. — RIFF

The group started while the members were still attending Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ. Originally known as the Playboys, the group was brought in to appear in the film Lean on Me to play a group that is heard singing in the bathroom in the movie based on their own school.

In 1991, under their new name Riff, the group had the first of six songs to hit the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart. My Heart is Failing Me went to number 6 and 25 on the Hot 100, followed by If You’re Serious which peaked at 7 R&B and 88 on the Hot 100.

The band also released two albums but, by 1994, the hits dried up. Three of the members went on to form Men of Vizion although various members reformed from time to time to perform Riff’s hits.

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