Sad news out of the world of R&B. Melvin Edmonds, one third of the R&B trio After 7, has died after a long illness. Edmonds provided the expressive counterpoint to brother Kevon’s sweet first tenor leads on a string of hits in the late 80s and early 1990s. After 7 became a fan favorite and survived much and remain relevant today. After 7 was formed at Indiana University by Melvin Edmonds, Kevon Edmonds and friend Keith Mitchell, and played local gigs in the Bloomington area. Meanwhile, the Edmonds’ older brother, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, became a member of the R&B/funk band The Deele, and ultimately joined bandmate Antonio “LA” Reid to become a songwriting/production team which went on to write and produce tracks for Boys To Men, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown and a slew of other acts, while Babyface enjoyed a successful solo career. In 1998, Reid and Edmonds enterd an artist development deal with Virgin Records and approached After 7 regarding signing with the label. With some trepidation, the trio, then all in their 30s signed, and the result was a self-titled debut album that became a smash, and contained the hits “The Heat Of The Moment” and “Ready Or Not.” After 7 went on to become a consistent act, charting with such hits as “Nights Like This”, (taken from the Five Heartbeats soundtrack), a cover of The Originals hit “Baby I’m For Real”, and “Til You Do Me Right.” While the group continued to score gold albums, by 1996 they were in their 40s and considered an adult act. Their relationship with Virgin Records soured, and they found themselves without a recording contract. Babyface brought brothers Melvin and Kevon together with K-Ci and JoJo to form the one time group Milestone, which had the hit “I Care ‘Bout You” (taken from the Soul Food soundtrack). Shortly thereafter, After 7 disbanded and Melvin took a job as a truck driver while Keith worked construction. Kevon Edmonds released the moderately successful solo album “24-7”, and during his tour he brought Melvin’s son Jason along to sing backup and help with After 7 covers. This lead to a reunion of sorts in 2009, Keith Mitchell joined Kevon and Jason Edmonds to tour as a new version of After 7. Sadly, Melvin suffered a stroke in 2011, which prevented him from rejoining the group. In 2015, After 7 returned to the studio, with all four members on board. With the assistance of Babyface and Daryl Simmons, they recorded the single “I Want You”, which reached No. 6 on the Urban AC charts. The quartet released a second single, “Let Me Know”, in June 2016, with similar success, and followed up in October of that year with “Timeless”, an artistic triumph that found the group sounding better than ever. For fans who enjoy quality music, which certainly includes After 7 performances, this is a huge blow. After 7 created timeless classics, and Melvin Edmonds’ contributions will live on. Rest peacefully Mr. Edmonds. You will never be forgotten.