‘My Heart Is Failing Me,’ Riff

The cover of Riff's self-titled 1991 debut album.

The cover of Riff’s self-titled 1991 debut album.

When most people heard the vocal group Riff singing, the ensemble didn’t even have that name yet. They had all attended Eastside High School in Paterson together, and had sung together as The Playboys. In the 1989 Morgan Freeman movie “Lean on Me,” based on the true story of controversial Eastside principal Joe Clark, they sang the school’s alma mater beautifully in a key scene. Soon, they had adopted the name Riff, landed a record deal, and made the Top 40 in 1991 with “My Heart Is Failing Me.” Check it out below.

They had some other minor hits, too, including “White Men Can’t Jump,” from the soundtrack of the 1992 movie. But they never made the Top 40 again.

Group members are still singing together, and will perform at opening night of the State Fair Meadowlands, June 19.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.

If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.

2 thoughts on “‘My Heart Is Failing Me,’ Riff

  1. Hello My name is Solomon Williams I lived in Paterson NJ for 2 years. I wanted to manger Riff some guy name Skip had them. I worked for Arista Records under Clive Davis. I had Angie stone signed T alk Lisa Left eyes signed. I can still get them a good deal. SO some get in touch with me. We have a free studio for then to record and can put on a dhow for 2 night back to back 1 in Charlotte the in Columbia SC it will be a fund raising with guys and girl with HIV teaching to live. Not on the street where they die, If u have a new demo if copyright u have I will be glad to listen to. So think contract.

  2. Hello My name is Solomon Williams I lived in Paterson NJ for 2 years. I wanted to manger Riff some guy name Skip had them. I worked for Arista Records under Clive Davis. I had Angie stone signed T alk Lisa Left eyes signed. I can still get them a good deal. SO some get in touch with me. We have a free studio for then to record and can put on a dhow for 2 night back to back 1 in Charlotte the in Columbia SC it will be a fund raising with guys and girl with HIV teaching to live. Not on the street where they die, If u have a new demo if copyright u have I will be glad to listen to. So think contract. #m 9802372883 call me.

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