The also gained a following in Europe, where their next two albums, Coming Out and Pastiche, brought a string of chart hits. These successes were followed by a live-recorded album, The Manhattan Transfer Live, recorded in the UK and which reached the UK Top 5. Soon after that album was recorded, during 1978, Laurel Mass_ was injured badly in a car accident and was replaced by Cheryl Bentyne. The line-up has remained the same since then.
Their next album, Extensions, was released in 1979 and earned the group their second U.S. popular music success, the disco hit ‘Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone’, written by Alan Paul and Jay Graydon as a tribute to the 1960s CBS television series created by Rod Serling.
Extensions also featured a cover of Weather Report’s ‘Birdland’, with lyrics by Jon Hendricks. One of the most popular jazz recordings of 1980, ‘Birdland’ brought the group their first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance), and Janis Siegel was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices for her arrangement of ‘Birdland’.
During 1981, The Manhattan Transfer made music history by becoming the first group to win Grammy awards for both popular and jazz categories in the same year. Boy from New York City and Other Hits (a cover of the 1965 success by The Ad Libs) reached the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 and won them the award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and ‘Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)’ earned them a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance, Duo or Group.
During 1982, the group won another Grammy, for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, for its rendition of the classic ode-to-the-road, ‘Route 66’.
In September 1983, the group released the album Bodies and Souls, with an urban-contemporary style which resulted in two R&B chart singles. The first was the #2 hit ‘Spice of Life’. The single also reached #40 on the US pop chart and #19 in the UK. The other single, the ballad ‘Mystery’ (#80 R&B, #102 Pop), was later recorded by Anita Baker on her 1986 album Rapture.
In 1985, the group released two albums – the first being Bop Doo-Wopp, an album that included both live and studio recordings. The group’s next album, Vocalese received twelve Grammy nominations at the time making it second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the most nominated single album ever. The group won in two categories: Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group, and Best Arrangement for Voices.
For their next album, 1987’s Brasil, the group headed south to work with Brazilian songwriters and musicians Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento, Djavan and Gilberto Gil. Brasil won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The group did not release any more studio albums until 1991, when they signed with the Sony Music label and released The Offbeat of Avenues, featuring original material written or co-written by members of the quartet. Their efforts brought them their 10th Grammy award, for the song ‘Sassy’. This was followed by the release of their first holiday album entitled The Christmas Album in 1992. Switching back to Atlantic Records as their distributor, they released Tonin’ (a collection of R&B and popular successes from the 1960s), The Manhattan Transfer Meets Tubby the Tuba (a children’s album), and their 1997 album Swing which covered 1930s-era swing music. Their final album for the Atlantic company was The Spirit of St. Louis in 2000, dedicated to the music of Louis Armstrong.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
The group signed to the Telarc label in 2003 to release Couldn’t Be Hotter, a live performance capturing many of the songs from The Spirit of St. Louis.In 2004, the group released the album Vibrate. This was another one of their pastiche albums, blending original tunes with older ones, pop, jazz, funk, etc. Vibrate featured such notable musicians as bassist Will Lee, and renowned time keeper Steve Hass on drums.
Their band’s latest album, The Chick Corea Songbook, is a tribute to the works of American jazz musician Chick Corea and was released in September 2009. The album features an appearance by Corea himself on the track ‘Free Samba’.