The Time formed in 1981 and were closely affiliated with Prince, as they were assembled by him under a clause in his contract with Warner Brothers that allowed him to recruit artists for the label. Prince created the group as a pet project to continue to produce poppy funk music while he explored other genres.
The group had been based out of Minneapolis under the moniker of Flyte Tyme after the Donald Byrd song, and were comprised of Jellybean Johnson, Monte Moir, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. When Prince brought the group together, he added Jesse Johnson, Morris Day and Jerome Benton to the group's roster. Alexander O'Neal nearly became a part of the group, however, he demanded too much money and so, was opted against.
With the group's debut in 1981, they released their self-titled album. The album featured three singles, "Get It Up," "Cool" and "Girl." The first made it to #6 on the R&B charts, the second to #7 while the third peaked at #49 on the charts.
In their original casting, The Time released one more album together, titled What Time Is It? The album had the group's biggest hit up to that point, "777-9311" which reached #2 on the R&B charts, and "The Walk" which reached #24.
The Time lost two of its members, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, in 1983. At the time, the two men had begun branching out and doing their own work, producing tracks for big artists like Klymaxx and S.O.S. Band. As such, when a blizzard caused the group to miss a concert date, they were fired from the group, leaving suspicion at whether the blizzard, or the men's success were the cause. At the same time, Monte Moir left the group and so, the group found replacements for the three men in Mark Cardenes, Paul Peterson and Jerry Hubbard.
In 1984, The Time had their next wave of success with the movie Purple Rain. With their new line-up, the group appeared in the movie, and released an album titled Ice Cream Castle. The album had some hit singles, with "Jungle Love" reaching #20 on the Hot 100 and the title track reaching #11 on the R&B charts.
Several more members of the group left shortly thereafter, with Morris Day leaving in 1985, and Jesse Johnson following shortly thereafter. With so many of the groupmates gone, the group broke apart, while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis made a name for themselves as one of the top songwriting and production teams in R&B.
The group reunited in 1990 for the movie Graffiti Bridge and a new album, Pandemonium. The album scored a hit single with "Jerk Out," which topped the R&B charts and reached #9 on the Hot 100. However, even with reasonable success, the group fell apart shortly thereafter as infighting erupted among the members.
Since that release, the group has appeared in some forms over the years. In 1995, a hodgepodge of former group members and new recruits toured and appeared in the movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. However, in 2008, the original group reunited and appeared in the 50th Grammy Awards. With the warm reception of their performance, the group performed at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas from June 24th to August 2nd, 2008.