New Kids On the Block

 

 

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New Kids on the Block (also known as NKOTB) is an American pop group that enjoyed success in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a boy band which went on to sell 80 million records world-wide. Assembled in Boston in 1984 by producer Maurice Starr, the members consist of brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. They won two American Music Awards in 1990 for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group and Favorite Pop/Rock Album. After having disbanded in 1994, several attempts were made to get the group back together, all of them unsuccessful. They reunited in 2008 and took on a new style, released a new album, and embarked on a concert tour in the fall. The album, entitled The Block was released on September 2, 2008.

In April 1986, Columbia Records released the group's self-titled debut album. The album, almost exclusively written and produced by Maurice Starr, featured mid 80s bubblegum pop material. The first single, "Be My Girl" received minor airplay around the group's native Boston, but failed to capture nationwide attention. The album's second single, "Stop It Girl," fared even worse. The New Kids went on tour around the New England states, singing wherever Starr could book them: in bars, school dances, and clubs. Nevertheless, Starr remained diligent and persuaded the label to allow the group to record a second album. The album, however, would later go on to be certified triple platinum by the RIAA, largely on the strength of the popularity the group attained with their next album.

After the failure of the first album, Starr had the group back in the studio for most of 1987 and 1988 recording their second album. Dissatisfied with the excessively bubblegum sound of their first album, the group wanted to have more input on their look, direction and song material. As a result, Donnie, Danny and Jordan received associate producer credit on the final product. The album's first single was "Please Don't Go Girl," a ballad released in the spring of 1988. Failure seemed destined a second time when the song became another that went unnoticed by the listening public, and Columbia Records made plans to drop the New Kids from the label. At the eleventh hour, however, a radio station in Florida began playing the song. Scoring listener approval, it soon became the most requested song on their play list. When Columbia caught wind of the positive response, they decided to keep the group on its roster and put more effort into promoting the single. National attention soon followed and it eventually climbed to #10 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart—becoming the group's first hit.

New Kids on the Block's second album, Hangin' Tough, was released to modest fanfare in September. In the meantime, the group began making national televised appearances on such music programs as Showtime at the Apollo, and Soul Train. They later landed a spot as an opening act for fellow teen-pop act Tiffany on the U.S. leg of her concert tour. Sales of Hangin' Tough steadily increased as the group's national attention slowly rose. At year's end, the album's second single "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" was released. The song was given a huge boost when MTV took notice of the group and began playing the video in regular rotation, including an appearance on Club MTV. By early 1989, it cracked the top five. The New Kids hit pay dirt with their next single, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in June. The group had been scheduled to open for Tiffany once again on a second tour, but their sudden popularity caused a reversal, and she wound up opening for them (although the two acts were technically billed as "co-headliners.")

More top five singles from Hangin' Tough followed into the summer and fall, including: the title track and "Cover Girl." Columbia Records also released the single "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", from the group's previously overlooked debut album. The song went #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles on the strength of the group's popularity and effectively jump-started the sales of that album as well. By the end of 1989, Hangin' Tough had climbed to number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart and had gone eight-times platinum. They, subsequently, became the first 'teen' act to garner five top ten hits from a single album.

Meanwhile, a top ten charting holiday album, Merry, Merry Christmas, was released in the fall—spawning another top 10 hit, "This One's for the Children" and going double platinum in the U.S. The proceeds were donated to United Cerebral Palsy, the New Kids' favorite charitable cause. Hangin' Tough would go on to spend 132 weeks on the chart, and in January 1990, the album won two American Music Awards for "Best Pop/Rock Album", and "Best Pop/Rock Group." With the success of "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)," "Cover Girl," and "This One's For the Children," the group pulled off a rare feat of having three singles on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, but each from a different album.

The state of Massachusetts declared April 24, 1989, "New Kids on the Block Day."

 

Wikipedia contributors. New Kids on the Block. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. February 24, 2009, 05:20 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=New_Kids_on_the_Block&oldid=272899297. Accessed February 28, 2009.

bio provided courtesy of Last.FM

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