New Kids on the Block is a hugely-successful American pop group from Boston. Touted as the original boy band, NKOTB ushered in an era of immense popularity and became a prototype for other boy bands like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees. From the late 80s until their separation in ’94, the boys were surrounded by hysteric female fans and intense media frenzy. They received a warm welcome from their fans when they came together in 2007. NKOTB has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.
- Donnie Wahlberg (Founding Member) – Vocals
- Jordan Knight (Lead Singer) – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
- Joey McIntyre – Vocals, Piano
- Jonathan Knight – Vocals
- Danny Wood – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Choreography
- Mark Wahlberg – Vocals (1984-1985)
- Jamie Kelly – Vocals (1985)
Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
- Columbia Records
- Interscope Records
- The Block/Boston Five
First Headlining Tour
The band embarked on their first headlining tour called the Hangin’ Tough Tour
in 1989 to promote their 2nd studio album Hangin’ Tough.
- Their debut studio album titled New Kids on the Block was released in 1986 by Columbia Records. But the album, comprising of mostly bubblegum pop songs, failed to make an impact.
- Their 2nd album Hangin’ Tough (1988) became a game-changer for the band. The album contained several popular singles like Please Don’t Go Girl, You Got It (The Right Stuff), Cover Girl, Hangin’ Tough, and I’ll Be Loving You (Forever). It also topped the US Billboard 200 albums chart and was certified 8x platinum by the RIAA.
- Step by Step (1990), the group’s 4th studio album reached the #1 spot on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. The album received a 3x platinum certification and had successful songs like Step by Step and Tonight.
New Kids on the Block Facts
- Donnie was the first member to be recruited by Maurice Starr, who was impressed with the 15-year-old’s dancing skills, rapping abilities, and leadership qualities. Donnie, in turn, recommended his childhood friends Danny, Jonathan, and Jordan for the audition.
- Joey McIntyre was the last member to join the group, who at 12 years old impressed Starr with his Michael Jackson-like appeal. Joey was given a hard time by the other members who were unhappy that he had replaced their old friend.
- Maurice Starr had initially settled on the name ‘Nynuk’ for the band. But it was replaced with New Kids on the Block, the title of a rap song written by Donnie for their debut album, after Columbia Records expressed their disapproval of the original name.
- Fans of the band are known as ‘Blockheads’.
- The band was nominated for a Grammy Award for their documented film New Kids on the Block: Hangin’ Tough in the ‘Best Music Film’ category in 1990. But, they lost to Janet Jackson‘s Rhythm Nation 1814.
- Rolling Stone Magazine ranked NKOTB as #16 on their list of ‘Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments’.
- After the failure of their debut album, the record label had plans to drop the band. But the success of Please Don’t Go Girl (from the album Hangin’ Tough) helped catapult the band into mainstream success.
- In 1989, the state of Massachusetts declared April 24th as “New Kids on the Block Day.”
- During their initial days, NKOTB became an opening act for teen idol Tiffany at the US leg of her concert tour. But by early 1989, the group had exploded into the musical scene and Tiffany ended up opening for the boys.
- The band toured with the Backstreet Boys in 2011 and officially collaborated as NKOTBSB (New Kids on the Block + Backstreet Boys). The new-formed group released their debut album NKOTBSB in 2011.
- The band achieved the distinguishing feat of having 3 of their singles from 3 different albums charting on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. The songs were – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind) (from New Kids on the Block), Cover Girl (from Hangin’ Tough), and This One’s For the Children (from Merry, Merry Christmas).
- NKOTB profited immensely from the sale of their licensed merchandise which included T-shirts, lunch boxes, dolls, buttons, comic books, trading cards, etc. In 1991, they earned an estimated revenue of $400 million only through merchandising.
- By 1991, the group’s popularity had soared immeasurably and Forbes Magazine had listed them as the highest-paid entertainers on their annual list. In doing so, they beat legends like Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Bill Cosby.
- At the height of their popularity, the official NKOTB Hotline received 100,000 calls per week.
- Their holiday album Merry, Merry Christmas went double platinum in 1989. The band donated 100% of the proceeds to the charitable organization, United Cerebral Palsy.
- From 1992, New Kids on the Block saw a decline in their popularity, which was cemented by accusations of lip-syncing and using a backing track for their live performances.
- Jonathan was the first member to leave the band in 1994, after experiencing frequent panic attacks, following which the other members officially disbanded.
- After disbanding in 1994, there were several rumors about the band coming together but it was in 2008 that they officially confirmed their reunion after having secretly reunited the year before.
- In 2009, NKOTB organized their first concert cruise from Miami, Florida to the Bahamas. The cruise was the first-of-its-kind opportunity for the diehard fans to interact with their favorite singers in such proximity.
- Their adventures on the cruise were chronicled on the reality show Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block (2015-2016) for 2 seasons on Pop TV.
- In May 2013, NKOTB performed on the Boston Strong telethon which was organized after the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.
- Since their reunion, the band has performed at concert tours all over the world alongside musical acts like Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul, Nelly, 98 Degrees, Debbie Gibson, Salt-N-Pepa, Lady Gaga, etc.
- New Kids on the Block received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 9, 2014. Their star is present at 7072 Hollywood Boulevard in California.
- Visit the band’s official website @ nkotb.com.
- Connect with the band members on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, and YouTube.
Featured Image by Ibolya Nyikos / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0