New Kids On the Block
About New Kids On the Block
For many tweens in the late ‘80s, New Kids On the Block were just as crucial as boy-band godfathers The Beatles had been a couple decades earlier. NKOTB started in 1985 when New Edition impresario Maurice Starr launched a talent search in Boston looking for a group of boys with the right stuff. He found Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight. Under Starr’s guidance, they became the New Kids On the Block, a dancing, singing, hitmaking machine. While their self-titled debut of bubblegum pop came out in 1986, it wasn’t until 1988’s Hangin’ Tough—led by singles “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You Got It (The Right Stuff)”—that New Kids mania hit fever pitch. Thanks to a combination of their slick melodies and dreamy lyrics, the members became superstars. The band’s rise continued with 1990’s Step by Step, its smash-hit title track, and a relentless touring schedule. They cashed in on their fame with huge licensing deals for New Kids-branded merchandise and even a pay-per-call hotline. As the ‘90s rolled on and grunge rolled in, the band’s star faded. Ever the clever marketers, they rebranded as NKOTB, with a new R&B-fueled album, Face the Music, in 1994. They parted ways later that year, paving a path for Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and One Direction. They reunited in 2008 with a surprise smash new album, The Block, and just like that, NKOTB was back touring and making music together. Decades later, their legacy is evident in the rise of K-pop bands like BTS and the resurgence in New Kids mania each time they tour.