New Kids on the Block was a boy band that was popular during the late 1980s and early 1990s assembled by producer Maurice Starr. The band currently consists of brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. They have sold 80 million records worldwide. They won two American Music Awards in 1990 for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group and Favorite Pop/Rock Album.
In 1986, the group's self-titled debut album was released that almost exclusively written and produced by Maurice Starr and featured mid 80s bubblegum pop material. The singles "Be My Girl" and "Stop It Girl", fared poorly and the band toured around the New England states, performing at bars, school dances, and clubs.
In 1988, the album Hangin' Tough was released with the group having more input on their look, direction and song material. Originally, the album's first single was "Please Don't Go Girl" went unnoticed by the listening public until a radio station in Florida began playing the song and requested the song on their play list. A music video for "Please Don't Go Girl" was shot by director Doug Nichol, and 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.
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. 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 even though they were both listed as co-headliners. Eventually, the group became the first 'teen' act to garner five top ten hits from a single album.
Hangin' Tough would go on to spend 132 weeks on the chart and it won two American Music Awards for "Best Pop/Rock Album", and "Best Pop/Rock Group." 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.
Columbia Music Video also released a home video "Hangin' Tough", a documentary on the band directed by Doug Nichol and produced by Bryan Johnson, that included their four hit music videos and a live concert recorded during their 1989 tour. It achieved massive sales, earning a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video nomination, and was one of the biggest selling music videos of all time.
In 1990, New Kids on the Block released the album Step by Step, which featured slightly more than half of the songs co-written and produced by the members themselves. The first single, "Step by Step", reached number one on the Hot 100 Singles Chart and became their biggest selling single. It was followed up with the top ten "Tonight", which extended the consecutive top ten singles chart run to nine records. The album was eventually certified triple platinum, selling close to twenty million copies worldwide.
The group performed an estimated two hundred concerts a year, with an extravagant worldwide concert tour that summer, called The Magic Summer Tour. The group became heavily merchandised including lunch boxes, buttons, T-shirts, comic books, dolls, trading cards and a Saturday morning cartoon in their likeness.
In 1991, the group topped Forbes list of highest paid entertainers, beating out the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Bill Cosby. The group want overseas and continued to tour throughout Europe and Asia.
As the music industry was still reeling from the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal, the group found themselves accused of lip-syncing by Gregory McPherson, a music teacher who was listed as an associate producer and string arranger on the group's third album. McPherson alleged that Maurice Starr sang the vocals while the group lip-synced to pre-recorded vocals during their live performances. McPherson also filed a breach of contract and creative infringement lawsuit against Starr. The group admitted to singing with a backing track during live performances and also admitted that Starr sang harmony on some background vocals. The New Kids filed a defamation lawsuit against McPherson regarding his lip-syncing allegations and McPherson dropped his suit against Starr and released a statement recanting his previous allegations. By the time the lip-syncing allegations surfaced, the group was starting to experience a backlash. Despite their success, the group's record sales also began to decline due to a shift in musical tastes to gangsta rap and grunge music.
In January 1994, their fourth studio album, Face the Music, was released after their split from Maurice Starr and the group shortened their name to the initialism NKOTB. In spite of some positive critical reception, the album failed to live up to commercial expectation. NKOTB went on tour to support the album, playing smaller venues such as clubs and theaters, as opposed to the arenas and stadiums they were once accustomed to. After experiencing increased panic attacks and anxiety, Jonathan Knight left the band. Shortly thereafter, the remaining four decided to officially disband the group.
After the group's split, most of the group members started families and began to venture into other avenues. Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood maintained low profiles, while the other three continued their careers individually. In 2008, the group reunited and released the singles "Summertime" and "Single", featuring R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo. The Block was released shortly thereafter and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums Chart and #2 on the Billboard 200 in September 2008. They toured the US for New Kids on the Block: Live with Natasha Bedingfield and Lady Gaga as supporting acts. After the tour, each member took a break on doing other endeavors.
In 2011, NKOTB toured with the Backstreet Boys as "NKOTB/BSB" and in 2013, the album, 10, was released.