Who would have thought that this would happen? The greatest boy band of the ’80s and the greatest boy band of the ’90s together have released an album and are touring together. Even non-fans will not be able to resist the thrill of hearing the old songs again coming one after the other in an album featuring the combined forces of the New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys (NKOTBSB).
Remember the New Kids On The Block? They were Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood. For a while it also included Donnie’s brother, Mark Wahlberg, who later on became Marky Mark, rapper and Calvin Klein underwear model and then became Mark Wahlberg again, box-office star and Academy Award nominated actor.
The Kids all went their own way after they disbanded in 1994. Jonathan came out of the closet and went into the real estate business. His brother Jordan went solo. Danny is now a record producer. Joey continues to record and perform solo. He acts on stage, Wicked, Fonzie; television, Boston Public, Dancing With The Stars; and in the movies, Fantasticks, Tony and Tina’s Wedding. Then there is Donnie, a sensitive, riveting actor. I hope you saw him with Tom Selleck in the series Blue Bloods and before that in The Kill Point, Band Of Brothers, Boomtown and others.
Formed by Maurice Starr in 1986, the NKOTB had a successful career of No. 1 sellers, sold-out concerts and the fanatic adulation of girls from over the world for nearly 10 years. Their songs are now considered boy-band standards. Their Grammy winning concert documentary Hangin’ Tough remains one of the biggest selling videos of all time. After several failed attempts, the Kids finally reunited for the album The Block, which made No. 1 and a sold-out tour three years ago. It was after this that the NKOTBSB emerged.
You all know The Backstreet Boys. They are AJ McLean, Brian Litrell, Howie Dorough and Nick Carter. And for a while Kevin Richardson who is now a successful actor with Billy Flynn in Chicago as his most popular role.
Although the Boys from time to time would have solo efforts, Howie was here a few years ago for a duet with Sarah Geronimo, the four remaining guys remain close and are still the very much intact Backstreet Boys. When his schedule permits, Kevin would also join them in various appearances including a few recently with the Kids.
And how did this collaboration come about? It must have been Dick Clark’s idea. That guy is the ultimate pop music authority. He got the Kids and the Boys together for a number at last year’s American Music Awards and the fans went wild. Next thing you know they had a CD and were touring together.
Fans chose the songs included in what has been hyped as the ultimate collaborative album. The Help Make The Album campaign was launched when these boys decided to record and tour together. Fans were asked to send in the titles of hits by the two groups that should be included in the CD. Over a quarter of a million votes were cast from 52 countries over a 10-day period and the Top 5 titles for each group made it to the album.
Titled NKOTBSB after the first letters of their names and the same initials by which they had been known all these years, the album includes: Step By Step by NKOTB; I Want It That Way by BSB; You Got It (The Right Stuff) by NKOTB; Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) by BSB; Please Don’t Go Girl by NKOTB; As Long As You Love Me by BSB; Hangin’ Tough by NKOTB; Larger Than Life by BSB; I’ll Be Loving You Forever by NKOTB; and Quit Playing Games (With My Heart).
And then because this is no ordinary compilation album of old hits, NKOTB and BSB recorded some new stuff. So all together now the NKOTBSB sing All In My Head and Don’t Turn Out The Lights (D.T.O.T.L.) and the NKOTBSB Mash Up of some of their big hits, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), Hangin’ Tough, I Want It That Way, Step By Step, I’ll Never Break Your Heart, Please Don’t Go Girl, You Got (The Right Stuff) and Larger Than Life.
They have not changed much. Their sound remains the same. They are just older. But who cares? So are their fans, anyway. And this chance to recapture glorious, fun moments from the past through their music is more than anybody can ask for.