Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon, Jordan. Any girl of the 80s (and some boys) need no further introduction.
To the non-Blockheads of the world, we're of course speaking of THE boy band - New Kids on the Block or NKOTB.
And today, the music and pop culture world's a buzzing with news of a reunion including a new album - 10 - and a tour - The Package - kicking off May 31 with other hot 80s acts 98 Degrees and Boys II Men. Find tour dates and locations here.
No need for us to play coy. We all probably qualified as quasi stalkers.
After all, they had the right stuff.
Admit it: Teen Beat, Tutti Fruitti and BOP papered your bedroom walls, you studied every dance move, heard song hooks in your sleep and never, NEVER missed a TV appearance.
When a family friend took me to see them in concert with the peach-complected Tiffany, my obsession really jumped up a notch complete with a NKOTB concert swag tank top, book covers doodles (Erica + JM 4Ever), and sleepover girl talk always returned to "What do you think they're really like?"
It was our Beatlemania. Silly, fun and harmless. Though, now as a parent, I imagine it drove my mom and dad a little bananas.
The band's aware of their lasting appeal.
"There is a lot of nostalgia and we embrace that. But it always feels young and fresh. I guess that's one of the great things about being in the music business is that you never have to quite grow up." - Joey McIntyre, 40
Dedicated fans, such as myself, helped propel the Beantown boys to superstardom. They sold 80 million records worldwide and won two American Music Awards.
It's the kind of rocket that few musical acts ride.
But fame was fleeting. The first album, News Kids on the Block, was released in 1986. By 1994, the party was over.
The Maurice Starr-created band faced allegations of lip-syncing after the Milli Vanilli scandal. They defended using backing tracks in recording sessions and on stage, and even sued over the accusations, but the scrutiny continued.
It even hurt my view of the band. As a music student, I backed away from my ardent defense of their "bubblegum pop." Down went the NKOTB posters as I graduated to the more serious early 90s "grunge" sound.
Yet today, I forgive all because with time comes a little grace. They were young and likely had very little creative or business control over the band.
And just because they stopped Oh-Oh-oOoh-Oh-ing, like the rest of us, doesn't mean they stopped living.
Here's what our boys have been up to:
Credit Image: © Morgan/UPPA/ZUMAPRESS.com
- Jordan Knight, 42, launched a solo singing career selling 1.5 million records worldwide and regularly appears on TV.
- Spotlight shy Jonathan Knight, 44, works as a real estate developer and recently revealed publicly that he's gay, saying "I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay."
- Joey McIntyre, 40, turned to singing, songwriting and acting, and resurfaced on the first season of Dancing with the Stars, winning third place.
- "Bad boy" Donnie Wahlberg, 43, enjoyed some admirable acting success in hits, such as "The Sixth Sense" and "Band of Brothers."
- Danny Wood, 43, also pursued a solo music career and operates his own record label, Damage Records.
Welcome back, boys. You might not be "new" anymore, but neither are we. It's just darn good to be young and feel young with those whom you were young.
P.S. Do you think Joey's a really involved dad? I'll bet he is. *sigh*
Follow me @erica_holloway.
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