Formation and Early Career:
In the early 1980s, Boston-based pop mogul Maurice Starr guided the group New Edition to national pop and r&b success. After Starr severed ties with New Edition he endeavored to put together a white version of the group. New Kids on the Block were formed, and Columbia Records released the group's self-titled first album in April 1986. Two singles from the album failed to generate national interest. However, Starr convinced the label to support a follow-up.
- Jonathan Knight
- Jordan Knight
- Joe McIntyre
- Danny Wood
- Donnie Wahlberg
A second album, Hangin' Tough, was recorded during 1987 and 1988. The first single from the project, "Please Don't Go Girl," was released in the spring of 1988. It seemed destined for failure as well until local pop radio picked up the song and the success encouraged Columbia Records to give more national promotion. The single finally hit the pop top 10 and was followed by the major single "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and the group's first #1 single, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)." The album, Hangin' Tough, became a #1 smash as well.
Top New Kids on the Block Hits:
- 1988 - "Please Don't Go Girl" #10
- 1988 - "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" #3
- 1989 - "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" #1
- 1989 - "Hangin' Tough" #1
- 1989 - "Cover Girl" #2
- 1989 - "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)" #8
- 1989 - "This One's for the Children" #7
- 1990 - "Step By Step" #1
- 1990 - "Tonight" #7
Step By Step:
Following a double platinum Christmas album, Merry, Merry Christmas, New Kids on the Block went back to the studio to record the album Step By Step, which was released in June 1990 at the peak of the group's popularity. It included the #1 title single and the top 10 hit "Tonight." At the end of 1990, New Kids on the Block were named Forbes magazine's highest paid entertainers of the year. Despite the impressive level of success, the popularity of New Kids on the Block began to fade such that an early 1992 standalone single, "If You Go Away," failed to make the top 10 after nine consecutive top 10 hits.
Face the Music and the Breakup of New Kids on the Block:
In 1993 New Kids on the Block parted ways with their founder and manager Maurice Starr. The group's name was officially shortened to NKOTB for the release of the album Face the Music in January 1994. It included more direct creative input from the band members. However, hit singles failed to materialize. Following an aborted tour, the group decided to disband in June 1994.
The most successful solo New Kid was Jordan Knight. His self-titled solo album released in 1999 and included the top 10 pop hit "Give It To You." Joe McIntyre had some solo success with the album Stay the Same. Donnie Wahlberg pursued an acting career, appearing in a number of movies and TV shows. Danny Wood did some low profile performing, and Jonathan Knight left the entertainment business entirely choosing a real estate career instead.
Rumors of reunions for the group began almost from the time the group first broke up. Unsuccessful attempts to reunite the group took place in both 1999 and 2004. Finally, in the spring of 2008, news appeared that the group was indeed reuniting. A single "Summertime" appeared in May and immediately was added to pop radio playlists across the country. The group performed live on the Today Show to a huge audience May 16, 2008. Plans for a fall reunion concert tour were announced with an expectation of a kickoff in Canada in September 2008.