Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight of the musical group New Kids On The Block perform at Bridgestone Arena on May 09, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Forty years into their history, New Kids On The Block are releasing a new album. The 14-track collection, Still Kids, comes out on May 17, 2024. NKOTB first got together in 1984 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. They found their initial success in the late 1980s and early 1990s and have sold more than 80 million records worldwide. While another Boston-area act preceded them, New Kids On The Block are often credited as being the first “modern boy band” who blazed a trail for acts such as Take That, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC.

In the early 1980s, record producer Maurice Starr discovered the R&B/pop group New Edition in Boston. After guiding the quintet’s early success, Starr was fired for embezzling funds. Starr and his business partner, Mary Alford, then set out to create a white counterpart act. Fifteen-year-old Donnie Wahlberg became the new group’s first member when he impressed Starr and Alford with his rapping skills.

New Kids On The Block Find The Right Stuff

Originally, Donnie’s brother, Mark Wahlberg, and Jamie Kelly were in New Kids On The Block but both left early on. Donnie was eventually joined by brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, and Danny Wood. All of the members went their separate ways in 1994, only to reunite in 2007. They have been recording and touring ever since, even though they’re not kids anymore.

New Kids On The Block’s videos were mostly performance based and showed off their choreography. Three of their biggest singles between 1988 and 1990 were “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Hangin’ Tough,” and “Step By Step.” For this edition of the Throwback Threesome, let’s revisit that period in history when they really were kids.

  • You Got It (The Right Stuff) (1988)

    The second single from the group’s second studio album, Hangin’ Tough, “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. According to Songfacts, all of the songs on Hangin’ Tough were written and produced by Maurice Starr. He also played all of the instruments on┬áthe album.

  • Hangin' Tough (1989)

    The title track from their second album, “Hangin’ Tough” was also NKOTB’s second #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 after “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” Donnie Wahlberg, who sang lead on this one, said it was written with the Boston Celtics in mind. According to Songfacts, NKOTB had hoped it would become a stadium anthem for the basketball team along the lines of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

  • Step By Step (1990)

    “Step By Step” was initially recorded by one of producer Maurice Starr’s other groups, The Superiors, but went nowhere. It did much better as the first single and title track from NKOTB’s 1990 Step By Step album. The song was New Kids’ third and final #1 hit. Donnie Wahlberg’s brother, Mark Wahlberg, appears in the video.

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