New Kids on the Block: Their History Since ’84
New Kids on the Block are set to begin their 2017 tour “The Total Package Tour” this Friday. Openers include Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men. This ’80s/’90s band has a lot of history as a group and evolved past bandmates’ struggles, break ups, and industry drama.
New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) is a boy band from Boston that survived the post-’90s rut and continues to be successful in the new millennium. The band currently has five members: brother Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Donnie Wahlberg (brother of famous Boston actor Mark Wahlberg). The group formed in the mid-’80s when Maurice Starr was looking to form a R&B/pop group. Their original name was “Nynuk,” but the record label demanded they change it. New Kids on the Block formed because it was after a rap song that Wahlberg had written for their debut album.
Their self-titled debut album dropped in 1986. Then, Hangin’ Tough dropped in 1988 after fear of failure and threats to be dropped by their label. Their first album met with little success, and the second seemed destined for the same result until MTV picked up their single “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” off of Hangin’ Tough. “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” was another single off the album that truly skyrocketed NKTOB’s success. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared April 21st, 1989 “New Kids on the Block Day.”
Step by Step followed in 1990, and the title track met with great success. The album eventually went triple platinum. The early ’90s was a hard time for the group, as Gregory McPherson, an associate producer of Step by Step, accused the band of lip syncing. Sales started to drop and critics’ interest began to wane. Face the Music dropped in 1993 after the group shortened their name to the acronym NKOTB. Knight left the band after the “Face the Music Tour” due to an increase of panic attacks and anxiety. The group broke up shortly after in 1994. Though they attempted to reconcile, a large gap (1994-2007) left fans believing that New Kids on the Block would never reunite.
Then, they dropped an album after secretly meeting and recording in 2007. Their comeback album The Block dropped in 2008, and they toured following the new music. After the tour, the group members took a break to follow other career opportunies. In 2010, New Kids on the Block announced their tour with the Backstreet Boys. the “NKOTBSB Tour” went from 2011 to 2012. They also dropped the compilation album NKOTBSB.
New Kids on the Block’s album 10 dropped in 2013, and they toured with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees. “The Main Event Tour” in 2015 included ’90s musicians TLC and Nelly as openers, following the trend of ’90s music revival in their tour lineups. “The Total Package Tour” is the group’s 2017 tour including openers Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men. The group has not dropped an album since 2013’s 10. Thankful drops this Friday; their first album in four years.
Other Prominent Boston Bands
New Kids on the Block is just one of many famous bands from Massachusetts’ beloved capital, Boston. Here are a few other notable acts from the Boston area, demonstrating a depth of talent and loyalty to the city throughout their careers.
Dropkick Murphys bleed Boston Strong. Their iconic hit song “Shippin’ Up to Boston” is scream-sung from bars across the city all year round. Much like Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” if you hear “Shippin’ Up to Boston” at Fenway Park, and you’re guaranteed a stadium-wide sing-a-long. Dropkick Murphys remain loyal to their home city, coming back to perform near St. Patrick’s Day and noting Boston in their music and interviews. If there is one band that truly embraces the proud spirit of the Northeast, it’s the Dropkick Murphys.
Aerosmith is a more surprising Boston-born band. They are arguably the most famous group from the area, so their interaction with Boston waned over the years. However, their nickname “The Bad Boys from Boston” surely sticks true to the city. The band formed in Boston in 1970, and 1325 Commonwealth Avenue is the apartment that the band shared at the start of their careers. 2012 saw the band back at that apartment performing outside its entrance, demonstrating their ties to the city and their beginnings even to this day. They also performed as part of the “Boston Strong” charity concert in 2013.
The Pixies, one of rock’s most influential acts, are from Boston. They formed in 1986 and made headway in the genre for iconic bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, and more. The band broke up in the ’90s to reunite in 2004. The Pixies began their career playing at bars around the Boston area.
“The Total Package Tour” 2017 Dates:
5/12: Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
5/13: Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
5/16: Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena
5/17: Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
5/19: New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center
5/20: Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
5/21: Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center
5/23: Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
5/24: Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
5/26: Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena
5/28: Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena
5/31: Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Center
6/1: San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena
6/2: Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
6/3: Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
6/4: San Jose, CA @ SAP Center
6/6: Portland, OR @ Moda Center
6/7: Seattle, WA @ KeyArena
6/9: Salt Lake City, UT @ Maverik Center
6/10: Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
6/11: Omaha, NE @ CenturyLink Center
6/12: Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
6/14: St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
6/15: Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
6/17: St. Louis, MO @Scottrade Center
6/20: Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
6/23: Buffalo, NY @ KeyBank Center
6/24: Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
6/25: Washington, D.C. @ Verizon Center
6/27: Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
6/29: Detroit, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
6/30: Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena
7/1: Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena
7/2: Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center
7/5: Allentown, PA @ PPL Center
7/6: Uncasville, CT @Mohegan Sun Arena
7/7: Long Island, NY @ The New Coliseum
7/8: Boston, MA @ Fenway Park
7/9: Albany, NY @ Times Union Center
7/11: Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena
7/13: Charlotte, NC @ Spectrum Center
7/14: Atlanta, GA @ Infinite Energy Center
7/15: Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
7/16: Hollywood, FL @ Hard Rock Live