Today we celebrate the boy band New Kids on the Block, one of the most successful groups of the late 1980s. They set the template for future boy bands, such as the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and One Direction. The day was declared by Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis on April 24, 1989.
Maurice Starr, who had previously helped the R&B group New Edition achieve success, started a talent search in Boston with hopes of forming another group. He brought together Donnie Wahlberg, brothers Jordan and Jon Knight, Danny Wood, and Joey McIntyre. After originally being called Nynuk, they became New Kids on the Block. Starr held many roles with the group, being their manager and producer, as well as choreographer and chief songwriter.
In 1986, New Kids on the Block's self-titled debut album was released on Columbia Records. It didn't achieve much notice, but its follow up, 1988's Hangin' Tough, was filled with radio-friendly pop songs, five of which became top ten hits. A single was then released from their debut album, and it became a top ten hit in 1989. In 1990, they released Step by Step, and the album's title track became their biggest hit.
By the early 1990s, many of their fans were moving on to new types of music. The group tried to change their image to appear more mature, took more creative control, and started calling themselves NKOTB. In 1994, they released Face the Music with these new elements, but did not achieve the same success as their previous work. They broke up the same year.
Some of the members began putting out solo albums in the late 1990s. Fourteen years after the band broke up they released their comeback album, The Block, which debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. They began touring again, and in 2013 they released 10. With a career spanning decades, it is now apparent that Michael Dukakis was not premature in naming a day for the group, and there is plenty of reason to celebrate them today.
Celebrate the day by listening to New Kids on the Block! Dust off your old tapes or CDs, or buy new copies of their albums. You could also pick up some old New Kids on the Block merchandise such as lunchboxes and dolls. The group has hosted a cruise since 2009, which you could sign up for. If it is sold out on their website, you could sign up for their newsletter, to stay informed about future cruises.