Everybody, Backstreet's Back
''We love the fact that we can still lift people’s spirits and make them smile with songs they can sing along to. I do think we’ve found a magical sound. We’ve grown up together with our fans for this long. Hopefully, we can stay together for another 15 years.'' Backstreet Boys member Brian Littrell
Grammy-nominated boy band Backstreet Boys has charted 12 U.S. Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, 16 U.K. Top 10 hits, and sold over 100 million albums worldwide since kicking off their first performance in July 1993. The pop group has enjoyed worldwide fame thanks to smash hits like "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" (1997), "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" (1998), "I'll Never Break Your Heart" (1998), "All I Have to Give" (1999), "I Want It That Way" (1999), "Larger Than Life" (1999), "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" (2000), and "Shape of My Heart" (2000).
After some headline-making incidents and a five-year hiatus, the Boys came back in 2005 with the album "Never Gone," which spawned the hit single "Incomplete." Recently, on October 24, 2007, they issued their sixth studio album, "Unbreakable," which spun off the lead single "Inconsolable."
''We can’t wait to get back onstage and put a big extravagant show together using this material as the base. Half of what we do is vocals and harmonies on our albums, but our other role is entertainers, which we take pride in.'' Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter
The Birth of a Phenomenon
Childhood and Family:
Inspired by the success of New Kids on the Block in the 1980s, boy band manager Lou Pearlman decided to create his own clean-cut band and began to hold a string of auditions in 1992. The following year, he recruited 12 year-old Nick Carter (born January 28, 1980; the band's youngest member), 19 year-old Howie Dorough (born August 22, 1973) and 14 year-old Alexander James McLean (born January 9, 1978) for the band. In March 1993, Kevin Scott Richardson (born October 3, 1971) came aboard, followed by Brian Littrell (born February 20, 1975), a cousin of Richardson who joined the group in April 1993 after a phone audition.
The band got the name "Backstreet Boys" from an Orlando flea market called Backstreet Market. Richardson would later leave the group in June 2006 after 13 years with them.
Larger Than Life
''Our music has evolved with our fans. We were young pups when we started. With each album we’ve had the opportunity to grow more mature, lyrically and vocally. We’ve also had the chance to educate ourselves about the business, about artistry and becoming real musicians. I hope that shows with each step we’ve taken.'' Howie Dorough
On July 8, 1993, the Backstreet Boys held their first concert in front of 3,000 teenagers at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Pearlman subsequently booked them at grade-school assemblies and shopping malls. After securing management from Donna and Johnny Wright, who had worked with New Kids on the Block, the band began touring on the road.
The Boys signed a recording contract with Jive Records in December 1994. For the next several months, they worked on their first album with producers Veit Renn and Tim Allen.
Their first single, "We've Got It Goin' On," an urban pop song written and produced by Denniz PoP and Max Martin, was released in 1995. It reached only #69 on the Billboard charts but sold well in Europe and later earned the band their first Gold record in Germany. The internationally hit single later earned them Best Newcomers of 1995 at the Smash Hits Awards in the U.K.
After scoring another European hit with "I'll Never Break Your Heart," the band released their eponymous self-titled debut album in Europe and Canada in late 1996. The record was a fair success and spent several weeks in the Top Ten in most continental countries where it charted. It received Gold and Platinum Awards in thirty-eight countries, with eight million albums sold, and the Boys subsequently spent the next two years performing overseas.
In 1997, they released the American version of “Backstreet Boys” in 1997. "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" was the band's highest peaking single in the U.S. It also went Platinum. Meanwhile, "As Long As You Love Me" became one of the album's largest hits and is considered one of the band's signature songs. It climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Billboard Hot 100. In 1999, the album continued to spawned more hits with "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," which went to #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum in the United States. On February 17, 1999, the Boys received their first Diamond award from the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million copies of their self-titled album.
Meanwhile, the band saw its share of turbulence. Littrell underwent surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in early 1998, and shortly after, the Boys had to cancel an appearance in Minnesota after learning that Howie Dorough's sister had died of lupus. The Boys also became engaged in lawsuits against Pearlman and the rest of their management over royalties. The case was settled in 1998 and Pearlman remained the group's manager, though the rest of the team was fired.
Afterward, the band began working on their next album, ''Millennium,'' which was released in the summer of 1999. The album, the highly anticipated follow-up to both their United States debut album (and their international second CD), has broken numerous records and has become their biggest success to date. Entering the Billboard 200 at #1 where it remained for 10 non-consecutive weeks and sold 1,134,000 copies in its first week of release, ''Millennium'' became the best-selling album of 1999, selling a record 9,445,732 albums. It remained on the Billboard chart for 93 weeks and eventually sold over 12 million copies in the United States and was certified Platinum 13 times.
In addition to receiving gold and platinum awards in 45 countries, ''Millennium,'' the band's first record to be released in both the U.S. and internationally in the same form and at the same time, was honored with five 1999 Grammy Award nominations, including "Album of the Year." It has spawned four Top 40 singles, the world-wide smash "I Want It That Way" (nominated for three Grammys, including one for "Record Of The Year"), "Larger Than Life" (broke the record for longest running #1 on MTV's "Total Request Live"), "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely" and "The One."
Before the end of the year, the group released its Christmas album, followed by the album ''Black & Blue'' in fall 2000. It sold 1.6 million discs in its first week of release, making them the first group in Soundscan history to have million-plus first-week sales with back-to-back albums, and it became the eighth biggest selling album in the U.S. for 2000. The album, which is estimated to have sold 24 million worldwide, was certified platinum in more than 30 countries and gold in 10 regions around the world during its first week of release. Despite the excellent sales, ''Black & Blue'' never matched up to the hype that their first two albums made.
"Black & Blue" spun off the first single "Shape of My Heart," which debuted at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It broke the record for 'most radio station adds' in its debut week and broke their own record of longest running #1 song, which was held by "Larger Than Life." The second single was "The Call," whose music video won MTV Asia Awards Favorite Video and a MTV Video Music Awards Best Pop Video. The album's final single was "More Than That," which performed poorly compared to other singles of the Backstreet Boys.
The Boys embarked on a long tour to support the album and eventually decided to take a deserved break after 7 years of non-stop touring and recording. During their hiatus, Littrell celebrated his new status as a father and Richardson tried his hand at Broadway and took a lead role in the musical ''Chicago.'' Meanwhile, Nick Carter released his solo album ''Now or Never'' in 2002, Howie Dorough did charity work for the Dorough Lupus Foundation in honor of his sister who has died of the disease, and A.J. McLean attempted to clean himself up by attending rehab.
Backstreet Boys were reunited and released a come-back album titled ''Never Gone'' in June of 2005. The album's first single, the power ballad "Incomplete," peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, debuted at #1 on the Australian ARIA charts, and sold 250,000 units worldwide, which earned it gold status. It became the first Backstreet Boys single to ever reach #1 on the Australian charts and has also reached #8 on the U.K. Singles Chart, #3 in Switzerland and #4 in the Netherlands. It reached the top spot in Asia and Canada and was one of the most popular singles released that year.
The second single of the album was the pop song "Just Want You to Know," followed by the third international single "I Still...," which debuted at #1 on the Japan International Singles Chart with 20,182 copies sold It also has reached #16 on the Australian ARIAnet Singles Chart. The next single in the United States was "Crawling Back to You," which peaked at #30 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. Other songs featured in the album are "Weird World," "Beautiful Woman" and "Climbing The Walls."
Recently, on October 24, 2007, Backstreet Boys released their sixth studio album, "Unbreakable," their first album without Kevin Richardson who left the band in 2006 to pursue other interests. The album, which includes various music styles combining their earlier mid-90's sound, debuted at #7 in the U.S., selling about 81,000 copies in its first week. In Japan, where it was released a week earlier, the album went to #1 in its first week and sold 102,043 copies. It maintained its #1 position for the second consecutive week beating all of the domestic Japanese competitors, a remarkable feat for a foreign band.
The album's lead single, the piano driven power ballad "Inconsolable" (similar to Never Gone's "Incomplete") hit the U.S. radio on August 27, 2007. On September 10, 2007, it entered #94 at the México Top 100 Singles Chart, and on September 29, also entered #86 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #3 in Japan and #8 in Switzerland.
''We’ve been part of this group for half our lives; it’s crazy to think about. If you asked me in 1992 if I’d still be a Backstreet Boy in 2008, I’d have thought we’ll make some records together and have a good little run. But we continue because we love what we do. We thrive being onstage and seeing the faces of little girls and boys and couples and grandmothers, all cutting a jig in the front row. If we were to write a book based on our experiences, I think it would be longer than ‘War and Peace.’ When I’m a grandpa, I’m going to have a lot of stories to tell.'' A. J. McLean
MTV Asia: Favorite Pop Act, 2006
MTV Video Music (Japan): Best Group, 2002
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice: Favorite Musical Group, 2002
Juno: Best-selling Album, "Black & Blue," 2002
MTV Asia: Favorite Pop Act, 2002
MTV Asia: Favorite Video, "The Call," 2002
World Music: World's Best-selling American Group, 2002
World Music: World's Best-selling Pop Group, 2002
World Music: World's Best-selling R&B Group, 2002
People's Choice: Favorite Musical Group, 2002
Billboard Music: Albums Artist Duo/Group of the year, 2001
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice: Favorite Music Group, 2001
MTV Video Music: Best Pop Video, "The Call," 2001
MTV Video Music: Viewer's Choice, "The Call," 2001
World Music: World's Best-selling American Group, 2001
World Music: World's Best-selling Pop Group, 2001
World Music: World's Best-selling R&B Group, 2001
World Music: World's Best-selling Dance Artist, 2001
American Music: Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group, 2001
MTV Europe Music: Best Group, 2000
MTV Europe Music: Best Pop, 2000
World Music: World's Best-selling American Group, 2000
World Music: World's Best-selling Pop Group, 2000
World Music: World's Best-selling R&B Group, 2000
World Music: World's Best-selling Dance Artist, 2000
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice: Favorite Musical Group, 2000
Juno: Best-selling Album, "Millennium," 2000
People's Choice: Favorite Musical Group, 2000
American Music: Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group, 2000
Billboard Music: Artist of the Year, 1999
Billboard Music: Album of the Year, "Millennium," 1999
Billboard Music: Albums Artist Group/Duo of the Year, 1999
Billboard Music: Albums Artist of the Year
Billboard Music: Group Album Of The Year, "Backstreet Boys" (Special Award), 1999
MTV Europe Music: Best Group, 1999
MTV Europe Music: Best Pop, 1999
MTV Europe Music: Best Song, 1999
MTV Europe Music: Best Album, 1999
MTV Video Music: Video Of the year, "I Want It That Way," 1999
MTV Video Music: Best Group Video, "I Want It That Way," 1999
MTV Video Music: Best Pop Video, "I Want It That Way," 1999
MTV Video Music: Viewer's Choice, "I Want It That Way," 1999
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice: Favorite Song, "Everybody" ("Backstreet's Back"), 1999
World Music: World's Best-selling American Group, 1999
World Music: World's Best-selling Pop Group, 1999
World Music: World's Best-selling R&B Group, 1999
World Music: World's Best-selling Dance Artist, 1999
People's Choice: Favorite Musical Group, 1999
American Music: Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group, 1999
Billboard Music: Group Album of the Year, 1998
Billboard Music: Adult Contemporary Group of the Year, 1998
Billboard Video Music: Best Clip (Dance), "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," 1998
MTV Europe Music: Best Pop, 1998
MTV Video Music: Best Group Video, 1998
World Music: World's Best-selling Dance Artist, 1998
MTV Europe Music Awards: Best Group, 1997
MTV Europe Music Awards: Best Group (Viewer's Choice), 1997
MTV Europe Music Awards: Select, "As Long As You Love Me," 1997
MTV Europe Music: Best Newcomer, 1996
MTV Europe Music: Best Group (Phone-in Poll), 1996
MTV Europe Music: Select, "Get Down" ("You're the One For Me"), 1996