Backstreet Boys are a contradictory band. Comprised entirely of
white, middle-class Americans, the group sang a hybrid of new
jack balladry, hip-hop, R&B, and dance club pop that originally
found its greatest success in Canada and Europe, with their 1996
debut album charting in the Top Ten in nearly every country on
the continent; ironically, success in their native land did not
follow until nearly two years later. Though the Backstreet Boys
often competed for the same audience that popularized rival boy
bands *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, and O-Town, BSB has outsold all rivals
combined 2:1 and was the only group to find mass international
popular group took its final shape on April 19, 1993, when Brian
Littrell joined the group after a phone audition. They immediately
went into action with their first concert on May 8. Their first
performance in front of 3,000 teenagers was just a taste of what
was in store for the boy band. They would have to work hard for
American recognition, however.
After a possible
Mercury Record deal failed, the band was spotted in Cleveland,
Ohio by Zomba/Jive in February 1994. By June they were recording
their first single "We've Got It Goin' On". The following
year, the boys had a setback when their single only climbed to
#69 on the Billboard charts, however in Europe, they were beginning
to get recognition when they earned their first Gold disc in Germany.
a big change for the boys as European popularity grew. The boys
earned their first Platinum record in Germany (500,000 CDs sold)
and toured the Far East, Canada and various parts of the world.
By 1997 after
8.5 million discs sold worldwide, the Backstreet Boys had their
eyes set on American success. They began to record a new album
for American release and released "Quit Playing Games (With
My Heart)" as their new single. The single quickly climbed
to #2 marking a great turnaround. By the middle of the year, the
boys released their first American album which peaked at #4 on
the Billboard charts and went on to sell 9 million copies in 1997.
By December 1997, the boys embarked on a 60-city, 20-country tour.
a tough year for the boy band as Brian Littrell underwent surgery
to correct a congenital heart disorder. Howie Dorough's sister
died of Lupus and the boys struggled with their manager filing
a law suit, and rumors of a breakup. At the end of 1998, the boys
had sold an additional 8 million copies of their self titled album
and were working on a followup.
1999, the boys received their first Diamond award by the RIAA
for shipment of 10 milion copies of their album. After a strong
first single, "I Want It That Way", from their new album
Millennium, the boys' sophomore album sold over 1.1 million units
in its first week setting a record for most albums sold in its
debut week. The boys were now at a super star level. In August,
they sold out a 39-city tour in less than a day. By the end of
1999, the Backstreet Boys met new problems declaring their Jive
contract null and void, soon striking the largest record deal
ever valued at $60 million with Jive.
In 2000, two
of the boys found love, Brian and Kevin confirming their engagements
to their fiancees. In the end of the year the boys released their
new album Black & Blue, the title of the album acting as a
metaphor for how the boys felt they were beat up by the media
and others. The album debuted with 1.6 million units sold in the
first week in America, setting a record of the first artist to
have two albums sell a million or more in its first week. They
also set the record for the first week worldwide record selling
In 2001, the
Backstreet Boys were put on hold as one of their own, A.J., checked
himself into rehab to battle drinking, drug addiction, and depression.
Another tragedy struck as the terror attack of September 11 occurred,
killing a friend, Daniel Lee, and sparking the cancellation of
all overseas tours. In October 2001, the boys released Chapter
One and disc of their greatest hits as well as their last single,
"Drowning", until their return in 2005. By the end of
2001 and into 2002, it was clear the Backstreet Boys were on an
After a 5
year hiatus, the Backstreet Boys are currently staging a comeback
to the music world. The brand new single, "Incomplete",
was released to radio stations on March 28, 2005. It has done
very well, getting requested by many of the not-so-young fans
they used to have. It was even redone on American Idol by Anthony
Fedorov. The group is currently touring club venues hoping to
reconnect with their fans.
On June 14,
2005, the Backstreet Boys made their critically acclaimed return
to the pop landscape with the release of their fourth studio release,
"Never Gone". It debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts
with a total of 291,000 copies sold in its first week.