Backstreet Boys


The 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 popularity.

The 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.

1996 marked 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.

1998 marked 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.

By February 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 5 million.

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 extended break.

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.

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