At first everyone called them the new New Kids on The Block. This was both an insult and a compliment. New Kids had a few smash hits and oodles of adoring fans - for a heartbeat.
Well, BSB has been together in some way or another since 1993 and they've been a number-one hit-producer since 1997. That has given them not only credibility but snagged them a spot as pop icons alongside fellow Florida artists Britney Spears and *NSYNC.
So where did the ride to stardom begin for these five cuties? It started in high school when AJ, Nick and Howie decided to start singing together after running into each other at auditions. A little later on Kevin and his cousin Brian joined the group after they moved to Florida from Kentucky. Even though all these guys were new to the boy band thing, they weren't new to performing. By age 12 Nick had already been the lead in The Phantom of the Opera, Howie and AJ
Courtesy of Jive/Zomba
had done Nickelodeon TV stuff and Brian had sung in his church choir.
Another New Kids tie was their original management - Johnny Wright - who also managed New Kids and still manages *NSYNC. BSB's success came quickly in Europe and by late 1996, with the release of Backstreet and the single Quit Playing Games (with my Heart), they had broken the charts in Canada and the US. They have never looked back, setting and breaking records left right and center. Backstreet Boys was seven times platinum and Millennium sold over 1.3 million copies in its first week.
Black and Blue debuted at number one on Billboards 200 albums chart, selling 1.6 million copies in its first week out. That may be less than *NSYNC's recent record of 2.4, but the BSB have nothing to prove - they are already pop icons.