After his success with New Edition, producer Maurice Starr decided to replicate the group, substituting suburban white kids for the young black teenagers. The result was New Kids on the Block, which quickly eclipsed the popularity of Starr's previous group. Comprising Boston-area singers Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jon Knight, Danny Wood, and Joe McIntyre, the New Kids were awkward and enthusiastic on their 1986 debut, which wasn't surprising considering that the oldest members were barely 16 years old.
With their next album, 1988's Hangin' Tough, the group's image had toughened up and they had the material to support it. From the saccharine ballad "I'll Be Loving You Forever" to the title track's stab at funk, the band had a seemingly endless streak of hits in 1988 and 1989; their Christmas album even went double platinum.
New Kid mania continued with 1990's Step by Step; even if it sold five million copies less than Hangin' Tough, it still sold three million copies.
But that was the end of the road for their short time in the sun -- they were the subject of an endless amount of jokes and were getting no respect. Besides, their audience was growing up. In 1994, they returned with the Starr-less Face the Music, which actually showed a remarkable musical maturity -- they were a credible urban R&B outfit -- but hardly sold anything, even if they were packing theaters on tour. In June of 1994, the band announced that it had acrimoniously parted ways and all of the members were now pursuing solo careers.
Written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide