The 80s boy band, The New Kids on the Block, are the kings of comebacks and this summer is no different, except this time they are taking it to the sea. Donnie Wahlberg, an original member of the band, is to be the executive producer of a reality TV show, Rock this Boat: NKOTB. But do they have the right stuff?
The new docu-series, Rock this Boat: NKOTB, was picked up by the TV Guide channel for eight episodes. The band will be features on a week-long cruise with their most dedicated fans, which will be chosen during a separate casting special that is set to air before the series.
The five-member band first got together in 1984 and were one of the biggest boy bands of all time. The band is made up of Boston natives Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood. Together they have sold over 80 million records, with the height of their popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. They won two American Music Awards in 1990, one for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group and one for Favorite Pop/Rock Album.
Their music has changed over time. In the early days when they trained under their manager, Maurice Starr, they had that simple, bubble gum sound. Their debut, self-titled album featured Be My Girl, but way slow to take off. Their sophomore album, Hanging Tough, features You got It (The Right Stuff,) I’ll Be Loving You Forever and their first big hit, Please Don’t Go Girl.
The album experienced greater success due to MTV. Their music videos were a big deal to their fans, so much so that their Hanging Tough music video on DVD was one of the highest selling music videos of all time. Their third album, Step by Step, went triple platinum. They went on tour with Tiffany, but due to their sudden success, they ended up being the main act and she was switched to the opening act. Of course, their popular helped them sell a variety of New Kids on the Block merchandise, from shirts and pins to dolls and trading cards.
Suspicions surrounded the group and their manager as they were accused of lip syncing. They admitted at that time that they sang along with a track, which featured Starr’s voice. After that, the band split and reunited several times. They went on without Starr and abbreviated their name to N.K.O.T.B. The album did not do well, however, despite the band’s efforts to promote it on tour. They eventually parted ways.
Group members went on to solo careers in music and film, and to start their families, so it became difficult to get them back together. Even when one member was willing, others denied the opportunity. In 2008, however, they reunited and in 2009, the first NKOTB-themed cruise set sail, traveling from Miami to the Bahamas. These tours sold out for three summer in a row.
Each time the group came back together and worked on a new album, they brought a new vibe. They were no longer the boys who started out as a bumble gum band. They were grown men and their songs gained a rougher feel, often incorporating a rougher tone, including rap or having a sexier appeal.
They eventually paired up with the Backstreet Boys for a reunion tour. The groups performed together at the American Music Awards in 2010 and in 2011 at the Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest New Year’s eve special and went on your as a mega group. They succeeded in pooling their fans and creating new ones from the younger generation.
With seven albums under their belt, fans are sure to hear a variety of the band’s tracks, old and new, as they rock the boat with New Kids on the Block. The docu-series will cover fans as they experience the “vacation of a lifetime” and is set to air in the fall of 2014. It is yet to be seen if the New Kids on the Block have the right stuff to keep it together for a reality TV show.
By Tracy Rose