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People Top 5
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- June 19, 1989
- Vol. 31
- No. 24
Boston's New Kids on the Block, Popsters with a Smile, Work the Sunny Side of the Street
This bloodlust enthusiasm is something new for the New Kids, whose first album, released in 1986, sold a paltry 90,000 copies. The second, Hangin' Tough, has passed the two-million mark and has earned the band a six-year contract with Columbia. The band—Wahlberg, 19, Knight, 18, his brother Jonathan, 20, Danny Wood, 19, and Joseph McIntyre, 16—was invented by producer-songwriter Maurice Starr (with then-manager Mary Alford) to meet a perceived need. In 1983, Starr had created New Edition—hot, young, wholesome and black. "There was Menudo, who were great role models for Spanish kids," says Wahlberg, "and New Edition for young black kids. But for white teenage kids, you had the Beastie Boys, who were throwing beer off the stage and stuff like that." Presto! The New Kids. Their gestures are controlled, their outfits from the Gap, and they propound a non-beer-tossing, antidrug message.
The fivesome were friends at Boston's Trotter School when the band was formed and, says Wahlberg, "in the first years I think our friendship carried us through." Since April the Kids have been on the road without letup, often as a guest act for Tiffany. "Our tour buses are just like home," says Wood. "You have the living room, VCR, stereo, refrigerator, cooler, bathroom, and there are the beds. We love it." But don't think they're going Van Halen. "We call home," says Wood reassuringly. "We call our mothers and fathers." Manager Dick Scott couldn't be happier. "If I had to get [these kids] from central casting," he says, beaming, "they couldn't be more Middle America."
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