As sons of musical parents, the brothers grow up doing sing-alongs around the family piano. Each also begins playing guitar, keyboard and/or drums, and the three oldest boys perform in a series of commercials for Burger King, Clorox, and Lego. "We kind of always grew up into music and making music with my dad," Joe Jonas tells the Houston Chronicle in 2008. "He was part of record labels and things like that. My mom's an amazing singer. We kind of grew into it."
Six-year-old Nick nabs an audition with a talent agent. Soon, he is singing on Broadway in shows such as Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast. "Broadway was really great training for what we're doing now," Nick tells Minneapolis' Star-Tribune. In 2002, he cowrites a holiday tune with his dad, Kevin, called "Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)," helping Nick land a solo deal with Daylight/INO/Columbia Records, which releases his solo debut album in 2004.
Nick asks brothers Kevin and Joe to rehearse with him at home. The resulting sound prompts the boys' decision to form a trio. "We knew we could do this," Kevin tells the New Haven Register. "The pieces started falling into place." After performing their song, "Please Be Mine," for Columbia Records exec Steve Greenberg (who discovered Hanson), they sign with the label. "I liked the idea of putting together this little garage-rock band," Greenberg tells Billboard. They go on to open for the likes of Kelly Clarkson and the Cheetah Girls.
The Jonas family receives a sobering jolt when Nick is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. "I had an emotional breakdown, since I really had no idea what diabetes was all about," Nick confides to PR Newswire. "I wondered, 'Why me?' Then I asked myself, 'Why not me?' and realized that I might be able to help other kids with diabetes."
Columbia releases the brothers' (Kevin, 18; Joe, 16; Nick, 13) first album, It's About Time, consisting of tracks they cowrote over the span of two years with professional songwriters. However, the album receives little marketing and only sells 62,000 copies. Soon afterward, the band is dropped from Columbia.
Disney-owned Hollywood Records signs the Jonas Brothers to a recording contract, with Radio Disney and the Disney Channel serving to expand the band's musical exposure. "Boys identify with them, and girls love them because they're cute," Radio Disney executive Jill Casagrande tells the AP. That August, the Jonas Brothers release their self-titled album offering songs mostly written by themselves, including hits like "S.O.S." (which rockets to No. 1 on iTunes) and "Hold On." The album debuts at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart, and eventually goes platinum.
When the Disney Channel airs High School Musical 2, the Jonas Brothers perform as guest stars on the record-setting episode of Hannah Montana that immediately follows. Keeping it all in the Disney family, Miley Cyrus (left) and Nick play coy about their romance, as the trio is tapped to open for Cyrus in her concert tour. By 2008, the "Best of Both Worlds" tour grosses a staggering $36 million and launches the Jonas Brothers even higher into the pop stratosphere.
At the American Music Awards, Joe, 18, trips and falls on broken glass while performing the group's hit "SOS" – but keeps on singing even as he bleeds (right). Backstage, the singer shrugs it off: "Just a little blood, but, whatever, rock and roll." Days later on their MySpace page, the brothers write, "Beyoncé stopped us on our way back to our dressing room to let us know she thought we did great. Akon spoke to us on our way out. He said he would love to work together. How amazing!"
Kevin, 20, Joe, 18, and Nick, 15, become the youngest-ever act to sign with concert presenter Live Nation, nabbing a two-year, multimillion-dollar contract for a headlining tour. Live Nation's Bruce Kapp tells Newsweek, "This band creates pandemonium wherever they go." Billboard's Ray Waddell adds to the AP, "The Jonas Brothers are about as safe a bet as exists in the music business today."
With the upcoming premiere of their Disney Channel movie, Camp Rock, the Jonas Brothers appear in a special edition of PEOPLE. "There are times when it gets crazy," Nick tells PEOPLE of their escalating fame as teen heartthrobs. "Girls jumping, police holding them back. It's amazing." The brothers also reveal their special pre-performance ritual: "We say, 'Living the dream, living the dream,'" says Joe. "And then we clap all the way to the stage."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Courtesy of The Jonas Brothers; yahoo.com; Gary Gershoff/WireImage; amazon.com; amazon.com; Everett Collection; Ethan Miller/Getty; Frank Micelotta/Getty