In an exclusive interview, the Boston boy band reflects on the loyalty of its fans, while offering an impromptu Rick Astley cover to symbolize its future plans.
"We were very, very emotional. It went right to our hearts."
In an exclusive interview on April 4 at the iHeart Radio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son in New York, New Kids on the Block's Joey McIntyre beamed about the almost unprecedented occurrence of fans having bought an ad in Billboard magazine, congratulating the group on 25 years of making hits and welcoming it back with its new album, "10."
"We want to continue to have that special connection with our fans," McIntyre says.
The new set roars onto the Billboard 200 this week at No. 6 with 51,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking the group's sixth top 10 and its second-best weekly sum since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. 2008's "The Block," the quintet's first album of new material since 1994, arrived at No. 2 with 95,000.
The group first reached the top 10 with 1989's No. 1 "Hangin' Tough." "Merry, Merry Christmas" peaked at No. 9 that December, as New Kids mania blossomed, thanks to the start of a string of nine consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top 10s. They reigned again with "Step By Step" in 1990 and added the No. 7-peaking "NKOTBSB," a collaborative album with Backstreet Boys, in 2011.
New single "Remix (I Like The)" ushers in "10." The song rises to No. 38 this week on Adult Pop Songs, adding to their catalog of hits. Among them are the Hot 100 No. 1s "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Hangin' Tough" in 1989 and "Step By Step" in 1990. (Members Jordan Knight and Danny Wood also reigned as co-writers on [current Billboard publisher] Tommy Page's 1990 topper "I'll Be Your Everything.")
"Jon (Knight) sneaks out of the hotel at 2 in the morning for Starbucks with fans," Donnie Wahlberg says. "Everyone in this group will put sleep aside to give more time to the fans, not just like on Twitter or in generic ways but in real, genuine ways.
"We built a relationship with fans. It's special. It's unlike any other group."