Battle of the Grown-Up Boy Bands: BSB and NKOTB Face Off In 2019

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

(L-R) Howie Dorough, Danny Wood, Nick Carter, A.J. McLean, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Brian Littrell, Jonathan Knight and Jordan Knight of NKOTBSB pose as they prepare For "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2011" at Times Square in 2010.

Wizened hunks New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys are both touring and releasing new music this year. How do their careers -- including their run as super-guy-group NKOTBSB -- stack up?


Years Active: 1984-1994, 2008-present

Billboard 200 Top 10 Entries: 6

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 Singles: 9 (all consecutive hits between 1988 and 1990)

Biggest Single-Night Crowd So Far: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.; Nov. 24, 1990 (37,997 tickets)

Signature Moves: Hangin’ tough in Boston; not pronouncing their Rs

Thirstiest Lyric: “If you didn’t want it, you shoulda let me know/But since you didn’t want it, then girl you got to go/Don’t think that you can play me, and jerk me all around/You used to be my baby, now your ass is in the pound” (“Dirty Dawg,” 1993)

Most Memorable Facial Hair: The group ’stache

What's Next: On March 8, the 30th-anniversary rerelease of Hangin’ Tough with several new tracks; the subsequent 53-date MixTape arena tour with fellow ’90s kids Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and Naughty by Nature


Years Active: 1993-present

Billboard 200 Top 10 Entries: 9

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 Singles: 6

Biggest Single-Night Crowd So Far: Georgia Dome, Atlanta; Feb. 19, 2000 (73,337 tickets)

Signature Moves: Five-part harmonies; dressing like 2003 NBA draft picks

Thirstiest Lyric: “I don’t have a fancy car/To get to you I’d walk a thousand miles/I don’t care if he buys you nice things/Does his gifts come from the heart? I don’t know” (“All I Have to Give,” 1998)

Most Memorable Facial Hair: Kevin Richardson’s Gomez Adams goatee

What's Next: The Jan. 25 release of new album DNA followed by a 91-date arena world tour


Years Active: 2010-2012

Billboard 200 Top 10 Entries: 1

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 Singles: 0

Biggest Single-Night Crowd So Far: Fenway Park, Boston; June 11, 2011 (33,588 tickets)

Signature Moves: Smoothly synchronized dance moves; charmingly self-aware capitalization on boy band nostalgia

Thirstiest Lyric: “So don’t turn out the lights now, lights now, lights now/’Cause in a minute we’ll be feeling like never before/We’ll light up the night now, night now, night now/I’ll be whatever you need and more” (“Don’t Turn Out the Lights,” 2011)

Most Memorable Facial Hair: AJ McLean’s loose collection of unconnected beard strips

What's Next: Maybe a reunion? “You never know,” said NKOTB’s Jonathan Knight at the 2018 Billboard Live Music Summit. “Talk to those guys,” added bandmate Danny Wood. Your call, BSB!

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of Billboard.


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