SIX YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME A SUCCESSFUL ACTOR by playing a porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Mark Wahlberg dropped his trousers and rose to No. 1 on the Oct. 5, 1991, Billboard Hot 100 as the 20-year-old frontman of Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch.
The song was “Good Vibrations,” a track studded with a sample of Loleatta Holloway‘s wailing vocal from the 1980 club hit “Love Sensation,” and its chart climb marked a reversal of fortune for Boston-born Wahlberg. The high school dropout was in and out of jail before forming The Funky Bunch after a brief stint in New Kids on the Block with older brother Donnie Wahlberg.
The success of “Good Vibrations” and its follow-up, “Wildside,” a top 10 Hot 100 hit, helped the artist’s debut album, Music for the People, sell more than 1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Music. The video for “Good Vibrations,” in which Wahlberg flaunted his rock-hard physique, also helped land him a gig as a Calvin Klein underwear model.
The Funky Bunch’s next album, 1992’s You Gotta Believe, didn’t yield a top 40 hit (it has sold 220,000 copies to date), and the group disbanded in 1993.
But even in 1992, the future two-time Oscar nominee, who is now a married father of four kids and had two films, Daddy’s Home 2 and All The Money in The World released in late 2017, had his sights set on something other than a music career. “Hopefully, I can go on to college and do something afterwards,” he told The New York Times then. “As much as I love what I’m doing, I don’t feel that it will last forever.”