10 Things You Didn’t Know About New Kids On The Block

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New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were the original boy band who paved the way for huge sensations like Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and even One Direction. The band consisted of brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood, who all rose to fame in the late ’80s and early ’90s with huge hits like “Step by Step,” “Hangin’ Tough,” and “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” and sold over 80 million records worldwide! NKOTB disbanded in 1994, but have since reunited for a number of successful tours and have even recorded new music. Here’s a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about the ’90s boy band!

10. Band’s Original Name

Before they rose to fame under the name New Kids on the Block, their original band name was Nynuk pronounced “Na-nook.” The name came from their manager, Maurice Starr, who named them after the dog in the film The Lost Boys.


9. Creating the Band

New Kids on the Block was formed in the early 1980s after songwriter-producer Maurice Starr launched a citywide search for talent in Boston. The first member to be recruited was 15-year-old Donnie Wahlberg. He later brought in his younger brother Mark and best friend Danny Wood. After the three boys joined, they later convinced two former classmates Jordan and Jonathan Knight to join as well. Mark Wahlberg ended up quitting the group before they even began recording and was eventually replaced with 12-year-old, Joey McIntyre. Starr was able to prefect the group by having them rehearse after school and on weekends and eventually secured them a recording contract at Columbia Records.

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8. April 24

You might think we’re joking when we say this, but April 24 is officially “New Kids on the Block Day.” Back in 1989 the governor of Massachusetts declared this date as the official “New Kids on the Block Day.” They are one of the only boy bands to have their own designated day!

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7. Secret Relationships

Nowadays it’s pretty hard for pop stars to keep their relationships secret, but back when New Kids on the Block was in their prime, Jonathan Knight and Tiffany Darwish, simply known as Tiffany, had to keep their relationship severely under wraps in order to not upset fans. “It wasn’t acceptable then because if you were a teen heartthrob, they wanted to see you be very available so I think we really had a harder time back then. I’m sure there is still some backlash when the younger teens start to date, but (for us) it was on the down-low,” she said in an interview with FOX411.


6. Hangin’ Tough

Hangin’ Tough was the bands second album. It was the platform for their early success. According to band member Jordan Knight, the album was actually recorded in horrible conditions. The whole thing was recorded in a temporary studio in Maurice Starr’s home which was under construction at the time! There was plastic on the windows to drown out the sound. “If you solo the tracks on Hangin’ Tough, you’ll hear babies crying, you’ll hear sirens, you’ll hear a lotta stuff in the background,” said Knight. In addition, the actual song “Hangin’ Tough” was written with the Boston Celtics in mind. “We literally set out to do a song that could be a theme song for the Celtics,” said Donnie Wahlberg. “That was the idea: blatantly trying to sound like Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.'”

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5. Highest Paid Entertainers

The New Kids on the Block might not be the first artists to come to mind when considering the highest paid entertainers, but back in 1991 they beat out Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson on Forbes’ list of high paid entertainers! During the peak of their success, the group was reportedly earning over one million each week thanks to a Coke sponsored tour with 100 dates in the U.S. alone, a string of hit singles and an extensive line of merchandise that earned the group a reported $400 million in 1991.


4. Initially Promoted to Black Radio Stations

In the 2012 book, New Kids on the Block: Five Brothers and a Million Sisters, NKOTB members said their group was originally created and marketed towards black radio stations because “Starr had so many connections in the black market. Even when we went to CBS, we were in the black division,” said Jordan Knight. “No one ever though, ‘Um, these kids are white. Maybe white kids would like ’em too.'” Their big moment of change came when Randy Kabrich, a DJ on a radio station in Florida, played their song, “Please Don’t Go Girl” and it became the stations No. 1 requested song. This caused a change of strategy at their record label to begin to target pop radio.

Everett Collection / Everett Collection

3. Famous Back Up Dancer

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s no one knew Jennifer Lopez would be a hugely successful and famous actress, singer or future judge on American Idol. Back in 1991, she was largely undiscovered, but she did work as a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block during their performance at the American Music Awards.

2. The Real Reason Jonathan Knight Left

When Jonathan Knight left the band in 1994 before the entire band dismembered, many people believed it was because of his panic attacks and anxiety. But in reality, he said it was because he was tired of hiding his sexuality. “I was so fun down. I had just been in a couple relationships with guys, and nobody knew. I knew I didn’t want to be confined anymore. I think I was dealing with my inner demons,” he said. He was first publicly outed in a 2009 National Enquirer article with quotes from a former boyfriend, and then again 2011 by ex-girlfriend and former pop star, Tiffany.

Photo by Picture Perfect / Rex Features

1. Jordan Knight Doesn’t Like Batman

Contrary to popular belief, Jordan Knight isn’t actually a huge Batman fan! For a long time, die hard fans of NKOTB believed Jordan Knight was a huge Batman fan because he wore a Batman shirt during the music video for the 1989 single, “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” Knight later revealed in their biography that him wearing the shirt was a fluke and not only is he not a fan of Batman, he didn’t like the film at all! The only reason he wore it was because “the stylist brought it, and I just gravitated toward that shirt. I like the colors, it was cool and young, and so I wore it,” he said. After the music video was released, fans began sending him Batman T-shirts, which he then started wearing only to fuel the rumors even more. “Honestly, when the [1989] Batman movie came out, I actually fell asleep in the theater because I didn’t like it.”

Hollywood Reporter
Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!