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The larger than life pop quintet
The Backstreet Boys, aka BSB, are bandmates AJ McLean, Howie Dorough and Nick Carter, plus cousins Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell.
At a time when boybands were all the rage, music mogul Lou Pearlman decided to create his own. Formed in Orlando in 1993, after auditioning hundreds of performers, he ultimately chose this quintet and they made their first performance at SeaWorld Florida.
Backstreet Boys’ rise to fame was relatively quick thanks to their 1996 self-titled debut album (initially released internationally and a year later in the US) with its huge single Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), which broke onto the charts all around the world and peaked at No.2 in the UK.
The vocal group unveiled their sophomore album Backstreet’s Back in 1997, but it was their third album, 1999’s Millennium, that made them pop superstars. One of the bestselling records of all time, it spawned four top-charting singles – I Want It That Way, Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely, Larger Than Life and The One. It was also nominated for five Grammy Awards and saw the band win an MTV Europe Music Award and People’s Choice Award for Best Group. From late 1999 throughout 2000, BSB travelled the world with their Into The Millenium Tour.
In 2000 when Back Street Boys’ album Black & Blue arrived, it debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart and sold 1.6 million copies in its first week. The band performed the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXV in early 2001 and then kicked off their Black & Blue Tour, but decided to put it on hold so McLean could get treatment for substance addiction and depression.
All of the band’s members returned to the studio in 2004 and they released the rock-leaning album Never Gone in 2005, which charted at No.11 in the UK and No.3 in the US. Shortly after, Richardson left the group to pursue other interests. Two more albums – 2007’s Unbreakable and 2009’s This Is Us – were recorded without him. Richardson returned in 2012 and Back Street Boys released In A World Like This in 2013.
In 2019, the five-piece unveiled the album DNA, featuring tracks penned by the likes of Lauv, Shawn Mendes, Ryan Tedder and Andy Grammar. The band also embarked on their biggest arena tour in 18 years, the DNA World Tour, which came to the UK for four dates.
In March 2020, BSB got together from their homes as part of a digital reunion to give a performance of I Want It That Way for the iHeart Living Room Concert For America.