How New Kids on the Block Became Totally Unavoidable (Without the Internet!)
by Chaz Kangas
Everybody's favorite boy band template New Kids on the Block have been taking the stage all summer for their tour with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men. (They're coming to Jobing.com Arena on Sunday, July 14.) While most of our New Kids memories could be attributed to them having "The Right Stuff" on stage and in the recording studio, it's seldom mentioned how the boys really innovated pop culture ubiquity.
Before Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet as a whole let us know what our favorite artists were doing at every hour of the day, NKOTB flooded the market in the early '90s with home video VHS tapes, pay-per-views, cartoons, and hotlines that allowed fans to hear something new about the boys at every waking moment.
Let's take a look back at how the New Kids used to satisfy those of us with an insatiable desire to hang tough!
New Kids On the Block's 1-900 Number, 1989
Brought to you by Info-tainment Inc. (so, you know, it's both informative and entertaining), the New Kids on the Block first tapped into their market of obsessive fans by offering a 1-900 number that promised both their day-to-day goings on and biggest secrets. This was highly classified information, so naturally it would cost a hefty $2 for the first minute and 45 cents each additional minute.
Thanks to technology, you can now get just about the same information from Jordan Knight's Twitter absolutely free. The Kids had their hotline for quite a while, with later commercials promising to love callers forever. Silly as it may seem, the Kids do get props for giving a portion of the proceeds to United Cerebral Palsy.
Step by Step Album Promo, 1990
Plenty of artists have had promo clips or EPKs made to promote their upcoming albums, but for New Kids' Step by Step, the boys were left to narrate and explain their latest pieces all by themselves.
Listen in as Donnie describes the album's title as "a name that makes sense" and "sort of an accurate name" and Joey pontificates the addition of "classical classic music like violins" to the group's repertoire.
New Kids on the Block: No More Games Pay-Per-View, 1990
Of course, by 1990 there was no shortage of ways to give the New Kids money. The group was at such a point in popularity that they could sustain their own pay-per-view special.
Fortunately for us, YouTube user Paivikil was kind enough to not only upload the entire No More Game pay-per-view special, but include the 30-minute pre-show where Donnie Wahlberg is trusted with live-hosting a series of clips to finally convince those of us on the fence to order the concert. Thousands of pre-teen girls (and apparently two boys) can't be wrong!