Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/1/1986 — The Kids 💽

There’s a lot going on in this picture.

80% of its subjects are sporting mullets.

@donniewahlberg is wearing a Geometry textbook.

And a bunch of dudes have climbed on public property for attention, so I have to assume that this is just another Sunday afternoon in South Boston ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

Even so, this puppy launched these 5 young men on a path to fame.

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the debut album of New Kids on the Block, the premier boy band of Boston. It was released today in 1986.

The story properly began a couple years earlier when the young men of a Roxbury-based R&B act called @neweditionbet cut ties with their manager Maurice Starr.

Planning to build upon the success of the all-black New Edition with an all-white boy band, which is all kinds of #problematic, Starr started holding auditions for local talent. Eventually, a 15-year-old Donnie Wahlberg walked into his office and New Kids had its first member.

Maurice cajolled Donnie into recruiting younger brother @markwahlberg, his best friends @dannywoodofficial and Jamie Kelly, his former classmate @jordanknightofficial, and Jordan’s older brother @jonathanrknight into joining the group. All these guys were from Dorchester #yeahkid

Tragically for all who wanted to see Sergeant Dignam in a boy band, Marky Mark bailed early on. Then, Starr replaced Jamie Kelly with @joeymcintyre (the one on the left who looks like a lost Culkin).

With membership set, the boys eventually signed with @columbiarecords — on the understandable condition that they change the name from “Nynuk”. So, they looked at their track list and realized that “New Kids on the Block” had a nice ring to it.

Neither critics nor the public cared for this first album, probably because @nkotb sang the word “girl” 87 times — I counted — and over-did the synthesizer, even by ‘86 standards.

But eventually, they found their groove and lived the American boy band dream.

They reached superstardom.

They got accused of lip syncing.

They cut ties with their exploitative manager.

They broke up.

And now they tour with the @backstreetboys #alright

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