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Backstreet’s back at the Spokane Arena

The Backstreet Boys will perform this weekend at the Spokane Arena.  (Courtesy photo )
The Backstreet Boys will perform this weekend at the Spokane Arena. (Courtesy photo )

The best-selling boy band of all time isn’t New Kids on the Block, NSYNC or One Direction. The Backstreet Boys, who have sold more than 100 million albums, are kings of the boy band heap.

Take that Donnie, Justin and Harry! The Backstreet Boys were the first group since Led Zeppelin to have their first 10 albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and the only boy band to accomplish that feat.

Let’s look take a closer look at the Backstreet Boys, who will perform Sunday at the Spokane Arena.

1. It all started for the Backstreet Boys because of a newspaper. The band’s manager, Lou Pearlman, placed an ad in the Orlando Sentinel 30 years ago hoping to form a vocal group. Placing an ad in a city’s paper of record is still the best way to form a band, right? Why not try it?

2. Within weeks of answering the ad, the Backstreet Boys, which includes A.J. McLean, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter and Howie Dorough, formed in 1992.

3. Less than a year later, the Backstreet Boys, named after an outdoor Orlando flea market, were cutting their teeth playing malls and restaurants.

4. In 1993 Mercury Records offered the Backstreet Boys a deal but the label bailed after one of its artists, John Mellencamp, said he would leave if Mercury was part of the boy band business.

5. Backstreet Boys signed with Zomba/Jive in 1994. Shortly thereafter, the group flew to Sweden to meet with professional hitmaker Max Martin, who crafted their first smash, “We Got it Goin.’ ”

6. 1997’s “Backstreet’s Back,” the band’s second album, went platinum and included such smashes as “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “As Long as You Love Me” and “All I Have to Give,” established the act.

7. “Millennium,” which was released in 1999, catapulted the band to superstardom. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 at No. 1 and more than 1.1 million copies sold in its first week of release. The album was buoyed by four singles, “I Want It That Way,” “Larger Than Life,” “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” and “The One.”

8. The Backstreet Boys developed a global audience before social media. It was a very different world more than 20 years ago for the Backstreet Boys, who faced challenges K-Pop stars BTS never had to encounter. Part of the reason for BSB’s success is due to the act’s relentlessness.

9. Their comeback album, 2019’s “DNA” was the first Backstreet Boy album to top the Billboard album chart since 2000’s “Black & Blue.” “DNA” is full of earnest, urgent, and at times sentimental songs.

10. Should the Backstreet Boys still be considered a boy band? Each member of the Backstreet Boys has at least one child and every member of the act is over 40. When BSB is on its senior citizen tour, will the quintet still be regarded as a boy band? BSB has been an adult contemporary act longer than a teen-pop group. BSB just won’t go away and that probably won’t change since the Backstreet Boys continue to sell well in arenas.

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