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Happy New Kids On The Block Day

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It’s that time of year again. The one where I get to dress up and go back to being a thirteen year old again.

No Halloween has not come early. I’m talking about New Kids On The Block Day, and as I’m a die hard fan, I absolutely love this day which remembers all that is fabulous about the most awesome boy band ever to walk this earth: Jordan, Jon, Joe, Danny and Donnie.

New Kids On The Block

New Kids On The Block

 

So come on Blockheads: don those ripped jeans, flash those smiley faces and peace sign medallions, wear your New Kids T-shirts with pride, and crank up the volume so that the whole neighbourhood hears those NKOTB tunes. Watch those videos to your hearts content, and prepare to fall in love with the Boston boy band all over again. It’s what today is all about.

Back in 1989, then Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis, declared 24 April to be National New Kids On The Block Day (for that alone, Mr. Dukakis should have been president!) National it may have been, but it didn’t stop fans from all over the world from honouring them. And twenty six years later it’s still a pretty big day in the Blockheads’ calendar.

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I’ve already driven the Hubby mad by singing New Kids On The Block Songs on the tube on the way to work. He should just be thankful that it was a packed carriage or I would have had to get on the floor and do the New Kids dance!

I’ve been in love with the five bad brothers from the bean town land from the moment I clapped eyes on them, and whereas most people go through phases of liking bands before moving on to the next big thing, it’s always been the New Kids for me and I’m so proud to say that they were my boy band when I was growing up.

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So as it’s National New Kids On The Block Day, I’m going to share the New Kids moments, experiences, memories and events that are special to me personally.

1.  BEFORE I’D EVEN SEEN THEM

“Do you lot like that new group, what are they called again? New Kids In The Neighbourhood?

“Oh you mean New Kids On The Block!”

“Oh my gosh, I really like them.”

“I really like them too!”

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That was a conversation that took place in my Year 7 class just as the New Kids were really starting to take off here in Britain. I can still  vividly remember this scene as we waited for our form tutor to arrive. At this point I’d definitely heard of New Kids On The Block but I hadn’t seen them and I didn’t really know anything about them. I wasn’t even a hundred per cent sure I’d heard anything by them. But I remember for the upcoming Smash Hits Poll Winners Awards many of the pop stars du jour were casting their vote for a little known band called the New Kids for Best Newcomer and various other awards so I knew there was something special about this band.

Little did I know just how special.

2. NUMBER ONE ON TOP OF THE POPS

It was Thursday night which meant that it was Top Of The Pops night, so us kids and Dad – who always likes to think he’s down with the kids – were huddled around the TV waiting to check out that week’s chart climbers and sliders and more importantly, who’d hit the top spot.

When the new number one was announced, I was thrilled to hear that it was that cool new group that everyone was talking about,New Kids On The Block with You Got It (The Right Stuff.) That was great because I’d finally get to see what they looked like – and what was so great about them. Little did I know that my little pre-pubescent self was NEVER going to be the same again.

The New Kids didn’t make a live appearance so the video was played instead, and when I tell you that it was love at first sight, I am not kidding. I’d had lots of crushes up until that point (yep, always had an eye for the boys!) but this was indescribable. I’d never seen a whole bunch of really great looking boys before. They sang and danced amazingly. I loved their style and they just had this thing… this thing that I couldn’t and still can’t quite put my finger on. And when a band or artist has this special quality, you just know they’re going to be huge. So it was no surprise when the New Kids blew up big time.

My sister and I had found our new crushes – as did most of the female population under the age of twenty five. I still didn’t know their names but the one who made the biggest impression on me was the extremely handsome, dark-haired boy who appeared to be the lead singer…

3. SMASH HITS COVER

Shortly after seeing them on TOTP for the first time, New Kids On The Block graced their first ever cover of Smash Hits magazine. And they were every bit as gorgeous as I’d remembered. I learned that their names were Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, Donnie Wahlberg, and Jordan Knight was Jon’s brother and the hottie who’d caught my eye. I’d never heard of anyone called Jordan before (we weren’t that exotic growing up in North-West London!) but it soon became one of my favourite boy’s names and remains so to this day – although Hubby is adamant that if ever we have a son, he is NEVER going to be called Jordan!

Thanks to that issue of Smash Hits, we also got to learn all sorts of other extremely useful snippets of info about them which came in very handy for discussions with our classmates. It was long before I was buying every magazine that they featured in.

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I bitterly regret not hanging on to that issue of Smash Hits.

4. WINNING SMASH HITS AWARDS

The year was 1990, the year my baby brother was born and the year New Kids On The Block scooped almost everything at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Awards. I’ve always loved watching the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party on BBC One, and then reading about it in the following issue of the magazine.

That year the New Kids appeared at the party via satellite link (that’s kind of when you know someone’s really famous!) but for the screaming girls present and those watching at home, those boys from Boston were definitely the highlight – as was seeing their excitement every time they got an award. But oh my goodness that was nothing compared to the hysterics when Jordan Knight found out that he’d won the award for most fanciable male. I loved when he looked in to the camera and said, “It’s me, boys” and then went on to thank all us “fine, English girls” for the award. Ooh, I’ve come over all funny!

Jordan Knight winning the award for most fanciable male was hardly a surprise but as all the New Kids are hot, it’s a pity they weren’t all joint first.

5. NEW YORK GIG

OK so I never got to go to the New York concert as part of the Hanging Tough Tour but I did get to see it and I loved it! I enjoyed every second of the show and so it seemed, did the New Kids, who looked as though they were having an awesome time. The bond between the boys has always been obvious but it was even more evident here. There have been many renditions of I’ll Be There but I definitely think there’s is the best by a long shot. I loved watching Jordan pulling faces into the camera and showing off his breaking dancing skills, Wild man Donnie serenading a little girl, and the boys really working that crowd.

Awesome gig!

6. PROVIDENCE GIG

I’d never even heard about Providence, RI before (sorry to all the residents there!) But now when I hear it mentioned, I immediately think of the gig the New Kids did there back in 1991 as part of the Magic Summer Tour. A friend recorded it for me and I’d never get fed up of watching it. In fact I spent more time watching it then I did studying for end of year exams. But it was worth it seeing Jordan perform Baby, I Believe In You.

I wish I had been there.

7.THE COMEBACK PT.1

I was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled when the New Kids announced that they were reuniting but I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to happen. There were apparent recording hitches and all kinds of other calamities that they had to contend with. And their eagerly-awaited appearance at the 1993 Smash Hits Poll Winners Party mysteriously never happened (Donnie later said that it was because the band were asked to change some of the lyrics to their very risqué hit, Dirty Dawg, which they refused to do.)

They did a feature in Smash Hits and it was awesome to hear what they’d been up to during their two year break. And I loved their lively banter with Clive Warren on capital Radio, as they promoted their new album Face The Music. It appeared that the boys were back, and us Blockheads – the real ones who never went away – were doing cartwheels.

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But this is where the memories aren’t so good. Even though I loved Face The Music, and I think it was lyrically and vocally one of the strongest out of all their early offerings, the critics and haters had it in for the New Kids. They slammed the boys’ harder, edgier street image and sound, and claimed that the lyrics in Dirty Dawg degraded women. Dirty Dawg only got as far as number twenty seven in the UK charts and the following single Never Gonna Let You Go barely made it into the Top Forty. Then Jon quit the group the New Kids soon disbanded. What I call the ‘wilderness years’ soon followed.

It is such a great pity that the boys weren’t as successful as they could have been because everything was put in place for an awesome comeback but there was so much stacked against them. But we can be thankful that they gave us another fantastic album.

8. THE COMEBACK PT.2

When it came to chart music and boy bands, no one could ever match up to New Kids On The Block. From being everywhere they were suddenly nowhere – and us fans missed them like crazy. I would get so excited if I so much as saw them mentioned in an article or if one of them made a fleeting appearance on a TV show.

And my biggest regret?

My biggest regret was that I got to see them perform live. That’s right – I might have been a fan for most of my life but I never got to go to a concert for many reasons and that did make me sad.

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I used to wish that they’d get back together if only for a little while so that I’d be able to fulfil my wish of being a hysterical Blockhead at one of their gigs. But I knew that it was unlikely to ever happen. The band had always seemed reluctant to get back together with many of them clearly stating that they’d moved on to other things.

So I was stunned, totally stunned when the New Kids reunited back in 2008. I was thrilled but apprehensive. What if this comeback was like the first one?

Luckily for us, it so wasn’t.

The group are still going strong today.

9. MY FIRST CONCERT

As soon as the UK tour was announced, I got tickets to the gig in Wembley. There are no words to describe how excited I was. For the New Kids to have gotten back together was beyond my wildest dreams. But to actually be going to their concert was a case of if-this-is-a-dream-please-don’t-wake-me. I was so happy that my dream was coming true.

But then tragedy struck when I lost my beloved grandfather just three weeks before the concert. In my grief the last thing I wanted to do was have a blast. I just wanted to curl up in a ball in a corner and stay there for a year. But my family had other ideas and persuaded me that it was what I needed.

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They were absolutely right. So a slightly subdued me went to Wembley with a very dear friend and we had an amazing time. We laughed, we sang, we danced, I may have shed a tear or two. It’ll always be very memorable for me. I loved the intro when the boys walked out on stage, and during If You Go Away, they displayed an emotional montage as a tribute to the loved ones they lost, which obviously struck a chord with me.

It was an extremely bittersweet experience and one that I’ll always be thankful to the New Kids for. I feel that they played a part in getting me through one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, and I fulfilled my wish.

They were definitely worth the wait.

 

10. STAR ON HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

When New Kids On The Block got their star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame it was as though they’d come full circle and there wasn’t a prouder bunch than us Blockheads. All I could think was “It’s about time!” New Kids have their place among the stars where they belong.

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Happy New Kids Day!

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Ten Jaw-Dropping TV Moments

In all the years I’ve been watching TV, I’ve stumbled across some real never-saw-that-coming moments. When you watch a film, soap opera, or TV drama, you know that the scriptwriters and directors have worked hard to incorporate dramatic and explosive moments – and we expect nothing less.

But when it’s television that has not (necessarily) been scripted, and especially when it’s live TV, the following classic TV moments prove that it’ isn’t always all right on the night – and viewers are sometimes left stunned, wondering “Did I really just see that?”

1. Judy Finnigan’s Wardrobe Malfunction

This was a real OMG! moment. Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan’s daytime TV show This Morning had just won an award at The National Television Awards. As they got up the podium, the audience dissolved into fits of laughter. The husband and wife presenting duo assumed it was because of the clip that was just shown where Richard was impersonating Ali G. It was then that I noticed Judy’s crop top.

“What is she wearing?” I asked Mum, quite baffled. Judy was known for her chic sense of style but I never had her down as a hipster.

“Exactly!” sniffed Mum.

That’s when it dawned on me. That wasn’t a crop top – it was her bra!

“OMG! The top of her dress has fallen down!”

At the same time, a very gallant John Leslie leapt to the stage and rearranged Judy’s coat – and that was when the penny dropped for the This Morning presenters. Richard announced that the mishap would be edited out of the show before it was broadcast, so Judy reminded him that the show was being broadcast live!

I have to say that Richard and Judy dealt with the incident in very good humour and recovered well. The very next day, Judy’s wardrobe malfunction made front page news and other talk shows could talk about nothing else. Richard and Judy also commented on what had happened on This Morning, with both Richard and Judy stating that they could understand how the dress had come undone when Richard had fastened it securely.

But it certainly wasn’t all bad. Judy was complimented on her, er, assets, and Richard was declared a very lucky man!

2. The Bee Gees’ Run-In With Clive Warren

I remember watching this. As BBC’s Clive Anderson All Talk was not live, the papers had already reported that all had not been well during Anderson’s interview with The Bee Gees. So I wasn’t  totally shocked when the legendary music group walked out while in the middle of an interview, but it was still an ‘OMG’ moment!

It started out like any other interview with the audience excited as their musical idols took their seats on stage. Clive asked many questions about their childhood, career etc. while giving them a bit of a ribbing. However the teasing proved to be a bit too much for Barry, who felt that Clive had gone one insult too far and stormed off the stage in a fit of temper, closely followed by Robin who was also equally angry. Maurice was the last to leave and decided to follow his brothers because he couldn’t see any point in continuing the interview without the other Bee Gees. Clive Anderson’s face when he realised that The Bee Gees were being serious about walking off was unforgettable.

The Bee Gees appearance on Clive Anderson’s show divided the nation. Some felt that The Bee Gees had behaved like divas and had a very poor sense of humour, while others thought that Clive had behaved in a very offensive manner and that he owed the Bee Gees an apology.

I just think it was a classic moment in TV history.

3. Grace Jones Clobbers Russell Harty

This incident is not something that I saw for myself when it was first aired – I would have been tucked up in bed by then – but I do remember hearing people talking about it non-stop for weeks afterwards.

Singer Grace Jones, who was huge in the ’80s, appeared on The Russell Harty Show – another iconic ’80s figure – and was more than a bit miffed that Russell kept turning his back to her in order to talk to another guest. Known for being eccentric, Grace warned Russell not to keep ignoring her. He didn’t take her warnings seriously – so she smacked him.

Some people will do anything for attention!

4. Tommy Cooper Dies On Stage

I remember being sat at home with my parents watching LWT’s Live From Her Majesty’, when comedian and magician, Tommy Cooper, whilst in the middle of a comedy routine on stage collapsed and died after suffering a heart attack not only in front of the theatre’s audience but in front of millions of viewers around the country too. I can still remember the audience laughing as they clearly thought that it was part of his act. The show then went to a commercial break. I think it might have been the next day when the tragic news was announced.

Tommy Cooper

Tommy Cooper

 

5. Peter Smith Admits To Lying About His Age On Popstars: The Rivals

Nowadays, search- for- a- new- pop star shows are two a penny and if I’m honest I’m a little bit bored of them now and rarely tune in. However, back in the day I used to watch them religiously. They really took off after Popstars, in which HearSay were discovered, so naturally we all tuned in to watch Popstars: The Rivals to find out who the new boy band and girl group of the future were going to be.

All was going well until week two when one of the boys was going to be eliminated. Suddenly Peter Smith said that there was something he needed to say. Despite finding it difficult to get the words out, Peter finally announced that he had lied about his age and that he was in fact two months too old to be in the competition.

The audience was stunned; Peter’s fellow competitors – both girls and boys – were in tears; the show’s presenter, Davina McCall, was struggling to keep it together, and if the viewing public were anything like me, then they undoubtedly got a little emotional too. Despite later claims, that Peter’s shock announcement was planned in a bid to boost ratings, I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt; it was a very brave thing for the young man to do on live national TV.

6. Cilla Black Exposes A Journalist On Blind Date

Blind Date used to be compulsive Saturday night viewing with the fab Cilla Black. It was a show for those who were looking for love – as well as the odd would-be celeb looking for exposure. Isn’t that right Ms. Holden?

However, Nicola Gill, a journalist from Cosmopolitan, took things a step further…

Wanting to write an exposé about the show, she posed as a contestant and got to go on a date with a fellow contestant. Cilla and the Blind Date team somehow got wind of the ‘contestant’s” true identity, and not one to suffer fools gladly, Cilla exposed the journalist on TV – in front of the audience and Nicola’s very disappointed date – before giving her a dressing down for being down right sneaky and for depriving a genuine contestant of a place on the show.

There was never a dull moment on Blind Date but I’d never seen anything like that before. Go Cilla!

Our Cilla

Our Cilla

 

7. Paula Yates’s Appearance on Have I Got News For You

Paula Yates became one of the most unpopular women on the planet when she ditched Sir/Saint Bob Geldof for INXS’s Michael Hutchence thus also muscling in on another woman’s man. And not just any woman either but gorgeous Danish supermodel Helena Christensen. So when Paula made an appearance on BBC quiz show Have I Got News For You, no one knew just how memorable and talked about this appearance was going to be.

Ian Hislop took swipes at Paula every opportunity he got. Paula reprimanded him for being so rude. A female member of the audience seemed to agree with Ian.

“So much for sisterhood!” said a very exasperated Paula.

“Is that what you said to Helena Christensen?” asked Ian as the audience gasped.

Paula later got her own back by calling Ian the ‘sperm of the devil’, and looked thoroughly pleased with herself.

“Even her insults come from genitals,” Ian shot back.

I’ve never seen sparring like it.

8. Big Brother 5’s Fight Night

Up until Big Brother 8, when it all started to get a bit old hat, I watched the Channel 4 series (as it was then) every year. Big Brother 5 was probably the most dramatic series ever, with lots of edge of the seat stuff, but nothing was as explosive as Fight Night…

Two of the housemates, Emma Greenwood and Michelle Bass, were believed by the other housemates,  to have been evicted in a surprise double eviction. In actual fact the two girls were hiding out in a secret house where they were watching the goings-on in the main house. They got to hear some not so nice things said about them, so when they finally surprised everyone by walking back into the house, it was very clear that they had scores to settle with some of the other housemates.

But nobody predicted just how out of hand things would get when angry exchanges turned into a physical fight, and for the first time ever, security had to enter the house and intervene as things became very violent and aggressive. And according to press reports, viewers who witnessed the violence as it was unfolding live, called he police. A very hysterical Emma was removed from the main house and taken back to the secret house  where she spent the night before being evicted for real.

Although things did calm down, the divisions remained and the tensions continued until the series ended. Despite a great deal of unpleasantness, one of the things I liked about this series were the friendships, strong bonds and loyalties within the different groups. I do hope that many of those friendships have endured.

9. Amanda de Cadenet’s Embarassing New Kids On The Block Interview On The Word

Amanda De Cadenet with her co-presenter, Terry Christian

Amanda De Cadenet with her co-presenter, Terry Christian

 

As a massive NKOTB fan (always have been, always will be) The Word presenter Amanda De Cadenet’s interview with three members of New Kids On The Block – Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and an extremely hot looking Jordan Knight – infuriated me and no doubt countless other New Kids fans too. She had spent the few minutes that she had interviewing them belittling the boys; mocking  them; making digs at them and poking fun – none of it in good humour. So she wasn’t a New Kids fan, we get that, but she came across as extremely  ignorant and unprofessional.

However as every Blockhead back in the day knew, you don’t pick a fight with Donnie Wahlberg and expect to get away with it. The wildest New Kid, who wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything, refused to put up with any nonsense from Ms. De Cadenet and put her well and truly in her place, even implying that her interviewing skills weren’t up to much –  and he was right!

It wasn’t the most comfortable of interviews but New Kids’ fans cheered as the smug smile was wiped off Amanda’s face.

NKOTB – 1 Amanda – 0

New Kids On The Block

New Kids On The Block

10. Bjork Goes Crazy

OK, so we all knew that Icelandic pop star Bjork was more than just a little bit bonkers. In fact, I think she liked it that we all thought she was a bit bonkers. But nobody for a second thought that Bjork was a match for Mike Tyson until they saw her fly at a female reporter and attack her with extreme force, and left us all wondering what the hell just happened!

The violently unhappy pop star had just arrived at Bankok International, pushing a trolly which contained her baggage and young son, when she was greeted by British-born journalist, Julie Kaufman, who simply said, “Welcome to Bankok.” That was all it took to push Bjork over the edge and she went straight for the reporters hair, before knocking her to the ground and hitting her. The journalist was more stunned than hurt – though no doubt her pride took quite a battering.

No one could understand what made Bjork flip – until she later revealed that she was annoyed at the reporter for hounding both her and her son for several days.

Ever since this incident Bjork’s been oh so quiet…

 

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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in TV Shows

 

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Don’t You Know That The Time Has Arrived? NKOTB’s Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

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Don’t be alarmed if you see an overly ecstatic woman wearing a smiley face t-shirt and a peace symbol medallion doing cartwheels down the street. Chances are she’s a Blockhead and she’s got a great reason for being super thrilled!

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Us Blockheads knew that we’d be loving New Kids On The Block forever but on Thursday we were prouder than ever as the Boston supergroup were honoured with the 2,530th star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of thousands of screaming, banner-carrying fans who were out in full force to share this very momentous occasion with their idols. I have no idea why it took so long but it was well worth the wait. It was an emotional moment for band members, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood as they received this prestigious tribute – a poignant reminder that they will live on in entertainment history. And it was undoubtedly an equally emotional moment for the fans as we saw just how far they’d come from their humble beginnings to become one of the most famous musical acts ever. No doubt thoughts turned to the first time we ever saw them or heard one of their songs. For some of us, they were our first crush, but for all the fans, they have continued to live on in our hearts – and maybe even still have their posters occupying  wall space! These five special guys played a part during our childhoods and teenage years, and I’m delighted that all these years later, they’re still here and they’ve been given the reward they so richly deserve.

THE CEREMONY

“Fans have been asking for quite a while now when the New Kids on The Block were going to get their star. We want to thank them for “Hangin’ Tough” for waiting patiently to hear the announcement of their favorite boy band star ceremony.” Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies

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Even though I had to make do with watching the ceremony from the comfort of my own home – I so wish I could have been there – I could tell that the atmosphere in Hollywood Boulevard was electric. Fans who have been on this three decade long ride with the New Kids were screaming their heads off and waving banners as though they were still fifteen (I’m surprised no one fainted!) Donnie got very emotional, comedian and friend to the New Kids, Arsenio Hall, paid tribute to the band – and our favourite boys from Boston finally got their star.

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Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jon and Joey looked super hot – and it had nothing to do with the LA sun – as they stepped up to the podium in co-ordinating suits complete with pink ribbons pinned to their lapels for breast cancer awareness. Even though they smiled and waved to the crowd as speeches were being made, it was evident that they were totally overwhelmed. I suppose that’s the feeling you get when you know you’ve been immortalized forever.

Leron Gubler, president and CEO of Hollywood Chamber of commerce was the first to welcome the band onto the podium, but before he did, he took a little time to remind the crowd of NKOTB’s numerous achievements and accomplishments, including their work for charity, especially for breast cancer awareness, hence the pink bows.

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A very excited bunch of New Kids appeared which drove the crowd wild – and they were very closely followed by Arsenio Hall who has been a supporter of the band from the very beginning. He shared his memories with the fans and explained why the world loved the band so much before it was the turn of Los Angeles City Council’s Mitch O’Farrell to say a few words, who then presented the band with their individual certificates of honour.

It was then time for the band to speak.

With Arsenio Hall

With Arsenio Hall

 

It was Donnie who gave the speech and he revealed that for the first time ever, none of the band wanted to speak because they were so completely overwhelmed and blown away by the day’s events. However I’m not surprised that it was Donnie who got to step up to the mic because he always came across the leader of the group, and the hinge that held them all together. He’s also known for having a way with words which is why my sister and I nicknamed him Words-Of-Wisdom Donnie. And after the speech he delivered, he’s definitely worthy of the name. He talked about the band’s hard work and aspirations from the early days; gave thanks to the band’s family and friends, in particular their children; mentioned all those who were instrumental in their success from the beginning, and remembered those who were no longer with them. Poor Donnie got a little emotional and teary, and I’m sure there wasn’t a Blockhead present who didn’t want to rush up onto the stage and give him a big hug.

Donnie gets emotional

Donnie gets emotional

 

And talking of hugs, I thought the big group hug the others gave Donnie after he’d delivered his speech was so sweet. I love the true friendship that the five of them share. They have a rapport that I don’t see with other members of similar bands. Yes they’ve had their ups and downs over the years, and we all know that there were times when they couldn’t stand to be in the same room. But they’ve grown up and worked out their differences. Whereas most bands are seriously manufactured and thrown together by a record company, the New Kids – with the exception of Joe – all knew each other before they joined the band, so there’s definitely a bond there. Donnie summed up the closeness between the five at the ceremony:

‘We’ve been together for pretty much 30 years. We’ve been friends for longer. We’ve been through the droughts of droughts, the highs of highs. We’ve been through things that most people could never imagine… I think I speak for all of us in saying that I would not have wanted to spend one moment of the last 33 years doing this with anyone besides this team right here. We say it often but we are brothers. And it’s real.”’

THE STORY SO FAR:

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The New Kids formed in 1984 in Boston, Massachusetts when producer Maurice Starr – famous for discovering New Edition – put together brothers Jonathan and Jordan plus their high school friends, Donnie and Danny. Joey completed the line-up and the rest is history. New Kids On The Block superseded the success of New Edition by far, and became more famous than anyone could ever have imagined. They are considered to be the blueprint for boy bands as we know them today, though in my opinion the New Kids set the bar staggeringly high because over the years, boy bands may have come and gone but there’s only ever been one for me… and all my fellow Blockheads know what I’m talking about!

 

But along with the highs came the lows, and the New Kids have experienced more ups and downs than a lift in a tower block. Their meteoric rise to fame; the mass hysteria that had not been witnessed since the days of The Osmonds; their eventual decline and virtual disappearance have all been well-documented. They took a break at the end of 1991, and after a brief comeback in 1994 – complete with abridged name and new image – NKOTB disbanded, seemingly for good, much to the devastation of their fans. For more than a decade, very little was mentioned about the members of the defunct band. Yes, we knew that Jon had moved into real estate; Jordan was working on solo material; Danny popped up as a member of Upper Street; Joey was still involved in the music industry but had also branched out into acting, as did Donnie, although Donnie’s fame was now eclipsed by that of his younger brother Mark Wahlberg, who was fast on his way to becoming a respected Hollywood actor. And of course there was talk of girlfriends, wives and babies – things that had to be kept under wraps when the band were at the height of their fame. With the former New Kids following their own paths in life, a reunion seemed out of the question. Who could forget Bands Reunited where only the Knight brothers agreed to return? As the years went by, the odds of NKOTB making a comeback were very, very low.

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Well it’s a good job I’m not a betting person or I would have lost. As much as it would have been a dream come true for me for my fave band to reunite, I wasn’t going to hold my breath. I’d gotten my hopes up before with their 1994 comeback, plus the boys appeared to have moved on and expressed no interest in reuniting. But to prove that miracles do indeed happen, New Kids On The Block announced that they were getting back together again in 2008 and the world cheered – well us Blockhead’s did anyway! Their first release in nearly fifteen years was Summertime from their album The Block and they’ve been going strong ever since.

With Maurice Starr

With Maurice Starr

 

That’s why their recent accolade is so poignant. If they had not reunited they would have just faded into obscurity and they would have been known as ‘that band what used to be famous.’ When they hit the big time, they had to put up with sneers from critics. When they disbanded they had to put up with even more ridicule and had to watch as part of their fanbase (not the real fans) moved onto the next big thing and forgot about them. They went from being everywhere to being nowhere. They were no longer taken seriously or regarded as cool.

But they rose above it all… and look where they are now…

THE FANS

A fan at the ceremony

A fan at the ceremony

 

“If we are the star that’s going to be on this famed boulevard with these legendary names for the rest of time, then you guys are the soil and the concrete – the foundation that inspires us everyday to get up, keep going and say, ‘To hell with the naysayers,’ and ‘To hell with our crinkly bones.’ You are our fuel, our energy and our inspiration.” Donnie Wahlberg

New Kids On The Block really do have the best fans in the world – even if I do say so myself. However, I know it’s something that the group agree with.

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NKOTB’s  real fans never forgot them or gave up on them and the band are lucky to have such a loyal, strong and supportive fan base. Even though we might have grown up – with a lot of us having New Kids of our own – we’ve grown up with them and their music. And what’s so important about the star that the New Kids have been honoured with is that it was something that the fans called for, especially Melissa Buja, a Blockhead from Massachusetts, who led the campaign for the group to receive a star for the last three years.  As a result, Donnie gave a special mention to the fans during his speech.

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When New Kids first burst on the scene, the whole world went New Kids barmy. We’d had Bros, Brother Beyond and Wham! before them but I’d never seen anything like it. We wore ripped jeans like they did; we made up dances to their songs; we wore black rubber bracelets; we thought rat tails were cool; we went to the concerts we bought anything that had their faces or the band’s logo on it… in short our lives revolved around New Kids On The Block. And it stayed that way until they split.

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Most of us were delighted when they returned in 1994 with Face The Music. We had images of New Kids world domination taking over again. But alas it was not to be. A lot of the fans who used to like NKOTB had now lost interest and were into other boy bands who had formed after seeing the success of the New Kids. No one had ever told either the bands or the fans that imitation is never as good as the real deal! What was sad after the group split was that it was suddenly seriously uncool to admit to liking the New Kids. We were supposed to hate them and toss out all the memorabilia. So I collected all the New Kids goodies that no one wanted any more – and accepted the ridicule that went with it. I look at my vast collection of New Kids memorabilia and it was all so worth it. As far as I’m concerned, the New Kids have always been in and always been cool and I really don’t give two sh**s what anyone thinks. At least I don’t have sheep mentality.

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I’d met and formed a friendship with another Blockhead after the group broke up. I always liked meeting people who were still very much Blockheads and proud of it, who said that she was a Boyzone fan because out of all the boy bands out there, they were the best of the bunch. But her heart well and truly belonged to the New Kids – especially Joey McIntyre. It still does.

Us fans have never been prouder of being Blockheads than we were on Thursday!

WHY WE LOVE THEM

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Goodness – where do we start! The New Kids are mega talented, gorgeous, they sing beautifully, have great moves, write amazing lyrics, show love to their fans, are very family-orientated, still love their hometown… I could go on forever. It’s so difficult to put into words why we love them. They’re a band like no other. They’ve captured our hearts and there will never be another group like them.

The Bean Town posse proved that it was possible for the ordinary kid on the block to live the dream and be a success. They proved that it was possible to get back up on your feet when you got knocked down and come back bigger and badder than ever. And they weren’t afraid of hard work. I remember listening to an interview with the New Kids when the interviewer, Clive Warren, remembered going on tour with the boys and described just how hard they worked:

“You would have breakfast just before the evening show,” Warren revealed.

"I don't care what any of you say, this selfie is way cooler than Obama's..."

“I don’t care what any of you say, this selfie is way cooler than Obama’s…”

I also remember how Take That took a pop at them back in ’94 when the New Kids were making a comeback. The delightful Gary Barlow said that the boys would probably be opening up for Take That. A very dignified Joey McIntyre refused to rise to the bait but did say that he didn’t think Take That would be saying stupid things like that if they were all in the same room.

Too right! And far be it for me to gloat but I think we can all see who’s having the last laugh now.

I love the New Kids. Totally love them. I always will. I have been a proud Blockhead since day one – and I could not be prouder. Thanks for all the magical memories, New Kids. I look forward to many more and huge congrats on your success. You’re awesome!

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 “You know why I love them? They make us happy. You cannot listen to a song or watch a video and not smile. Their songs will be our oldies when we’re old. We’re going to have the greatest oldies in the history of music… because we have New Kids.” Arsenio Hall

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Video

I’ll Be Loving You Forever: NKOTB Celebrate 30 Years With Vegas Bash

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Back in 1994, I was listening to a radio interview on Capital Radio where presenter Clive Warren was speaking to Boston boy band New Kids On The Block as they made their comeback after an absence of three years. During this interview, Donnie Wahlberg revealed that the band had been together for ten years.

“Ten years!” exclaimed Warren, “that’s incredible!”

As they were back in the day!

As they were back in the day!

And indeed it was. Despite a few exceptions, pop acts aren’t expected to last longer than a couple of years so ten years seemed like a lifetime, and as I sat at home listening to the interview while having naughty thoughts about that Jordan, I shared Warren’s sense of amazement.

The very first album cover three decades ago

The very first album cover three decades ago

 

Fast forward to 2014 and guess what? New Kids On The Block – or NKOTB as they like to be called – have announced that they will be hosting a four day party and concert extravaganza in sin city itself, Las Vegas, to celebrate – wait for it – thirty years since the group was formed. That’s right – THIRTY YEARS!!!

Las Vegas: The soon-to-be scene of much musical mayhem!

Las Vegas: The soon-to-be scene of much musical mayhem!

It’s not a typo of any kind – the New Kids were formed by Maurice Starr in 1984 when they really were just, er, New Kids. Many Blockheads have taken to the forums to say that although they are delighted by news of the Las Vegas residency at the Axis at Planet Hollywood and the fact that the beloved boy band have been together for thirty years… the news also made them feel very old! Thankfully for me, I never did get past the age of fifteen, so I don’t feel old – but I am wondering where all those years went…

 

I still remember the very first time I saw the ’80s favourites. It was November 1989 and I was sat at home watching Top Of The Pops with my dad and sister. The New Kids were starting to make a name for themselves on this side of the Atlantic. I’d already heard (You Got It) The Right Stuff played on the radio a million times which was just as well because I never got bored of it, and all my classmates couldn’t stop going on about them (I went to an all-girls school!) I’d had phases of being into other pop acts: Wham! Duran Duran, Bros, Brother Beyond, Kylie and Jason… but seeing NKOTB for the first time doing the New Kids dance was something I will never forget. Was it possible to get five hotties in one band? Did Jordan Knight need a license to be that gorgeous? Where did they get those magic feet from? Damn, they could sing! I fell in love with Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jon and Jordan there and then and it has most definitely not been a phase because I’m still besotted with them after all these years.

New Kids On The Block And Backstreet Boys Shop At Sugar Factory At Paris Las Vegas

The band went on to sell over eighty million records; become the kings of merchandising; have their own cartoon show; appear on just about every music program and talk show (as well as in our dreams!) and generally conquered the world with their combination of smooth vocals, choreography that kids were trying to recreate in school playgrounds and drop-dead-pass-out-and-die looks. They were also the boy band who gave us the erm, boy band! Love them or hate them for that, there is no denying that there have been a zillion boybands since them, all trying to emulate the success of the New Kids. Take That were formed as a British boy-band to rival the New Kids, and Boyzone’s Shane Lynch has revealed that he harboured ambitions to join a boy-band after seeing New Kids On The Block on the telly. To be honest, I really do wish that boy-bands had began and stopped with the New Kids because there hasn’t been a group who has been even half as good as the New Kids – not really a surprise as you can’t improve on perfection!

Beautiful Boston where it all began

Beautiful Boston where it all began

Sadly along with the highs, there have also been a lot of lows. An extremely loud cracking noise that could be heard all over the world in 1991 was identified as the sound of millions of young hearts breaking as New Kids On The Block announced their split amid rumours of escalating tensions and rivalries among the band. Even before that there were scandals as Donnie Wahlberg was accused of starting a fire at a hotel and was rumoured to be living with a much older woman (remember this was in the days when teen heart-throbs couldn’t admit to having a girlfriend!) The comeback in 1994 proved to be short-lived: NKOTB went their separate ways for good (so it seemed) once die-hard fans ripped up their posters and moved on to the latest pop group du jour. Jordan Knight later admitted in interviews that launching a solo career was hard as he was regarded as a has-been at the tender age of twenty six and couldn’t escape the band’s perceived cheesy image.

The NKOTB dolls

The NKOTB dolls

During the years that followed, the New Kids virtually faded into obscurity and never again graced magazine covers or were top billing at any show.  There were a few precious glimpses of our favourite Bostonians over the years: Donnie and Joe were both forging ahead with acting careers; Jordan embarked on a solo career, and Danny got a place in short-lived boy-band Upper Street. Jon was the only one who withdrew completely from the crazy world of showbiz and settled for a more quieter life, although he did make the odd television appearance.

As cartoon characters

As cartoon characters

But then everything changed in 2008 when a miracle happened and the five bad brothers from the Beantown decided to make one final attempt at pop domination. And thank goodness for that because they’ve achieved what they set out to do plus healed the hearts of the fans who never went away. The rest is history and the band are still going strong.

I was so sure I was going to be Mrs. Knight... along with a million other girls!

I was so sure I was going to be Mrs. Knight… along with a million other girls!

The last thirty years have been one hell of a ride! Speaking to People magazine, Jordan Knight revealed that passing years have done little to curb their enthusiasm:

” It is cool because it is still the same because no matter how old you get, there is still a kid inside of you.”

Knight also went on to say that it was the success of their annual cruises that gave them the Vegas idea and inspired them to host the residency and have a “cruise on land” in order to do something special to mark this momentous occasion – and the boys are really looking forward to performing at night and hosting pool parties during the day : 

“At the end of the four days, I’m sure we will be almost dead. But it is fun and kind of intoxicating just hanging out with all the fans.”

Donnie Wahlberg added in a statement:

“The band has been focusing on all sorts of solo projects and now prepping for our European tour, but we knew we wanted to do something special Stateside for 2014. We knew we had a limited time block where we could do something fun and we knew we had to make it memorable! What better place than Vegas?”

Paul Natkin

 

And what better people to party with than the New Kids On The Block? The short festival will be called After Dark and kicks off on July 10. Tickets go on sale on 4th April. Will I be going? Well, I’m trying to twist Hubby’s arm and convincing him we need a Las Vegas holiday around that time but he’s having none of it. I am working on it though. After all i’s not every day your fave pop band celebrates their thirtieth anniversary.

 

Damn! Now I do feel old!

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Morgan’s Head No Longer On The New Kid’s Block

Piers Morgan’s account of how he reached a truce with New Kids On The Block’s Donnie Wahlberg brought back a lot of memories. According to Morgan, his feud with the iconic pop band didn’t match other long running battles in terms of ‘ferocity or global reach’. Well surely no one would be foolish enough to try and do battle with the five bad brothers from the bean-town land? Especially when one of those brothers was toughnut Wahlberg.

Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan

Relations between the New Kids and Morgan had started out friendly enough but took an unpleasant turn when the 1980s pop phenomenon were angered by things Morgan had written about them. Miffed at Morgan’s ‘lack of respect’ for the New Kids, Wahlberg took to the stage at Wembley wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘PIERS MORGAN SUCKS’ emblazoned across it. He then instructed the thousands of Blockheads present not to read anything written by the lovely Mr. Morgan.

NKOTB: The best boy band ever!

NKOTB: The best boy band ever!

Piers Morgan recently revealed the full extent of the New Kids’ venom due the less than flattering things he had written about them. They retaliated by banning him from their shows; there was a bust up at a press conference which led to Wahlberg being led away and of course there was the ‘PIERS MORGAN SUCKS’ t-shirt among other heated exchanges during that period. Of course, as a massive New Kids fan (always will be!) it’s safe to say that Morgan was not my favourite person and his name, as far as us Blockheads were concerned, was most definitely mud (well actually something far worse than mud but we don’t need to go there!) However, this feud didn’t harm Morgan’s career in the slightest and instead helped to successfully raise his profile worldwide. Morgan described the whole debacle as “the finest moment of my pop-writing career.”

Donnie Wahlberg: Would you want to start a fight with this man?

Donnie Wahlberg: Would you want to start a fight with this man?

In 1994 when the New Kids were making the first of their two comebacks and announced that they wanted to be known as NKOTB, they appeared on Clive Warren’s Capital Radio show – which I had waited all week to listen to – where the offending (for Morgan anyway) garment was mentioned. Warren wanted to know if Donnie had patched things up with Piers Morgan.

“Well, there’s really nothing to patch up,” insisted Wahlberg, “I didn’t know him then and I don’t know him now.” Wahlberg, quite reasonably, accepted that as much as he wanted to smack the likes of Morgan for writing such unflattering articles, he understood that Morgan had a job to do and he was paid to write such stories.

Fast forward more than twenty years later (goodness, I do feel old!) and Donnie appears on Morgan’s CNN show.It appears that the hatchet – believe it or not – is well and truly buried. And not in the back of anyone’s head either! After the horrendous bomb blast at the Boston Marathon this year, the New Kids were performing at a special charity event in order to raise money for the victims. Donnie surprisingly agreed to appear on Morgan’s CNN show and felt relaxed enough to discuss the concert; how important it was to him; his love for his hometown, as well as his concern for friend and bandmate, Joey McIntyre, who was taking part in the marathon.

Morgan and Wahlberg as they appeared on Morgan's CNN show

Morgan and Wahlberg as they appeared on Morgan’s CNN show

The conversation couldn’t have been more different to the hostile words exchanged more than two decades ago: civilised, dignified and gracious, both Wahlberg and Morgan put the past behind them and developed a new found respect for each other.

And as Donnie now thinks Morgan’s a pretty cool bloke, I guess us Blockheads can all chuck out our ‘PIERS MORGAN SUCKS’ t-shirts!

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