Backstreet Boys are a Grammy-nominated American boy band. They were the first group launched by fallen boy band mogul Lou Pearlman. They have had 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and have sold close to 200 million records including over 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best selling boy bands of all time; they were number 1 in concert and album sales from 1997-2005 (when they earned $533.1 million).
Lou Pearlman was inspired by New Kids on the Block in the 1980s to create his own clean-cut boy band. In the summer of 1992 producer Lou Pearlman advertised in an Orlando, Florida newspaper for male singers for a New Kids On the Block style group. A.J. McLean and Tony Donetti (aka Howie Dorough) were the first to successfully audition. Nick Carter was hired at the young age of 12, and the final pieces were Kevin Richardson and his cousin Brian Littrell who joined in 1993 replacing two other young men who were initially hired. The name Backstreet Boys comes from the Backstreet Flea Market in Orlando, Florida. Pearlman had spent around $3 million of fraudulently obtained money (he has been convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme during this time frame) on his search to form the group, and then spent more to launch their career.
Pearlman called on his friend Bob Curiano to be the first to write and produce for the Backstreet Boys. Their first two songs ever recorded were "Lover Boy", written and produced by Curiano, and "Get Ready", a cover tune. The hit, 'Lover Boy' was inspired by Ana Legen, Bob Curiano's, first teenage crush, later Ana came back into the picture when she became a short term girlfriend to Howie in 1995. Their first concert, on July 8, 1993, was performed for 3,000 teenagers at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Pearlman later booked them at grade-school assemblies and shopping malls, and assigned management duties to Johnny Wright and Donna Wright, who had worked with New Kids on the Block. Wright is often credited by industry insiders for being the man who actually made the Boys famous.
European popularity grew, and the Backstreet Boys kicked off 1996 being voted the No. 1 international group by TV viewers in Germany - "I'll Never Break Your Heart" went gold there and hit No. 1 in Austria. The group earned their first platinum record in Germany and toured Asia and Canada. They became one of the most successful debut artists in the world.
By 1997, pop music was returning to the forefront in United States with the likes of the Spice Girls and Hanson. Jive Records and Pearlman decided to bring the boys back to their home country. They began recording their second album in January 1997, Backstreet's Back, releasing "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" in June. They also recorded the song, If You Stay, for the Booty Call soundtrack in January 1997. Coinciding with the release of their second international album, the band released a self-titled album in the US which collected songs from both international albums. They hit big on the U.S. Charts and debuted at No .1 in Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Finland and Austria. The two albums sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide (1 million copies in the U.S.)
In all, the group has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. Their first two U.S. Releases both received the Diamond Award for sales of more than 10 million: “Backstreet Boys” in 1997 and quintessential “Millennium” in 1999, which reached No. 1 in 25 countries. They have scored a dozen top 40 hits, including top 5 smashes “Quit Playing Games (with My Heart),” “As Long As You Love Me,” Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “All I Have To Give.” [wikipedia]