Backstreet Time Line
We trace the rise and incredible success of the
Backstreet Boys in words and photos.
For newfound fans what follows is a chronological breakdown of the life and times of the Backstreet Boys, from birth to where they stand today in the music world.
Oct. 3, 1971: Kevin Scott Richardson born in Lexington, KY
Aug. 22, 1973: Howard Dwaine Dorough born in Orlando, FL
Feb. 20, 1975: Brian Thomas Littrell born in Lexington, KY
Jan. 9, 1978: Alexander James McLean born West Palm Beach, FL
Jan. 28, 1980: Nicholas Gene Carter born Jamestown, NY
Summer 1989: Lou Pearlman, a failed rocker and successful aviation tycoon, starts dreaming about forming the next teen pop sensations.
June 1992: The following ad appears in the Orlando Sentinel: "Teen male vocalists: Producer seeks male teen singers that move well between 16-19 years of age. Wanted for New Kids-type singing/dance group. Send photo or bio' of any kind to?"
August 1992: 14-year-old A.J. McLean and 19-year-old Tony Donetti (a.k.a. Howie Dorough) audition for the group and are asked to join, although it would be a few months before Donetti actually found out about it; they lost his telephone number and couldn't locate a Tony Donetti in the telephone book.
October 1992: Twelve-year-old Nick Carter auditions for the group in spite of his tender age. Howie D. turns up for what he believes to be an audition with another group and is greeted with "Hey Donetti! Where have you been? We've been loking for you everywhere!" Two other members, Sam Licata and Charles Edwards, temporarily round out the group.
March 1993: Sam Licata leaves the group for personal reasons. Charles Edwards leaves because of difficulties with his voice. Kevin Richardson, an actor, model, singer and dancer, auditions and joins the group, settling in immediately. The search is now on for the fifth and final Backstreet Boy.
April 19, 1993: At 2 p.m., 18-year-old Brian Littrell is called away from his American History class to answer an urgent phone call. His cousin Kevin asks him to audition for the pop group. At 9 p.m., Brian auditions over the phone. He finds himself on a flight to Orlando at 6 a.m. the next day.
May 8, 1993: The Boys perform their first big concert at Sea World, Orlando to a crowd of more than 3,000 teenagers. Much to the amazement of the group, the audience went wild.
Summer 1993: The Boys continue to pergform in a variety of venues from shopping malls to a high-profile gala AIDS charity hosted by Whitney Houston in Fort Lauderdale.
Fall 1993: With a change in management, the Boys tour schools across the States, building a fan base while trying to negotiate a recording deal. They nearly sign with Mercury Records, but the deal falls through at the last minute.
February 1994: Executives from Zomba/Jive catch the Boys performing in Cleveland. They sign the Boys to their first record deal, but it would be a year before they recorded their first single.
June 1994: The Boys fly to Sweden to record "We've Got it Going On" and two additional songs with musician Denniz PoP.
August 1995: "We've Got it Going On" is released as a single in the U.S.A. MTV and the press are disinterested. It only climbed to number 69 on the Billboard charts, resulting in the cancellation of all plans for a promotional tour to plug the new single.
October 1995: "We've Got it Going On" 8s released in Europe and climbs to the top ten in Germany, earning them their first gold disc.
November-December 1995: The Boys begin touring the U.K. with the Smash Hits Roadshow, winning over audiences and critics. But the single still doesn't make the top 40 chart.
Winter 1996: The Boys continue to tour Europe (especially Germany). Support for the group reaches a frenzied level in Germany.
Spring 1996: "Get Down" hits number 14 on the U.K. charts, earning them a spot on the English music show Top of the Pops. The Boys return to Orlando to record their first album.
Summer 1996: With a new3 album in the can, they immediately begin touring the Far East and Canada.
August 1996: "We've Got it Going On" is re-released in the U.K. and makes it to number 3 on the charts.
September 1996: the album is an immediate hit in over a dozen countries, earning them their first platinum album (500,000 CDs sold) in Germany. The album peaks at number 12 in the U.K.
October 1996: The Boys do a worldwind tour of South East Asia and Australia.
November 1996: they perform a tour of 14 cities in mid-sized arenas and theaters in the U.K. and Europe. The British leg of the tour is a success and the re-released "I'll Never Break Your Heart" single climbs to number 8 in the U.K.
Despite heavy competition, the Boys win a phone-in poll for the Best Group category at the MTV Europe Awards.
January 1997: The Boys take time out to record and be wit their families. They prepare for a 37-city tour of Europe.
February 1997: The Boys begin their Euro-Tour. "Quit Playing Games (With my Heart)" climbs to a disappointing number 15 on the U.K. charts.
March 1997: "Anywhere for You" climbs to number 4 on the U.K. charts.
April 1997: They turn their attention to America. After selling more than 8.5 million CDs, the Boys begin work on a new album for release in the U.S. The album would combine the best material from their debut CD along with some of their newer songs.
June 1997: "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" is released in the U.S. and quickly climbs to number 2 on the charts.
August 1997: The Boys release their first U.S. album Backstreet Boys. The album would go on to sell nearly nine million copies in the U.S.A. and become the number 3 album of the year.
Everybody (Backstreets Back) is released to the rest of the world and quickly begins a steady climb up the charts everywhere.
December 1997: The Boys embark on their 60-city, 20-country tour that will last nearly a year.
March 1998: The Boys headline a tornado relief concert in Orlando, raising $250,000 for local victims of the nation's deadliest tornado disaster in 13 years.
May 1998: Brian undergoes surgery to correct a congenital heart disorder. Within weeks, he is back on tour with the Boys.
July 1998: News of a legal battle between the Boys, their management and Lou Pearlman surfaces in the media. The Boys wanted more control over the group's corporate entity and a more equitable stake in it. German TV reports that a breakup is inevitable.
August 1998: British tabloids pick up the story and soon it's front-page news all over Europe. "They've had their 15 minutes of fame, earned their bundle, and now want to move on to solo careers in singing, songwriting and general famous-too-young-for-their own-good celebrityhood." TV and radio stations receive tens of thousands of calls from panicked fans asking whether or not the rumor is true. Jive issues a statement from the Boys declaring the rumor to be 100% false, but they persist.
Songwriter/producer Denniz PoP dies August 30. PoP helped to evolve the Boy's sound and was responsible for many other artists, including the Ace of Base, 5ive and Robyn.
September 1998: Tragedgy strikes the Dorough family. Howie's sister Caroline Cochran loses her battle with a disease called Lupus. She was only 37.
October 1998: The Boys receive the keys to the city from the mayor of Orlando in honor of the tornado relief concert the group headlined in March.
The Boys settle their lawsuit with Lou Pearlman. Details of the settlement are not disclosed. They also break with longtime managers Donna and Johny Wright, insisting that the split is amicable. A European tour, scheduled to start in December, is postponed until the following May, giving the Boys time to work out their new corporate identity and spend more time recording their next album.
November 1998: The Boys team up with VH1 and Tony Bennett to help further the goals of "VH1 Save the Music," a national campaign designed to restore music education to America's public schools.
Nick's mom Jane releases "The Heart and Soul of Nick Carter," a tell-all book about the teen idol.
December 1998: The Backstreet Boys' self-titled U.S. debut album joins Celine Dion's Lets Talk About Love as 1998's biggest-selling album, with over eight million copies sold.
A stagehand filed a $3 million lawsuit against the group, contending he was injuredby a 50-pound cannon that fell on his head.
January 1999: The Boys sign on with management company The Firm, whose stable of artists include Korn, Limp Bizkit and Ice Cube among others.
The Boys get their first Grammy nod with a nomination for Best New Artist of 1998.
February 1999: The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) certifies the self-titled U.S. debut album as "Diamond" (over ten million copies sold),
The Boys announce the release date for their third (second in the U.S.) album, Millenium.
March 1999: Brian returns home to direct 45 local choral students who will sing background vocals for a song on the next album.
April 1999: "I Want It That Way" is released to radio and is immediately picked up by 165 stations. The Boys encourage teens to build strong bones with a Milk Mustache ad.
May 1999: The Boys release Millenium, which sets the record for first week sales in the U.S. at 1.1 million copies.
June 1999: The Boys travel to Belgium to begin a mega-tour. One month after its release, Millenium - quite amazingly - still has a solid hold on the #1 spot on the Billboard album charts.
August 14, 1999: The Boys sell out their 39-city fall tour in less than a day.
September 1999: "Larger Than Life" is released to radio. 'N Sync joins Jive Records to become BSB labelmates.
October 1999: The Backstreet Boys declare their Jive contract null and void.
November 1999: Kevin is named People magazine's Sexiest Pop Star.
In one of the largest record deals ever, the Boys strike a new partnership agreement with Jive Records valued at about $60 million.
The Boys win the Best Group title at the MTV Europe Awards.
December 1999: AJ introduces his alter ego Johnny No-Name and prepares for a January concert in support of VH1's Save the Music campaign.
The Boys dominate the 1999 Billboard Music Awards, winning in four categories (Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Albums Artist of the Year, Albums Artist Duo/Group of the Year).
The Boys announce a spring tour for 2000 and ask the online auction site eBay to remove over 700 ticket auctions. In one completed auction, four tickets to the Indianapolis Conseco Fieldhouse show were sold for $4,550.
The Boys sue Pearlman again, accusing him of repeatedly violating the California Talent Agencies Act by functioning as both the group's manager and its unlicensed talent agent.
January 2000: The Boys appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine - without their pants - answering the age-old question, "Boxers or briefs?"
The Boys and their producers are nominated for five Grammy Awards including Record, Album, Pop Album, Song and Pop Song of the year.
Burger King announces an exclusive promotion with BSB and title sponsorship of the group's fall 2000 tour.
February 2000: The Boys team up with Stan Lee to create a new comic book and Web-based series called The Backstreet Project.
Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell confirm engagements to their fiancees.
Although they come up empty-handed at the Grammy Awards, they impress the world with a fabulous performance with Elton John.
March 2000: A private school in Texas suspends four students for attending a Backstreet Boys concert. The suspensions were issued because the students broke a school rule barring "`involvement with inappropriate music". Campus police officers in a Toronto University play Backstreet Boys and ACDC on large speakers late into the night to try and break the morale of students occupying the president's office to protest the use of child laboutr in sweatshops around the world.
April 2000: The Boys spend 10 days in the Bahamas writing songs for the next album.
May 2000: Nick auctions his couch off for a local charity. The Kentucky cousins rub elbows with the elite at various Kentucky Derby events.
June 2000: Kevin marries longtime girlfriend Kristin Willits. Howie D. raises over $100,000 at his Lupus 2000 charity benefit.
July 2000: Two tiny blond Chihuahuas belonging to Brian and fiancée, Leighanne Wallace, are snatched from the couple's home near Atlanta by two trespassing teenage girls. The dogs are returned a couple of days later nervous and hungry, but otherwise fine.
August 2000: The first in a series of collectible CDs and BSB figurines appear in Burger King outlets across North America.
September 2000: Brian marries Leighanne in a candlelit ceremony in midtown Atlanta. The Boys announce that the name of the new album will be "Black & Blue".
October 2000: Pre-orders for the new album top 5 million units leading to speculation about first week's sales records.
November 2000: The Boys release "Black & Blue". To promote it, they travel around the world visiting all of the continents except for Antartica in 100 hours. It sells over 1.6 million copies in the USA in it's first week and debuts at the top of the Billboard charts. Around the world, the album sells over 5 million copies in its first week. Some consider the sales figues to be dissapointing because they were not able to break N'Syncs record of 2.4 million copies sold in the first week.
December 2000: B&B is certified 8 x platinum by the RIAA.
January 2001: The Boys announce a world tour that could break the record held by the Rolling Stones as the world's #1 live band. The boys pick up a grammy nomination for Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely.
February 2001: The Boys continue their tour of America and Canada.
July 2001: AJ enters rehab to battle his drinking and depression. The tour is postponed until September.
September 2001: The terrorist attacks on the USA caused the Boys to cancel their plans to tour overseas in Europe and Australia due to security concerns. Daniel Lee, a carpenter on the tour, had been using time off in the tour schedule to travel from Boston to Los Angeles to be with his pregnant wife. He was a passenger on one of the doomed airlines that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.
October 2001: The Boys release Chapter 1, a compilation CD of their greatest hits. Many see it as a sign that the Boys will soon break up and go their separate ways. The album debuts atop the Billboard charts. The Boys also perform at the United We Stand concert in Washington DC as well as the Concert For New York City, two benefit concerts for the victims of September 11.
December 2001: Late in the month, AJ calls into KISS FM (Los Angeles) and announces his engagement to Sarah Martin, his girlfriend of about a year.
January 2002: The Boys receive a Grammy nomination for their performance of Shape Of My Heart from the Black & Blue album. The award was in the Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal category. Nick makes headlines after being arrested and charged with resisting a law enforcement officer early January 2 after he refused to leave a Tampa nightclub when police instructed him to do so.
February 2002:The Boys plan for studio work for the next, as yet untitled album. Nick agrees to enter a pretrial intervention program that allows him to avoid jail and any criminal record for getting into a spat with a Tampa police officer at a nightclub in January. Rumours about a breakup are rampant.
March 2002:The Boys part ways with their managment firm but Nick, intent on releasing a solo CD sometime this year strikes up a solo management deal withThe Firm. Meanwhile BSB settle on Irving Azoff and Howard Kaufman as their new managers. For some strange reason, MTV covers news of AJ's engagement close to 3 months after he first announced it. Ex-keyboardist Tom Smith sues the Boys and Zomba for writing credit on two tracks from Black & Blue. Nick, while in Sweden working on his solo album with the likes of Max Martin narrowly avoids another run-in with the law after he gets into fisticuffs with one of his bodyguards at a nightclub.
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