They rose to fame with their debut album, Backstreet Boys(1996). The following album, Backstreet's Back (1997) continued the group's success worldwide. They rose to superstardom with their album Millennium (1999) and its follow-up album, Black & Blue (2000). After a three-year hiatus, the band regrouped and have since released three albums: Never Gone (2005), Unbreakable (2007) and This Is Us (2009).
The band has sold over 130 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time. According to Billboard, they are the first group since Sade to have their first seven albums reach the top 10 on the chart.
Formation and early years (1992–1995)
Afterward Pearlman called on Bob Curiano to write and produce for the Backstreet Boys. Pearlman booked them at grade-school assemblies and shopping malls, and assigned management duties to Johnny Wright and Donna Wright, the former of whom had previously worked with New Kids on the Block. The Wrights organized performances for the group and invited several A&R representatives to the shows, which resulted in having a contract with Jive Records in March 1994. Jive introduced the Backstreet Boys with such producers as Veit Renn and Tim Allen who helped them with their first album. The album was released throughout Europe and enjoyed rather big success spending many consecutive weeks on the Top-10 charts in most countries. In the first several months of recording for Jive Records, they worked mainly at studios located in Florida.
The first single that was chosen to be released was "We've Got It Goin' On" which was sent to radio in August and released as a physical single on September 5, 1995. The song was a minor success in the States peaking at only No. 69 by December, the single; however, enjoyed quite a success in Europe entering the top-5 in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and the Netherlands.
In 1998, in the course of their US sold-out 39-city tour, Brian Littrell underwent an open-heart surgery (which he had postponed twice in the past) at the insistence of his then girlfriend (and now wife) Leighanne. Littrell had been struggling with a heart murmur since he was born, almost dying at the age of 4 due to a bacterial infection. Shortly after, the Backstreet Boys canceled an appearance in Minnesota after learning that Howie Dorough's sister had died of lupus.
While in the middle of a lawsuit, they began recording the follow-up to their 1997 releases at the beginning of October 1998. All versions of Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time album released prior to May 18, 1999 featured previews of tracks from their upcoming album Millennium.
Millennium became the best-selling album of 1999 in the U.S., selling 9,445,732 albums. It also holds the record for most shipments in one year, with 11 million shipment. Millennium remained on the Billboard chart for 93 weeks, eventually selling over 12 million copies in the United States and being certified 13 times platinum. As of the end of December 2008, the album stands as the fourth best selling album in the US of the SoundScan era. By October 1999, the Backstreet Boys faced new problems declaring their current Jive contract null and void, soon striking one of the largest record deals ever valued at $60 million with Jive.
In January 2001, the Backstreet Boys kicked off the first leg of their "The Black & Blue Tour", in which they were to perform on five continents. The tour also had extremely expensive production costs. The second leg of "The Black & Blue Tour" was put on hold when it was reported that A.J. McLean had checked himself into rehab to battle alcoholism, cocaine addiction and depression after Richardson had held an intervention for him at a Boston hotel. Three sold-out shows for Air Canada Centre were postponed until September. On January 28, 2001, the Backstreet Boys performed the American national anthem, in front of an audience at the Super Bowl XXXV at the Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida.
The Hits: Chapter One, released on October 30, 2001 was a collection of the Backstreet Boys's classic hits and a previously unreleased song, "Drowning". While the album entered the top-5 in the U.S. (No.4), United Kingdom (No.5), Germany (No.4) and Canada (No.1), it managed to enter the top-10 in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and New Zealand. In the US, The Hits: Chapter One was certified platinum for selling over one million units. Similarly, the album was certified platinum by IFPI (Europe) also for selling over one million units there.
In 2002, the band expressed a strong desire to leave their management company, The Firm. Nick Carter chose to remain with The Firm to manage his solo career. It became apparent that this was reason for their lack of resistance to the Backstreet Boys moving on and this unexpected move forced the band to take a break. Jive, according to industry observers, had no choice but to bank on releasing Carter's solo album by the end of the year, ahead of the next Backstreet Boys' album, which was due in early 2003.
The relationship with Jive worsened when the Backstreet Boys filed a $75–100 million lawsuit against Zomba Music Group (Jive's parent company) claiming breach of contract. The group stated the label promoted Nick Carter's solo album Now or Never at the expense of the group who wanted to promote their fourth album. According to the suit, in November 1999, the Backstreet Boys revised their 1994 contract and committed to releasing two further albums for Zomba. In exchange for delivering them on time as part of a predetermined schedule, the group would receive multiple non-returnable payments that would serve as advances against future royalties.
The Backstreet Boys entered the studios in January 2004 to start writing the new album and mentioned they had recorded four songs for the album in February They also started performing together to promote their return to the music scene. In September they kicked-off a small Asian tour, visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Manila. Based on the success of this tour, they announced a Mexican tour, visiting Mexico City and Monterrey and performing all new material.
As a four-piece (2007–present)
The Backstreet Boys' sixth album Unbreakable, was officially launched on October 30, 2007. It was their first effort since Richardson's departure. While the album had received positive reviews, it did not perform as well as its predecessor, Never Gone. Unbreakable opened at #7 on The Billboard 200, selling 81,000 copies in its first week of release. Two weeks after its debut, the album dropped out of the top 100. However, it performed well in Japan, debuting #1 on the Japanese Oricon weekly album charts and staying there for another week.
On July 25, 2007, the first single was confirmed as "Inconsolable," a piano-driven power ballad similar to Never Gone's "Incomplete." It reached #21 on the US Adult Contemporary Charts, but managed only #86 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Helpless When She Smiles" was the next single to be released from Unbreakable. It only managed to reach #52 in the US Adult Contemporary charts and in turn failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
The group went on a 45 date World tour to promote Unbreakable in Tokyo, Japan on February 16, 2008. Dates were confirmed for the tour being titled the Unbreakable Tour in Australia, Japan, Mexico, UK, Europe, Asia, Canada and The United States. They recorded a tour DVD in London's The O2 Arena which can be seen on YouTube, but has yet to be released. Richardson rejoined the rest of the band in Los Angeles at the Palladium in Hollywood on November 23, 2008 for the last North American stop of the Unbreakable Tour.
In 2009, the group began working on a new album that was released on October 6, 2009, called This Is Us, and were confirmed to be working with Max Martin, OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder, RedOne, Ne-Yo, Brian Kennedy, Pitbull, Claude Kelly, Jim Jonsin, Eddie Galan, T-Pain, Rami Yacoub, Kristian Lundin and many others.
It was announced on the official website that Sony would be releasing a second Backstreet Boys greatest hits album on January 26, 2010. The compilation is titled Playlist: The Very Best of the Backstreet Boys and is part of a series of similar Playlist albums issued by Sony Legacy.
Main articles: Nick Carter (musician), Brian Littrell, A.J. Mclean, Kevin Richardson (musician), and Howie Dorough
* Backstreet's Back (1997)
* Millennium (1999)
* Black & Blue (2000)
* Never Gone (2005)
* Unbreakable (2007)
* This Is Us (2009)
- As Long As You Love Me
- Bye Bye Love
- I Want It That Way
- Shape of My Heart
- Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely
- This Is Us
- More Than That
- The Call
- The One
- What Makes You Different
- Anything For You
- Ill Never Break Your Heart
- Quit Playing Game With My Heart