Rebecca Wallwork – Hangin’ Tough


I first heard of NKOTB in 1989, when I was 11 years old. The group had released The Right Stuff and loads of the girls in my class were always playing their music and decorating their books and desks with pictures of the band. I then became a bit more conscious of them when the Saturday morning cartoon aired a year later. However other than The Right Stuff and Hangin’ Tough, I never paid much attention to the group. When I hit my teens,Take That, East 17 and Boyzone were more of a presence and then came The Spice Girls, the nadir of the pop phenomenon but that’s another story.

To be honest I’ve never heard one of their albums so before reading this book, I went to YouTube and listened to Hangin’ Tough and other than the two singles i mentioned and Cover Girl, the record bored me with its drippy ballads.

Since I don’t really like pop music, I look forward to the pop orientated 33 1/3 volumes because they make fun reading and the NKOTB one is no exception.

Wallwork’s focus is more on the group’s backgrounds, their influences, their ascent to fame and whether they are ‘for real’ Also on the way she interviews fans , a brief chat with their manager and a chat with Joey. Despite the fact that the group had songwriters, they weren’t robots and actually did have different tastes in music, which visualised itself when the group split and started to release solo albums. Plus they practically killed themselves working in order to achieve some recognition, which is a bit different now with boybands .

What also comes out of this book is that NKOTB set the blueprint for loads of famous boybands and the people who worked with them found success in managing other groups in the pop sphere which goes to show how the band did influence pop music.

Whether you like manufactured pop or not is irrelevant, this is an entertaining read.

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