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The New Kids, live on NBC — in 2008.
This morning, the New Kids on the Block kicked off their reunion tour on the Today show here in New York. It's the 20th anniversary of "Hangin' Tough," and when I first heard this fact at a BPP editorial meeting about a month ago, I couldn't believe it. I said "I'm 29 now, so I would have had to have been 9 years old when 'Hangin' Tough' came out, and that can't be right." I have no memory of the New Kids on the Block before junior high.
Soon after that meeting, I was picking out some NKOTB music to play for the show, and I put on "Please Don't Go Girl." I heard the first few terrible notes, and it all came back to me. Not only did I have memories of NKOTB before junior high, but I had been in a New Kids on the Block cover band in the fifth grade. I had blacked it all out, for obvious reasons.
I had transferred to a new school in fourth grade, and the cool kids were Jean, John, Jennifer, and Kevin. They had a singing group, where they'd sing along to songs by Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and the New Kids, performing at talent shows and the like. I hated that music when I got there, but I wanted to be friends with them. Somehow I ended up in the band.
As embarrassing as it is to look back at my fifth-grade self, singing New Kids songs in front of my entire elementary school, I've got to make "Please Don't Go Girl" the Best Song in the World Today. Because when I look back at this memory, it's clear the New Kids played an unlikely role in helping me to stop being the new kid.