They first found success overseas in 1995. It wasn’t until 1997 when their US debut album hit the shelves. The release peaked at number 4 and has since sold 14 million copies worldwide. In 1999, Millennium was released debuting at number one on the Billboard chart with 1,134,000 copies sold in the week of release and became the best-selling album of the year with over nine million albums sold. Black & Blue was released in 2000 and sold 1.6 million copies in its first week. After years of struggling and then hitting it big in the world of pop music the Backstreet Boys decided it was time for them to leave their management team in 2002. Things got hairy when Nick Carter decided to stay and work on solo projects. In a lawsuit against filed against Zomba Music Group the Backstreet Boys claimed their label promoted Carter’s solo efforts at the expense of the group. The boys would not appear together for almost two years after that.
How did their solo turns go?
Nick Carter – His first solo album, Now or Never reached number 17 on the Billboard chart and was certified gold in both the US and Canada in 2002. It wasn’t until 2011 that Carter would release another solo effort, titled I’m Taking Off. This album failed to have a major impact on the charts but Carter would return with another effort only this time in an odd twist, he released a joint album titled Nick & Knight with fellow boybander and New Kids on the Block member, Jordan Knight. Their album debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 and in 2015 Carter was back again with All American which was released in 2015 but failed to chart on the Billboard 200.
Brian Littrell – His Christian album Welcome Home, peaked at 74 on the Billboard 200 chart but landed at number three on the Christian Albums chart and his song “Welcome Home (You)” peaked at number one on the Christian Songs chart. Since this release in 2006, Littrell hasn’t released any other solo albums or songs.
AJ McLean – McLean broke free from BSB during the height of their popularity in 2000. He tried to establish an alter ego, “Johnny No Name” to use when not performing with the group. Though no album was ever released Johnny No Name performed as part of the Save the Music campaign for VH1 in 2000. AJ McLean wouldn’t release a solo album until 2010, Have It All failed to chart in the US. Just as recently as 2016, McLean teased new music however no new album has been released.
Howie Dorough – He started the project back in 2002 but kept shelving it to focus on new BSB music. Finally in 2011, Dorough released Back to Me the album was initially released in Japan and then released in the US failing to chart on the Billboard 200.
While it was Kevin who officially left the group to peruse other things, he has yet to release a solo album. Back in 2012 he teased the possibility of releasing an album of covers but as of now that album has not seen the light of day.
None of their solo efforts were anything to write home about, and the boys from the “backstreet” reunited on multiple occasions to release music as a group after their late 90’s/early 2000’s success. In 2005, Never Gone debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 featuring the song “Incomplete” which peaked at number 13.
In 2007 4 out of the 5 members of BSB released Unbreakable which received generally mixed reviews and under-performed on the charts, debuting at number seven and selling less than 500,000 copies in the US as of today. The Backstreet Boys returned again without Kevin for a second album titled This is Us which also under-performed their previous efforts landing at number nine on the Billboard 200.
A full-fledged reunion was had again in 2013 when Kevin rejoined the group to release In a World Like This. With the five guys back this album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. They subsequently toured from 2013 – 2015 and have been flirting with the idea of a residency in Las Vegas. Currently they are testing shows at Planet Hollywood’s Axis Theater.
Verdict? Better together.
Check back next week when he take a look at NKOTB (New Kids on the Block).
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Written by Kristen
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