Looking back to the year 1992, it all began in Orlando, Florida. A high school student named Howard Dwaine Dorough (born August 1973) kept bumping into the same two boys when he joined some local auditions. To his surprise, young Howie found out that he shared the same interest in classic soul with those boys, whose names are Alexander James McLean (born January 9,1978) and Nicholas Gene Carter (born January 28, 1980). These three enthusiastic boys also felt that they could make a perfect harmony together, so it did not require a long time for them to become good friends. Having been inspired by Boyz II Men and Color Me Badd, they decided to form a vocal group while looking for two more members. Under the keen eye of their manager and producer, Louis J. Pearlman, they eventually took Kevin Scott Richardson (born October 3, 1972) along with his cousin, Brian Thomas Littrell (born February 20, 1975) as the last two members of the group. Deriving the name of an Orlando popular flea market, they finally came up as Backstreet Boys (BSB).
Relying on their solid harmonies as well as perfect blending of pop and R&B music, BSB tried to find a suitable record deal by performing some cover tunes of their favorite songs. "We'd go to local labels and sing a cappella in their foyers," Howie recalled. "We'd sing anywhere, for anybody." Wanting to support the development of the group, Pearlman hired Johnny Wright and his wife, Donna, who formerly had been the managers of New Kids On The Block to supervise the group. Under the couple's company, Wright Stuff Management, the group began performing at theme parks and high schools even becoming the opening act for several artists, such as REO Speedwagon, Brandy, Village People, and Kenny G.. With the help from Donna Wright, they finally succeeded in signing a deal with David McPherson of Jive Records in 1994. Without further ado, the group started to record their debut single entitled 'We've Got It Goin' On'. The single surprisingly was a hit in Germany before then spread to the other European countries, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Southeast Asia the following year. Ironically, it only made a little sound in U.S. since the single failed to reach the top 40 of Billboard Chart.
Focusing on the foreign market, BSB launched their self-titled album in Canada and Europe by the year 1996. Through this first album, they gained great success and popularity as the album sold for 8 million copies, earning Gold and Platinum in 38 different countries. Following this attainment, the group spent 18 months overseas to hold a concert tour before preparing to infiltrate the U.S. market. They started in 1997 with the release of the single 'Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),' which to their delight, instantly soared to the second rank of Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Their U.S. version of self-titled album came up on August 12, 1997 and was also released in Europe with the title of 'Backstreet's Back'. The result was marvelous for this U.S. debut album scored a terrific sale of 9 million records during the year, while leaping to the 4th rank at Billboard 200 Albums Chart. This sweet achievement established BSB as one of the best selling boy bands as well as a new teen-idol in the United States at that time.
Unfortunately, the year of 1998 turned out to be a difficult time for BSB as they encountered many problems that threatened the existence of the band. Howie was in trouble due to the death of his sister on Lupus, while Brian suffered from a congenital heart disorder so that he had to undergo a surgery. Furthermore, the group faced confrontation with their management team concerning the royalties. Despite these dreary conditions, the group kept going forward to work on their next album with Pearlman remained being their manager. The group's persistence proved worthy when their sophomore album entitled 'Millennium' came up on May 18, 1999. This particular album created a phenomenon by having 1,134,000 copies sold during its first week, breaking the SoundScan record. It was therefore certified thirteen times Platinum in U.S. while receiving Gold and Platinum in 45 other countries. Dominating the top spot of worldwide music charts, the album reigned the chart of Billboard Top 200 Album for more than two months. With some memorable hits, such as 'I Want It That Way' and 'Larger Than Life', 'Millennium' had sold over 10 million records in the U.S. alone by the end of the year.
Due to their success, critical acclaim along with various music nominations and awards were presented throughout 1999, among others: World Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Grammy Awards nominations. All of these apparently did not stop the group to produce more hysteria and sensation for they came up with 'Black & Blue' on November 21, 2000. The album brilliantly surpassed its predecessor, making a selling record of 6.6 million copies worldwide, including in U.S. in merely one week after its release. Therefore, the group became the first artist in the world to have this kind of achievement. However, things began to run ruggedly by the following year when A.J McLean had to enter rehabilitation center to overcome his depression as well as drug and drinking addiction. Due to this matter, the group was forced to cancel their tour although they managed to launch another album. Containing their greatest hits and a new single entitled 'Drowning', 'The Hits-Chapter One' came up on October 31.
The year of 2002 was marked with various side projects of each member. Nick produced his solo album entitled 'Now or Never,' while Howie was deeply involved in carrying out some charities for his Dorough Lupus Foundation. Brian was busy with family affairs when he became a father, and Kevin took role in the musical drama of 'Chicago' on Broadway. In the following year, BSB officially issued a statement, which explained that the group would be put on hold. Two years after the announcement, people were surprised by the detention of Nick Carter as he was found out to be drunk while driving car. Meanwhile, the group returned to the music industry with a single entitled 'Incomplete' in April 2005. By June, it has secured the top position in AOL's Most Played Song while gaining 14th rank at Billboard Hot 100. This comeback success was followed by the release of their anticipated album, 'Never Gone', on June 14, 2005.
"It's more organic, with more live instruments, and a nice departure for us," A.J commented. "If we kept on doing what we used to do-with the way music sounds today-people wouldn't care anymore. We had to step ahead of ourselves." It seems that this group does not lose their charms since 'Never Gone' went into top five album charts in U.S. and around the world. Consisting of 12 new tracks, the album sale was also quite impressive with more than 290,000 copies sold by June 2005. The group planned to hold their summer tour sponsored by AOL, which begins July 22 in West Palm Beach, even tough Nick was reportedly being sentenced to enter rehabilitation center. Concerning this, Kevin eagerly stated: "We're excited and we hope our fans are, too. We're looking forward to a happy, prosperous 2005." Ironically, Kevin left the band after 13 years together because he wanted to pursue personal interest. The remaining members said that they had no intention to replace Kevin and would be more than pleased to have him back one day. Meanwhile, the show must go on and the now quartet won't take anymore hiatus to work on a new album. Employing a new sound that tilt to guitar driven pop/rock, the group released 'Unbreakable' on October 30, 2007 with first single 'Inconsolable' taking first impact on August 27 that year. The album peaked at #7 on Billboard Hot 200 and went on selling more than 100,000 copies in U.S., a relatively slow reception compared to their previous albums'.