NSYNC

  • Boy pop band formed in 1995 from Orlando Florida. The members of the group were Justin Timberlake, JC Chavez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass.
  • Record producer Lou Perlman had already had success developing the Backstreet Boys, and he was looking to finance another boy band. He met Kirkpatrick in 1994 through a mutual acquaintance – Kirkpatrick was working at Universal Studios in Orlando and was singing in a doo-wop group. Perlman was impressed with Kirkpatrick’s talented vocals, and Perlman immediately asked Kirkpatrick if he would be interested in forming a boy band, which Perlman would finance. Kirkpatrick agreed, and was charged with finding additional talent. Over the next year, Kirkpatrick auditioned numerous singers, ultimately choosing Timberlake and Chasez, both of whom were performing on The Mickey Mouse Club revival show. Some time later, he brought Fatone into the group – Fatone was a co-worker at Universal Studios. Finally, needing a bass vocalist, Jason Galasso was chosen. They named themselves NSYNC because their singing was so “in sync” and because the last letter of their first names spelled out the letters NSYNC.
  • The group rehearsed and was prepared to sign with Perlman, but Galasso dropped out at the last minute. After auditioning other bass vocalists, they selected Lance Bass, who had been recommended by Timberlake’s vocal coach. They nicknamed Bass “Lansten” so that they could retain the needed “N” in their group name. They signed with Perlman in September 1995, and they moved into a house together, rehearsing for hours everyday. They ranged in age from Kirkpatrick at 23 years old to Timberlake at 14 years old.
  • Their first public performance was at Disney World in October 1995. A four song demo tape was sent to record companies, and NSYNC was signed to a Germany record company. They went to Sweden to record their debut album, the self-titled NSYNC. The lead single I Want You Back was released in Germany in October 1996, and the album was released in Germany in May 1997. They quickly became successful throughout Europe, and by early 1998, they were signed to an American record label. I Want You Back was released as a single in the U.S., and their debut American album, ‘N Sync, was released in March 1998. While the singles I Want You Back, Tearin’ Up My Heart and (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You did not chart particularly high (#13, #59 and #8 respectively on the Hot 100 chart), the group’s popularity ultimately skyrocketed, and the album eventually sold over 10 million copies in the U.S.
  • In November 1998, they released a Christmas album, titled Home For Christmas. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard album chart and it was certified double platinum. They recorded several songs for movie soundtracks in 1998 and 1999, including Music of My Heart with Gloria Estefan, which peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. Release of their next studio album was delayed when they sued Perlman for defrauding them of profits. Perlman countersued, and their differences were settled out of court in 1999. (Perlman ultimately would go to jail for running a Ponzi scheme for more than 20 years – he died in prison in 2016).
  • Now with a new record label, NYSYNC’s No Strings Attached album was released in 2000. The album was certified 11x platinum, and it became Billboard’s #1 album for the entire 00s decade. It contained three of their biggest hits – Bye Bye Bye peaked at #4 on the Hot 100, This I Promise You reached #5 and It’s Gonna Be Me topped the chart. Now a high profile act, they headlined performances in stadiums, performing at the Super Bowl in 2001 and at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • In 2001, they released the Celebrity album. It continued their success, certified 5x platinum, with the singles Pop, Gone and Girlfriend all charting in the top 20 of the Hot 100 and top 10 of the Mainstream Top 40 Airplay chart. After a tour to support the album, Timberlake suggested that they go on hiatus, as he wanted to record a solo album. The group never recorded or toured again. Timberlake’s solo career took off, and the other members moved on to other projects. They did one-off performances at the Grammy Awards in 2003, the Star Spangled Banner in 2004 and in 2013 at the MTV Video Music Awards.
  • The beginning and end of NSYNC is an interesting story. You may not be fond of boy bands, but NSYNC did have the vocal talent, and they were worthy showmen. And I think that Timberlake is supremely talented (see my July 2, 2017 post on his career). Here’s the video for Bye Bye Bye – you can see a very young Timberlake become the star of the group.

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