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Where Are These 12 Boy Bands Now?

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Groups like One Direction, The Wanted, and Big Time Rush are keeping the legacy of boy bands alive, but lest we forget the previous generation of singing boys who captured our hearts, here's a look at what the boy bands of yesteryear are up to these days. (In keeping with this spirit, this piece was written while listening exclusively to the Backstreet Boys.)

1. New Edition (1978)

Harbingers of the boy bands to come, New Edition has stayed largely silent in the past few years. After the 2004 release of One Love, the group has performed sporadically at awards shows and music festivals. They are scheduled to release a comeback album, though no official date has been announced.


2. New Kids On the Block (1984)

Making the dreams of countless teenaged girls come true, in 2011 New Kids On the Block joined forces with the Backstreet Boys to tour as a super boy band, NKOTBSB. They released one self-titled album that featured songs from each individual group as well as joint recordings like “Don’t Turn Out the Lights.” The supergroup consisted of all members of both groups, save for Kevin Richardson of BSB and NKOTB’s Mark Wahlberg and Jamie Kelly, who left the group in the 1980s.


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3. Boyz II Men (1988)

After losing Michael McCary in 2003 due to his severe scoliosis, Boyz II Men continued as a threesome, releasing several albums including the cover albums Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA and Love. The group celebrated their 20th anniversary last year in style, cruising from Miami to the Bahamas and releasing Twenty, a two-CD album with a mix of original and rerecorded Boyz II Men songs.


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4. Take That (1990)

Following Robbie Williams’ return to Take That in 2010, the group’s Progress album broke records, becoming the fastest-selling album of the past century with 235,000 records selling on release day alone. They recorded the official single of the film X-Men: First Class in 2011, all while members pursued individual careers simultaneously. Gary Barlow spent two years judging on The X Factor, while Robbie Williams continued recording solo material. In 2012, Take That performed at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, though Williams was not present as he was attending the birth of his daughter. Word on the street is that the band is working on a new record for 2013.


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5. Hanson (1992)


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Fifteen years after the release of “MMMBop,” the Hanson brothers are still making music and touring, most notably with Carly Rae Jepsen in 2012. They were also featured in the music video for Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” keeping an impressive schedule for brothers who, between them, now have nine children of their own.


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6. soulDecision (1993)


Notable for receiving top 40 airplay before signing a record deal, soulDecision have all but disappeared into obscurity with other groups featured on Now That’s What I Call Music! 5. Their song on the compilation, “Faded,” was also the charting single of their album No One Does It Better. After opening for Christina Aguilera and *NSYNC, they released a second album, after which David Bowman, and then Trevor Guthrie, left the group. They have remained inactive since.

7. Backstreet Boys (1993)


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Though they allegedly prefer the term “vocal harmony group” to boy band, the Backstreet Boys remain the epitome of boy band goodness to countless girls who were in the third grade in 1998. Thankfully, they have managed to stretch their career successfully over the past two decades. BSB released Never Gone in 2005, after which Kevin Richardson left the group amicably and the four remaining members put out Unbreakable, which debuted in the top ten of the Billboard charts in 2007, as did 2009’s This Is Us. In 2012, BSB announced that Richardson rejoined the group and the five would be releasing their eighth album in 2013. “It’s Christmas Time Again,” the first song to feature all five members since 2006, was released last month.


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8. *NSYNC (1995)

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*NSYNC played their last televised performance in 2003, performing a tribute to the Bee Gees at the Grammy Awards, and they made their last public performance in 2004. In his 2007 autobiography, Lance Bass cited Justin Timberlake’s solo career as the main catalyst behind the band’s demise, though they never officially announced a breakup. Comments on the band’s potential reunion from JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone remain mixed. You can catch JT every once in a while on Saturday Night Live, in the movies, or trying to revamp MySpace.

9. 98 Degrees (1996)


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The guys who gave us “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” went on hiatus in 2002, after which, you no doubt recall, Nick Lachey married and starred in a reality TV series with Jessica Simpson. Response to rumors of a reunion between the members has been skeptical, but the band performed together twice in the past year, and reportedly they have been working on a new album—their first in 12 years.


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10. Dream Street (1999)

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The Dream Street boys broke up in 2002—and they are probably the only boy band to be disbanded by judicial decision. After a legal disagreement between their managers and their parents (which the parents lost), the boys were instructed to break up. Jesse McCartney has seen the most post-breakup success with three top ten singles and acting credits on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Summerland, and the movie Chernobyl Diaries.

11. O-Town (2000)


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Like One Direction, O-Town was formed during a reality show. Arising out of MTV’s Making the Band in 2000, the band broke up only three years later. Though several members moved on to solo careers, Ashley Parker Angel probably stayed most in the limelight with a reality TV show, a solo album, and a run as Link Larkin in the Broadway production of Hairspray. Rumors of the band reuniting sans-Angel surfaced in 2011, but thus far no album releases have been planned.

12. B2K (2001)

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After their four releases between 2002 and 2003, B2K all but disappeared. Lil’ Fizz and J-Boog launched a record label, Popular Entertainment, and J-Boog starred in You Got Served with Omarion. Omarion has continued to work on Rick Ross’ label Maybach Music Group. Raz B has reportedly written a memoir amid a stir of controversy, as it alleges molestation and homosexual acts by several prominent members of the rap community.

For 12-12-12, we’ll be posting twenty-four '12 lists' throughout the day. Check back 12 minutes after every hour for the latest installment, or see them all here.

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Your Library Has a Free Music Service That You Probably Didn't Know About
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Did you know that you can download free music from your local library? Music that you can keep. That's right: not borrow, keep.

It's all possible thanks to a service called Freegal (a portmanteau of free and legal), which gives patrons of participating libraries access to 15 million songs from 40,000 labels, notably including the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. All you need is a library card.

Here's how it works: You can download a few songs a week, and, in many areas, enjoy several hours of streaming, too (the precise number of songs and hours of streaming varies by library). Once you download MP3 files, they're yours. You're free to put them on iTunes, your iPhone, your tablet, and more. You don't have to return them and they don't expire. The counter resets on Mondays at 12:01 a.m. Central Time, so if you hit your limit, you won't have long to wait before you get more downloads. And Freegal has some great stuff: A quick scan of the front page reveals music from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cardi B, Simon & Garfunkel, Childish Gambino, The Avett Brothers, Lykke Li, and Sara Bareilles.

Freegal has been around since 2010 and is offered at libraries worldwide. In the U.S., that includes the New York Public Library, Queens Library, Los Angeles Public Library, West Chicago Public Library, Houston Public Library, and more. In the past few years, libraries have debuted some other amazing free digital services, from classic films streaming on Kanopy to audiobooks and e-books available to borrow on SimplyE and OverDrive. But the thing that's so exciting about Freegal is that you can keep the MP3 files, unlike services that limit you to borrowing.

Freegal's site is easy to navigate: You can browse playlists and make your own, check out the most popular tunes, and save songs to your wishlist for when you get more credits. In the old days, music fans would check out CDs from the library and upload them onto their computers before returning them. But Freegal eliminates the need to go to your local branch, check out an album, and bring it back when you're done.

Freegal app
Freegal

To find out if your local library has Freegal, go to freegalmusic.com and click login, then search for your area. It's important to note: Your library's contract might not have both streaming and downloading privileges. You can use Freegal on the web or as an app available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. Of course, the service doesn't have everything. And sometimes, when it does have an artist, it will only have a few of their most popular albums. But if you frequently buy music on iTunes or elsewhere, checking Freegal first may save you a bit of money.

If you don't yet have a library card, Freegal is just one more reason why you should get one ASAP.

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An Anthology Series Based on Dolly Parton's Songs Is Coming to Netflix
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Though she may be best known for her music career, Dolly Parton is a Hollywood powerhouse. In addition to starring in more than a few contemporary classics, from 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias, she's also been partly responsible for some of your favorite TV series. As part owner of Sandollar Entertainment, a film and television production company, she's been a silent figure behind shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, the queen of country music is preparing to return to the small screen once again—this time on Netflix.

The beloved singer is partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce an anthology series for Netflix, Engadget reports. Set to debut in 2019, each of the eight episodes will have a theme based on a song by Parton, who will serve as executive producer and singer-songwriter in addition to appearing in the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The list of songs hasn’t yet been released, but I Will Always Love You, Jolene, and The Bargain Store are among Parton’s greatest hits.

Parton previously worked with Warner Bros. to produce the made-for-television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (2015) and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (2016). She has also nearly finished the music for the upcoming film Dumplin'—based on a novel by Julie Murphy and starring Jennifer Aniston—and the soundtrack will be released via Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, according to Parton’s website.

[h/t Engadget]

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