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It only took a third of a lifetime to complete, but this New Kids On The Block fan finally has all of the signatures needed for a fully signed “Hangin’ Tough” album.
The journey I didn’t know I was starting began with the “nice price” purchase of a compact disc at a Flint Best Buy around the turn of the decade when artists like Milli Vanilli and Michael Bolton were dominating the charts.
The New Kids On The Block had quickly become the heartthrobs of many female tweens and teens around the planet after the 1988 release of the “Hangin’ Tough” album. Little did this Flint high schooler know I would make it a mission to one day get that CD signed by Jordan, Joey, Donnie, Danny and Jonathan. A seemingly impossible task as the boys were perhaps even bigger than Michael Jackson at one point.Fast-forward to the 2000s. NKOTB were a thing of the past. Some had moved on to solo projects and I had zero signatures, until one day the baby of the band, Joey McIntyre, came to the Detroit area performing some of his solo stuff.
Now a TV producer in the Detroit area, Joey Mac ended up being booked on the morning TV news show where I worked and signature number one was obtained about 15 years after the CD’s purchase. Even after extensive playing, the CD was actually still in pretty immaculate condition.
That signature made this journey seem doable, especially since NKOTB were no longer giant stars. But, alas, the group reunited a few years later and their loyal fans came back with them. Their popularity soared and the quest once again seemed out of reach. That was until Jordan Knight fueled the flame once when he appeared on my morning show when the New Kids came to town for a concert. Bam! Signature two. Knight told me at the time, “The guys are great. You’ll get the other signatures someday.” I was not so sure, but wasn’t about to give up now.That someday was on June 18, 2019 as the band’s “Mixtape” tour came to Little Caesars Arena 31 years after the album’s release. Now a reporter with MLive, I told the group’s publicist my story and she helped the CD signature quest come to fruition.
I came to the meet and greet with about 100 of the most die-hard NKOTB fans I had ever seen. Most of them had old-school or homemade shirts showing off which New Kid they loved the most. Some were shaking from the nerves of meeting their beloved band member for the first time. Some had done this many times.
Backstage, as a small group of us awaited the guys, Jonathan Knight walked by us and saw my CD. He smiled and said, “Hey! 30 years. Alright,” as he tapped me on the shoulder and then said hi to everyone.
The moment finally came and I quickly told the guys about the CD. I just needed Donnie, Danny and Jonathan’s signature and a photo with the five of them. Donnie heard what I had to say, looked at the CD and jokingly said, “I’m not signing this. I’m going to go sign this woman’s New Kids comic book,” as he walked away cool as can be.
Well, Donnie wasn’t about to leave me hanging tough for another 30 years. After I gave him a Sharpie that didn’t work instead of giving him the one Danny and Jonathan used that did work, he signed his John Hancock with the good Sharpie to complete the 30 year quest of getting the “Hangin’ Tough” album signed by one of the biggest boy bands in music history.
What to do with the CD now? Here is a link to buy it on eBay. Just kidding. It’s going to be framed and put on a wall somewhere for a reminder of three-decade completed journey I never knew I would be on in the first place.
Fortunately, for this quest, I chose the CD of a band that goes out of its way to get close to its fans via meet and greets and New Kids cruises. Donnie even likes to stop at his family’s Wahlburgers restaurants and take selfies with as many fans as possible, like he did the day of this show in Detroit. It’s those little things that keep the loyal fans coming back. Those fans have also introduced NKOTB music to their kids and now grandkids. New Kids should have no problem packing houses for another 30 years if they so choose.