BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO THE GREAT, NOT-S0-GREAT AND DOWNRIGHT ABOMINABLE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

    12) ZACHARY TAYLOR

    President from 1849 to 1850, which means...

    ...we have our second President to die in office in less than a decade!

    A war hero, due to the role he played in the Mexican-American conflict, Zachary Taylor became President more due to the will of the Whig party who saw him as a rallying figurehead, rather than his own desire to lead the country.

    He barely played a part in his own campaign, declining to meet voters or broadcast his own political views.

    He was the last slave-owning President.

    The outgoing President, James K. Polk regarded Taylor as "wholly unqualified for the station" of President.

    Died of an intestinal disease, closely related to cholera.

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

    BOYZONE/ WESTLIFE

    As Backstreet Boys begat *N Sync, so Dublin boy band balladeers Boyzone begat Westlife. Both groups are excitement-free quintets who croon passionless covers of songs by vastly superior artists. Yet both bands , in their native Ireland and the gullible UK, enjoyed decades of success. Boyzone's most recognizable member, Ronan Keating, even carved out a solo career for himself. Props, obviously, to Ireland for wresting boy band supremacy away from the UK, America and South Korea but these were two groups whose powers of boredom ran as deep and wide as the broad, majestic river Shannon.

     

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

    FIVE

    Five fun facts about British boy band Five

    They were formed by Simon Cowell

    Though they only had one US hit, 1998's When The Lights Go Out, they were responsible for a plethora of UK smashes, including Slam Dunk Da Funk, If Ya Gettin Down, Until The Time Is Through, Everybody Get up and their best song, Keep on Movin'.

    The bad boy of the band was named Abs. He succumbed to a drug addiction but later became a chicken farmer.

    Five and the surviving members of Queen collaborated on a cover of We Will Rock You, about which Abs would later comment, "Their version got to number two, while ours got to number one, so do the math..."

    When they reformed for a documentary series and arena tour of early 2000 Brit teen acts, one of the original members was disinterested in rejoining so Five returned ot the stage with only four singers.

     

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO THE GREAT, NOT-S0-GREAT AND DOWNRIGHT ABOMINABLE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

    10) JOHN TYLER

    President from 1841-45

    Took over from William Henry Harrison who died after one month in office.

    Opponents in his own party and the Democrats held him in low esteem and referred to him as "His Accidency"

    He was the first President in history to be impeached. The attempt failed.

    Tyler was so unpopular with his party, the Whigs that they expelled him from their ranks and then his cabinet all quit.

    He passed the statehood act that made Texas part of the Union.

    His last words were, "I am going. Perhaps it is best."

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

    MENUDO!

    What if a boy band could stay young forever? That was the brilliant concept behind the Puerto Rican outfit Menudo, who were orginally assembled in the late 1970s and stayed in business long after most boy bands have hung up their dancing shoes by cunningly replacing members every year or so. Their most famous component, Ricky Martin, lasted five years in the band, eventually bailing out in 1989, by which time Menudo had changed their all-singing, all-dancing, all-smiling all-the-time stance to something a tiny bit edgier. In 1996, the group changed it's name to MDO. This version endured until 2003. In 2015, MTV announced a new Making The Band-style fake-reality show about the construction of a brand new Menudo. However, the series, Making Menudo was short-lived and the band vanished without trace.

    Menudo consumed and jettisoned so many singers that there are now entire football leagues worth of breakaway bands formed by former Menudo members making records and playing the nostalgia circuit.

    The music industry is all about copying whatever is successful but no one ever made a serious attempt to xerox the Menudo formula. Maybe they knew that kind of lightning only strikes once.

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO THE GREAT, NOT-S0-GREAT AND DOWNRIGHT ABOMINABLE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

    9) WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON

     

    President from March 4 1841 to April 4, 1841, which means...

    ...he died in office after serving one month!

    In the 1840 election, the Democrats mocked Harrison labelling him the `Petticoat General" because he resigned from the army before the war of 1812 was over. They also tried to make spelling his surname backwards--so it read NO SIRRAH--a thing.

    He delivered the longest inaugural address in history, running over two hours.

    He was the first sitting President to have his photograph taken.

    On March 26, 1841, Harrison caught a cold. He died nine days later of what doctors diagnosed as pneumonia of the lower lobe of the right lung.

    He was the first President to die in office.

    His last words, spoken to his doctor, but addressed to his VP, John Tyler, were, "Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more."

    Due to his death, three presidents--Martin Van Buren, Harrison and John Tyler--held the position within a single year. Even more amazing, this would occur  again within 40 years of Harrison's death.

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

    NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

    After New Edition slipped out of producer Maurice Starr's hands, he returned with a group that built the blueprint of the modern-day boy band.

    Boston's New Kids On The Block had something for everyfan. Donnie Wahlberg was the Bad Boy who set a hotel carpet on fire. Joey McEntire was the cute one with the high voice. Jordan Knight was the hearththrob. His brother Jonathan was the sensitive type, and Danny Wood was the other guy.

    Between their formation in 1984 and their first demise ten years later, they sold 80 million records. Despite the handicap of being a boy band in an era without a Swedish hit machine assembling their repertoire, NKOTB put out a handful of fondly-regarded singles and have shrewdly managed to exploit fan nostalgia in a series of  successful arena tours. They're doing another one this year with Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul.

     

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO THE GREAT, NOT-S0-GREAT AND DOWNRIGHT ABOMINABLE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

    8) MARTIN VAN BUREN

    President from 1837-41

    A widower, he had no First Lady. The position was filled by his daughter, Angelica.

    Claimed to find slavery immoral but fought steadfastly against abolition.

    Fought against bringing Texas into the Union.

    Was nicknamed Old Kinderhook which, some claim, to be the origin of the acronym OK.

    Imposed sanctions on the nation's banks resulting in thousands of nervous customers withdrawing their money and causing mass unemployment among the banking community. This outbreak of financial ruin was known as the Panic of 1837. Van Buren was bitterly dubbed Van Ruin.

    Inspired the Seinfeld episode where Kramer meets a gang called the Van Buren Boys and accidentally flashes their gang sign-eight fingers aloft--thus saving himself from a VB beatdown.

     

  • BRIDGET'S GUIDE TO BOY BANDS

    98 DEGREES

    You may think of them as saps and perennial second-tier,also-rans bringing up the rear in the boy band pantheon, but to author, journalist, broadcaster and overall friend of the blog, Lori Majewski, 98 Degrees were gods made flesh. Let her explain...

    Backstreet versus ‘NSYNC. Justin Timberlake or Nick Carter? Which is better: No Strings Attached  or Millennium? As the 20th Century turned into the 21st, boy band fans partook in these battles. While neither of Lou Pearlman’s chart-topping fab fives edged out the other in my eyes (while Backstreet had the better songs, ‘NSYNC bested them as overall entertainers), it was another vocal combo altogether that had my heart from the very start: 98 Degrees. 

    They’d yet to sign their first record deal when I first met them at the All-Star Cafe in Times Square. “You look like you should be a singing group,” I told the four of them, who were similarly outfitted in sports jerseys (though none of them matched).   

    The very next day, the quartet — Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre, Nick Lachey and Drew Lachey (the “Baby Spice,” he wore a backwards baseball cap) — crashed my office at teen-magazine YM. On bended knees, they presented me a dozen red roses and serenaded me with a few acapella songs. They explained that they were going to be the next Boyz to Men, not the next New Kids on the Block. Indeed, although Drew’s future-wife had been a Rockette, and he’d go on to win Dancing With the Stars, they were pretty useless when it came to choreography. But, boy, could they harmonize! Not long after, I asked them to be the featured attraction at the launch party for my new venture: Teen People. The opening act? A group no one had ever heard of…yet: ‘NSYNC! 

    Soon after, 98 Degrees became the first white group to sign with Motown, and their first single, “The Invisible Man,” remains one of my favorite songs from the pop 90s. They went on to sell more 10 million records, but they never forgot one of their earliest champions — they even allowed this Star Wars fanatic to tag along when they got invited to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch!  

    Last summer I got to see 98 Degrees in concert on their sold out My2K tour. It’s been more than two decades since I first heard them sing, and they were as unjaded as ever. They aren’t even bitter that about not being included in the Backstreet-versus-‘NSYNC face-off. In fact, 98 Degrees delighted the 6,000-plus crowd — the biggest bachelorette party I’d ever been to — with their own take on those groups’ biggest hits, “Bye Bye Bye” and “I Want It That Way.” But my favorite moment of the night? When they covered the Purple One’s turn-of-the-millennial jam, giving it a totally different meaning. Oh, how I loved partying like it was 1999 again with 98!