La vera storia di Backstreet Boys – The Truth Behind the Backstreet Boys Story

Guarda il documentario sulla storia dei Backstreet Boys, che include un breve riassunto con glossario.

Nézzétek meg a dokumentumfilmet a Backstreet Boys történetéről, amelyhez egy rövid összefoglalót is készítettünk szószedettel.

In the nineties, there was a huge boy band craze. The Backstreet Boys were part of that meteoric rise to stardom – becoming a boy band famous around the globe, posters on every teenage girl’s wall, with hits such as Bye Bye, Everybody, Quit Playing Games with My Heart, and I Want It That Way. They sold over 100 million records and became the biggest boy band of all time. But there is another story behind the band because of their manager Lou Pearlman, one which has a dark twist to it and has been the subject of a documentary. 


The Backstreet Boys were made up of 5 teenagers – Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and cousins Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. They first formed in Orlando, Florida after Dorough and McLean met each other through a mutual vocal coach. They then met Carter, Richardson worked at Disneyworld and a colleague there introduced him to Carter, Dorough, and McLean and they decided to let him join the group. Littrell joined the band last.

The manager and fame

The billionaire manager that started the band in Orlando, Florida in 1993 was Lou Pearlman, who later turned out to be one of the biggest con artists in American history.  As a child, Pearlman said he had been bullied for being the fat kid and so decided he was going to become rich. His cousin was musician Art Garfunkel which gave him an interest in the music industry but initially, his interest didn’t prove fruitful, so he turned to aviation. He had become successful as an entrepreneur by hiring advertising blimps (airships) and had been chartering planes in his company Airship International. He chartered a plane to a young boy band – and couldn’t believe that the teenagers in boy band New Kids on the Block were able to afford this, he saw how successful they were at that time and thought he should start the same type of harmony boy band.

He put an ad in an Orlando newspaper to start a vocal group which resulted in the Backstreet Boys. Pearlman took the Backstreet Boys to levels of fame that were unbelievable to them. Their first album broke all major records in Europe, and they quickly became one of the most successful debut artists in the world

Pearlman later started other bands including NSYNC, without the Backstreet Boys even knowing, it upset them when they found out that he had created a rival band.  It was as if Pearlman had done this purposely, keeping NSYNC under wraps to start with.  The rivalry between the bands was legendary whether it was fake to boost sales or not, fans sided with one or the other.

Pearlman’s house was said to be like a theme park, he had lots of fancy cars and all the things that would appeal to teenage boys wanting fame. The boys were fond of him and felt he was part of their family and trusted him, Pearlman wanted to be loved, he was thought to be a pop pioneer and changed the lives of many young artists.

Despite this good relationship, he was not paying the bands what they should be earning.  The band couldn’t believe it when they found out he had been taking their money and lying. The Backstreet Boys were the first to sue him as they were amazed that they only received around 12,000 dollars each a year considering they were selling millions of albums around the world and filling stadiums. Experts said that the contract they had was one of the worst they had seen in music history. Others followed with lawsuits and successfully took him to court for mismanagement. Aaron Carter however still defends Pearlman saying that if it weren’t for him they would have had no career.

Pearlman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for running PONZI schemes, conning many people out of their retirement savings.   For more than 20 years, Pearlman had persuaded individuals and banks to invest in fictional companies. After the success of NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, Pearlman used the groups and their fame to further expand his Ponzi scheme. Victims included friends and family and elderly vulnerable people. Pearlman died in prison in 2016.

No Strings Attached

The album the Backstreet Boy made after they were free of Pearlman was entitled No Strings Attached – as they finally felt free.

Whatever happened, the truth about the Backstreet Boys is that they were five talented individuals who had an epic rise to fame with larger-than-life conman Lou Pearlman who had set the band up for his own dubious reasons, one of his get-rich schemes. It doesn’t take anything away from the fame that the band have had, and they are still performing together now despite their losses and problems in the early years.  Even recently, they have had a Las Vegas Residency and they are on a world tour in 2022.

by Melanie Cork 


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