Top 10 Songs by New Kids on the Block

Finding young talent within the Boston area and turning them into stars was nothing new for songwriter and producer Maurice Starr. In 1982, he discovered New Edition on his talent show and ended up writing and producing their 1983 debut and hits “Is This the End,” “Popcorn Love,” and “Candy Girl.” Just two years later, Starr grouped together five more adolescents, featuring brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and Joey McIntyre. New Kids On the Block (NKOTB) debuted in 1986 with their self-titled album and their sweetly sung cover of the Delfonics’ 1969 hit, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind).”

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[RELATED: New Edition and New Kids on the Block Perform Together for First Time on 2021 American Music Awards]

A mastermind of songs, Starr crafted the New Kids’ songbook from the beginning through the breakthrough second album, Hangin’ Tough, with another peak for the pop idols on Step By Step in 1990.

After parting ways with Starr in the early 1990s, the group disbanded shortly after their fourth album, Face the Music, in 1994, which featured more of their own credits as songwriters. Later reuniting in 2007, NKOTB released two more albums, including the 2008 release, The Block—featuring collaborations with Ne-Yo 9 (“Single”), Lady Gaga (“Big Girl Now”), Akon (“Put It On My Tab”) and New Edition (“Full Service’)—and 10 in 2013

Nearly 40 years after their formation, NKOTB continues to tour—including their 2019 Mixtape Tour with Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and Naughty by Nature—and have released a number of singles over the years. In 2022, the group released the throwback single “Bring Back The Time,” featuring Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley, and En Vogue, along with a video parodying some of the biggest artists and videos from the 1980s.

Here’s a look at 10 top NKOTB songs throughout the decades.

1. “Please Don’t Go Girl”

Sung by the youngest member of NKOTB, Joey McIntyre, who was only 14 when it was released, “Please Don’t Go Girl.” The first single off the group’s second album, Hangin Tough, “Please Don’t Go Girl” put them on the musical map. Though, it didn’t peak high on the charts at first, by 1988, “Please Don’t Go Girl” hit No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. “You Got It (The Right Stuff)”

Commonly referred to as “The Right Stuff,” the Hangin’ Tough single hit No. 2. Like most of the tracks on the album—with the exception of two, including “My Favorite Girl,” (see below), which was co-written by three members of NKOTB—Maurice Starr penned this NKOTB hit on his own.

Still one of the group’s signature songs, “The Right Stuff” has been covered by a number of artists and used in television and film. In 1992, “Weird Al” Yankovic even parodied it as “The White Stuff,” his comedic ode to Oreo cookies.

3. “I’ll Be Loving You Forever”

The first single to hit No. 1 for NKOTB on the Hot 100, “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” is one fantastic R&B song. Flaunting Jordan Knight’s more soulful croon and mounting falsetto, “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” was the first song to top the charts by a group of teens since The Osmonds’ “One Bad Apple” in 1970.

4. “Cover Girl”

Giving regular lead vocalists Jordan Knight and Joey McIntyre a break, Donnie Wahlberg took the lead on the more bubblegum pop Hangin’ Tough hit “Cover Girl.” This sweeter song peaked at No. 2.

5. “My Favorite Girl”

Though never released as a single from Hangin’ Tough, “My Favorite Girl” was the only track on the album that was co-written by three members of NKTOB—Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood—who also share vocals on the track.

6. “Hangin’ Tough”

Hangin’ Tough was the group’s best-selling album, and the title track fared just as well at No. 1. The lyrics told of the hard times the group had in their earlier days. “We needed a song that symbolized what we had been through,” said Starr in the 2005 book 1000 UK #1 Hits, “so I came up with this title, ‘Hangin Tough.'”

Wahlberg, who sings lead on the song, also said “Hangin’ Tough” was a tribute to the basketball team the Boston Celtics. “We literally set out to do a song that could be a theme song for the Celtics,” shared Wahlberg. “That was the idea: blatantly trying to sound like Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.'”

7. “Tonight”

By the time of NKOTB’s third album, Step By Step, the group had a massive merchandise campaign around them as well as their very own cartoon. Also a bit older with most of the band already in their 20s, “Tonight” is an homage to some of their earlier hits, from their “younger” years, with references to “The Right Stuff,” “Please Don’t Go Girl,” and “Hangin’ Tough.”

8.Step By Step”

The album Step By Step hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and the title track became the group’s biggest-selling single, spending three weeks on the top of the Hot 100. Originally recorded in 1987 by The Superiors, a group Maurice Starr was working with at the time, the song didn’t become a hit until NKOTB gave it a new whirl.

9. “If You Go Away” 

Released as a stand-alone single in 1992, “If You Go Away” was later released on the group’s fifth album, Face the Music. Written by John Bettis, Walter Afanasieff, and Trey Lorenz, the slowed ballad featured Jordan Knight and McIntyre sharing lead vocals, and Wood with spoken word.

10. “Remix (I Like The)

Written by the Danish songwriting and production team Deekay (Lars Halvor Jensen and Johannes Jørgensen) and British artist Lemar Obika, “Remix (I Like The)” appeared on NKOTB’s seventh album, 10. With Wahlberg and McIntyre on vocals, the uptempo “Remix” emitted a renewed charge of energy within the group.

[RELATED: New Kids On The Block Release New Song Featuring Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley, and En Vogue]

“It’s more a fun song,” said Wahlberg. “It’s a little more retro, [and] it kicks the doors open. We haven’t put an album out in five years, so we wanted to come back with something that had a lot of energy and spirit and while it is sort of a unique sound to the album, what’s not unique about it and what’s consistent throughout the whole album is our passion and commitment to the song.”

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for MRC

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