A musically gifted teen dream, Danny Wood achieved global superstardom as a member of one of the most lucrative and popular teen idol acts ever, New Kids on the Block. The boy band raked in hundreds o...
|Dance Party New Year's Eve Blast (1989-1990)||Actor||Host||1989||1|
|The New Kids on the Block (1989-1990)||Actor||Himself||1989||1|
|New Kids on the Block: A Behind the Music Special Event (2007-2008)||Actor||n/a||2007||1|
|New Kids on the Block Live from Boston (2007-2008)||Actor||n/a||2007||1|
|New Kids on the Block: Hangin' Tough Live in Concert! (1988-1989)||Actor||n/a||1988||1|
|New Kids on the Block at Walt Disney World (1989-1990)||Actor||n/a||1989||1|
|1½ Knights - In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde||Actor||n/a||1|
|New Kids on the Block: Hangin' Tough Live in Concert! (1988-1989)||Song Performer||n/a||1988||8000016|
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Born May 14, 1969 in Boston, MA, Daniel William Wood was the fourth of six children, and grew up fascinated by music, dance and performing. Athletics were always very important to Wood, who worked out religiously and exhibited an impressive discipline and determination well beyond his years. He landed the opportunity of a lifetime when his friend Donnie Wahlberg tapped him to join a new singing group, Nyuk. The burgeoning group came with an impressive pedigree; it was created by Maurice Starr, who had formed the immensely successful boy band New Edition. After losing New Edition in a contract dispute, Starr set out to form a white version, recruiting rapper-singer Donnie Wahlberg, who in turn brought on his younger brother, Mark Wahlberg, Jamie Kelly, Wood and Jordan Knight, who in turn brought in his older brother, Jonathan. After Mark Wahlberg and Jamie Kelly dropped out due to the punishing rehearsal schedule instigated by Starr, they were replaced by 12-year-old Joey McIntyre, whose entrance into the band proved rocky at first, since he was considerably younger than the others and they resented him for replacing their friends.
Displaying an impressive potential, Nyuk landed a recording contract under one condition: their name was changed to New Kids on the Block, after a rap Wahlberg wrote. Although their 1986 debut album, New Kids on the Block sold poorly, it gave the members the opportunity to begin cutting their professional teeth on the local touring circuit. From the beginning, Starr had an iron grip on the band's direction, writing and producing the majority of their songs and controlling their image, but in the wake of their fizzled debut, members Wahlberg, Wood and Jordan Knight pushed for more creative control. Steering away from straightforward bubblegum pop, 1988's Hangin' Tough featured a harder, R&B-flavored sound and proved to be their breakthrough to global teen pop superstardom. Buoyed by the Top Ten ballad "Please Don't Go Girl," Hangin' Tough went multiplatinum and spun off the No. 3 hit "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," the No. 2 hit "Cover Girl," and a pair of No. 1 hits, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "Hangin' Tough."
All the stars aligned perfectly for the group, who ignited a white-hot furor among young girls that was reminiscent of Beatlemania and was so intense that it turned their debut album into a multiplatinum success, the band into a cottage industry, and the New Kids themselves into something akin to gods for a certain fanbase, even earning their own Saturday morning cartoon series. Although each member appealed to a different "type," Wood was the most physically masculine and muscular of the group, as well as the most gifted behind the scenes when it came to production. The worldwide pop cultural dominance found NKOTB gracing a staggering amount of tie-in merchandise that helped rake in hundreds of millions and to further spread the screamingly devout army of "Kidiacs" or "Blockheads." As with any act who achieved such massive success, especially those appealing to younger audiences, New Kids on the Block endured a particularly scathing backlash by critics and others who disparaged their packaged nature, their youthful naiveté and their perceived artistic and personal inadequacies.
Another point of contention for many was the perceived cultural appropriation of the white New Kids performing "black" music for a mostly white audience, and despite their obvious performing ability, the group members were frequently dismissed as talentless hacks or simply serving as puppets for Starr, who had himself been an aspiring singer in his youth. Helping to dismiss these charges was the behind-the-scenes artistic growth of several of the members, especially Jordan Knight and Wood, who possessed the ability to play keyboards. Although Starr was reluctant to allow the New Kids to write their own songs without his input, he missed a major opportunity when Jordan Knight and Wood joined forces with aspiring singer Tommy Page to pen the song "I'll Be Your Everything," which Page took to No. 1 in 1990. Nevertheless, the New Kids machine chugged along, turning out the 1989 holiday album Merry, Merry Christmas, which featured the hit charity single "This One's for the Children."
The band's next studio album, 1990's Step by Step, proved a turning point for the New Kids, who showcased more of their songwriting and producing chops, but scored the biggest hit of their careers as well as one of the most popular of the decade with the title track, which hit No. 1 around the world. Although the album only yielded one more Top Ten hit, the No. 7 "Tonight," the album marked the moment where the already supermassive star of the New Kids flashed supernova, with merchandising revenues topping hundreds of millions or more in the early 1990s. In 1991, Wood and Wahlberg displayed impressive creative and business acumen when they helped former New Kid Mark Wahlberg launch his own act, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, who managed to score their own No. 1, "Good Vibrations." As the band hit the peak of its tidal wave, however, they faced the inevitable decline, sparked by a lawsuit alleging the band lip-synched their vocals, which was eventually dropped, although they admitted to using a backing track during some live performances.
Perhaps most damning for the band's success, however, was the fickleness of younger audiences who found "outgrowing" their childhood idols was a necessary part of adolescence, and the impossibility of sustaining a globe-sweeping mania. Tastes and times changed, and the world in which the band released 1994's mostly self-written and self-produced Face the Music was a very different place than that of their debut. Dropping Maurice Starr and their band name in an attempt to start anew, New Kids shortened their name to NKOTB, but neither their new name or sound caught on, and the band broke up shortly thereafter to go their separate ways. After some time away from the spotlight, Wood dabbled in acting, booking small roles in the films "Thank You, Good Night" (2001) and "Tequila Express" (2002) and began a high-profile awareness/fundraising campaign to honor the memory of his mother, Betty, who died of breast cancer. He also launched a solo career, founding his own record label, Damage, and releasing a string of albums that included 1999's D-Fuse: Room Full of Smoke, 2003's D-Wood: Room Full of Smoke, Vol. 2 and 2003's Second Face.
Wood was also tapped to join the United Kingdom program "Totally Boyband" (MTV, 2006), which united several alums of boybands to create a new "manband," known as Upper Street. Unfortunately, the project's debut single, "The One (That Got Away)" fizzled on the charts. Although several failed attempts to reunited the New Kids had occurred, the bandmates finally joined forces once again for 2008's The Block, which earned them a hit, "Summertime," and kicked off the second chapter of their career, in which the warmth of nostalgic fans replaced the bitterness of their haters. Settling into a comfortable, lower-wattage stardom, the New Kids continued to perform around the world and made headlines when they joined forces to tour with their spiritual descendants, the Backstreet Boys, as the supergroup NKOTBSB. Wood and the New Kids made global headlines in January 2013, however, when they announced a tour billed as The Package, which promised to feature the ultimate boy band concert: New Kids on the Block, 90 Degrees and Boyz II Men.
By Jonathan Riggs
|Halle Berry||Companion||Reportedly linked c. 1989|
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