Backstreet Boys are a Grammy-nominated American boy band. They were the first group launched by fallen boy band mogul Lou Pearlman. They have had 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and have sold close to 200 million records including over 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best selling boy bands of all time; they were number 1 in concert and album sales from 1997-2005 (when they earned $533.1 million).
After returning to the music scene in 2005, their sound changed dramatically, incorporating only live instruments (some of which they play themselves) and a more guitar and piano driven pop rock sound. The four-member group consists of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and A. J. McLean. Original member Kevin Richardson left the group on June 23, 2006 to begin a family, but the four-piece refused to rule out a possible return for the singer.
Lou Pearlman was inspired by New Kids on the Block in the 1980s to create his own clean-cut boy band. After a series of newspaper advertisements and auditions in 1992 and 1993, he recruited A. J. McLean, Howie Dorough and Nick Carter, who met each other in several auditions and became friends. Following the departure of two previous members, Sam Licata (later performing as Phoenix Stone) and Charles Edwards, Kevin Richardson came on board. He met the other guys through a co-worker, and the four decided to form a group, naming themselves after an Orlando flea market. The group took its final member in April 9, 1993, when Brian Littrell, Richardson's cousin, joined the group after a phone audition. Pearlman had spent around three million dollars of fraudulently obtained money (he has been convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme during this time frame) on his search to form the group, and then spent more to launch their career.
Afterwards Pearlman called on his friend Bob Curiano to be the first to write and produce for the Backstreet Boys. Their first two songs ever recorded were "Lover Boy", which was written and produced by Bob Curiano, and "Get Ready", a cover tune. Their first concert, on July 8, 1993, was performed for 3,000 teenagers at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Pearlman later booked them at grade-school assemblies and shopping malls, and assigned management duties to Johnny Wright and Donna Wright, who had worked with New Kids on the Block. Wright is often credited by industry insiders for being the man who actually made the Boys famous.
European popularity grew, and the Backstreet Boys kicked off 1996, being voted the No.1 International Group by TV viewers in Germany - "I'll Never Break Your Heart" went gold there and hit No.1 in Austria. The group earned their first Platinum record in Germany and toured Asia and Canada. They became one of the most successful debut artists in the world.