If you were a kid growing up during the 90s and early ’00s, it’s almost a statistical impossibility that you haven’t heard of the Backstreet Boys. They were making the rounds on radio and TV stations throughout Europe and the US for close to a decade, what was the song that they used to introduce themselves to the world?
The Backstreet Boys’ first song was “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”, released on the 5th of September, 1995. The song was a huge chart success in Europe and the UK, managing to break into the top 5 in multiple regions.
Whether you were a fan of that “manufactured” pop vibe that groups like Backstreet Boys can so often exude, their potential success was undeniable. Both the producers they worked with and the critics of their first single could see the talent and the fame that was just waiting to be realized.
Fast Forward to 1999
April 15th, 1999. The world still existed in a state of blissful ignorance about the infectiously catchy pop sensation that was about to take every single chart by force.
The following day was a red letter day for boy bands and pop groups, as “I Want It That Way” was finally released. Critical acclaim and an inconceivable amount of airtime followed, with the song being found on every corner of the globe.
It was the first time that the group had managed to take the number 1 spot on the charts, utterly dominating Europe and the UK. Although the US market that had always proved elusive to them still evaded their ascension to the top spot, it didn’t matter.
That one song elevated them to a position where it was borderline impossible to say that you had never heard the song before. Simply turning on the radio or a channel dedicated to current trends in music would expose you to the track.
As we already know though, “I Want It That Way” wasn’t their first song, even if it was the first song that you might have heard if you lived outside of Europe or weren’t a huge pop music fan. That honor lies with “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”, the song that almost never got made.
Back to the Beginning
Might seem impossible to believe in hindsight, but the Backstreet Boys had already missed one record deal prior to their ascension to the boy band throne.
They had already been touring around highschools around their home state of Florida, generating some noise with the aim of eventually securing that lucrative record deal that so many prospective artists desire. It looked like it might materialize too, with a possible deal with Mercury Records being in the works.
Unfortunately, however, an unhappy John Mellencamp was also signed with Mercury. Allegedly Mellencamp was firmly against the idea of being anywhere near a boy band, even if it was only being on the same label as one.
His refusal to compromise on that point left Mercury with a decision to make, one that ultimately favored Mellencamp, as they dropped their in-the-works deal with the upcoming Backstreet Boys.
Not to let a hurdle as insignificant as a disgruntled musician deter them from their path, the group found a new record deal with Jeff Fenster and David Renzer under the Zomba label. This new relationship would take the group of young musicians jetting off to Sweden, where they were paired up with the other half of the magic that was set to become “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”.
Accurate Song Name
It turned out that “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” was a fairly accurate song name. Going by the accounts that those who worked on the track give, it had that special spark right from the get-go.
The track already possessed all the same kinds of poppy catchiness that defined their later boy band revolutionizing monster hit. Despite it not happening within their native US as they may have otherwise preferred, the combination of the perfectly harmonized vocals and Euro beats launched them into immediate popularity in Europe.
Although their biggest hit will always be regarded as their best, it’s interesting to look back on the roots and remember where it all began. Whether you were a fan or not, and despite there being plenty of other boy bands since, it’s hard to deny that inimitable style and legacy that they left behind.