NSYNC (1995 – 2002): All You Need to Know About NSYNC

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Last week we took a trip down memory lane with the Backstreet Boys. But honestly, let's face it, there is no way you can cruise down that lane without passing by NSYNC. Could you? I had to make a stop on YouTube to fill my nostalgia cup with some sweet old-school music from NSYNC! And boy, I miss the Justin Timberlake that was back then. Okay, I have no qualms with the now Justin, but I think the Justin in NSYNC was humbler and more talented! Just my opinion! Take it with a pinch of salt.

NSYNC was among the top bands back then. I bet you remember the “Bye Bye Bye” song by NSYNC. This is most probably the most-watched song on YouTube. Just yesterday, the song got over 87,000 new views...on one single day! Its total view on YouTube is currently over 269 million! This proves how timeless the songs written and performed by NSYNC were. The songs have stood the taste of time and have appealed to all generations equally.
I have been a die-hard fan of the NSYNC group with or without Justin Timberlake. They continued to rock. Hit song after hit song. Well, Justin is doing well on his own too, maybe it was a move that he just had to make in order to realize the success that he is right now.

Did You Know...

An interesting fact here about the name NSYNC! Did you know how they came up with the name?

Here is the story...

When Chris Kirkpatrick was unable to make it into Backstreet Boys, he came up with the idea of NSYNC. Howie Dorough, a member of the band t the time, introduced Chris to Lou, who shared the idea of NSYNC with him. Chris then enlisted Joey Fatone, and Lou invited Justin Timberlake to join.It wasn’t long before the other two members, Joey and JC, joined the group.

The band name NSYNC was inspired by the last letter of each member’s first name:

  • Justi-N
  • Chri-S
  • Joe-Y
  • Jaso-N
  • J-C
And that is how the name NSYNC came to be. Lynn, Justin’s mother was the one who came up with this unique idea! However, shortly after its establishment, one of its singers Jason Galasso left the band. Lance Bass, a singer, subsequently took his spot. Lance was given the nickname Lanceton to keep the acronym intact.

Lance joined NSYNC after learning that they were looking for a replacement for their missing singer. This was revealed to him by his vocal teacher, who had previously trained Timberlake.

When it comes to the 90s bands, there were many popular names back then, but NSYNC was unique in its own way. When the band released the singles like Bye Bye Bye and This I Promise You, fans were instantly smitten.

A Brief History of the NSYNC Boys Band

NSYNC was an American boy’s band founded in Orlando, Florida, by Chris Kirkpatrick in 1995. The self-titled first album was successfully released in Europe I 1997, and the single “I Want You Back” was later released in the United States.
Following highly publicized legal battles with their former manager Lou Pearlman and former record label Beartelsmann Music Group, the group’s second album, No String Attached of 2000 sold 1 million copies in one day and 2.4 million copies in one week, setting the record for over fifteen years.

Singles like Bye Bye Bye, This I Promise You, Girlfriend, Pop, and it’s Gonna Be Me charted in the top ten on various foreign charts, with the latter reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. In addition to a slew of Grammy nominations, NSYNC has performed or recorded alongside Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Nelly, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Mary J. Blige, country music band Alabama, and Gloria Estefan. The trio was nominated for eight Grammy Awards.

NSYNC's last new music was recorded in 2002. The five members have reunited several times, most recently at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The band performed five nationwide concert tours and sold over 70 million records, making them one of the best-selling boy bands of all time. Rolling Stone named their meteoric rise to fame as one of the Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments of All Time. Throughout his solo career, Justin Timberlake has received ten Grammy Awards.

How It All Started: The Formation of NSYNC (1995 – 1997)

In 1995, Lou Pearlman was introduced to Chris Kirkpatrick by a mutual acquaintance and was so impressed by his talent that he immediately called him to discuss forming a band. Pearlman pledged to assist Chris to finance his project if he could get a bunch of other young male vocalists to join him.

Chris Kirkpatrick seized the opportunity and began making phone calls, finally locating Justin Timberlake (who had appeared on the TV show The Mickey Mouse Club alongside JC Chasez) through a talent agent and contacting him about joining his vocal group.
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Chasez intended to pursue a music career in Los Angeles when The Mickey Mouse Club ended in 1994, but after feeling duped, he opted to return home to Maryland.

On his way back, he stopped at Timberlake's house in Memphis, Tennessee, where the two collaborated on demos. Chasez and Timberlake subsequently traveled to Nashville, where they continued to develop songs and demo tracks with Robin Wiley, The Mickey Mouse Club's lyricist, and vocal coach. After receiving a phone call from Kirkpatrick, Timberlake opted to join the group, recommending Chasez, who was back home in Maryland saving funds to return to Nashville.

The trio traveled to Orlando, Florida, in search of a baritone, where they met Joey Fatone, who knew Kirkpatrick from their time working together at Universal Studios Florida. After multiple tryouts, the group finally hired Jason Galasso as their bass singer. After Timberlake's mother noticed how "in sync" the group's singing voices were, NSYNC was born.

After many weeks of rehearsing, the band organized a showcase and began making plans to sign with Pearlman's Trans Continental Label. Galasso, though, backed out at the last minute. He was dissatisfied with the group's musical approach, citing that being a teen idol was never his ambition.

The group auditioned several candidates for bass but had no luck. Timberlake eventually contacted his vocal teacher, who recommended Lance Bass, a 16-year-old from Mississippi. Bass traveled to Orlando for a tryout and was instantly accepted into the group. He was given the pseudonym "Lansten" so that they could preserve the name 'NSYNC.
Pearlman then placed the five boys in a house in Orlando, Florida, where they trained daily, learning dance routines and vocal parts and preparing for their first public performance on October 22, 1995, at Pleasure Island. Despite controlling the Backstreet Boys, Pearlman engaged Johnny Wright to manage the group. NSYNC sent him a four-song sample cassette, which included "I'll Be Back for More" and "We Can Work It Out," and he was impressed. The band performed for him as well as a group of BMG officials. Despite initial reservations about the band's name and Bass' dancing talents (which ultimately improved), the record label agreed to sign the group to BMG Ariola Munich with Wright as their manager.

Following their signing with BMG Ariola Munich, the band was moved to Sweden to begin production on their debut album with producers such as Denniz Pop, Max Martin, and Andreas Carlsson. "I Want You Back," the album's official lead single, was released in Germany on October 7, 1996, and reached the top 10 on November 18, 1996.

With a record deal in hand, the guys began touring in German-speaking nations, followed by other European and Asian markets. Their self-titled debut album was released by BMG Ariola Munich on May 26, 1997, and reached number one in Germany the following week. The band quickly rose to prominence across much of Europe.

The album also fared well in Switzerland and Austria, selling 820,000 sales in the GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) region and Eastern Europe. The group's second and third singles, "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "Here We Go," both charted in the top ten in a number of European nations. Throughout the year, they released the German exclusive songs "For the Girl Who Has Everything" and "Together Again."

The Rise and Fall of NSYNC (1998 – 1999): Court Battles and Breakout!

Vincent DeGiorgio, an A&R guy for RCA Records, was taken with NSYNC. He signed the group to RCA in 1998 after seeing them perform in Budapest. The trio was asked by their American label to record some additional songs in order to adapt their album for the US market. On January 20, 1998, the group released its first American song, "I Want You Back." The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. On March 24, 1998, an album titled 'N Sync was released.
The album debuted at number 82 on the Billboard 200, but sales were boosted when a performance special was broadcast on the Disney Channel on July 18, 1998. The event was originally given to the Backstreet Boys, but they declined owing to member Brian Littrell's need for heart surgery, instead doing their own special in 1999. Five weeks before the concert, the record peaked at number 82 on the albums list; three weeks later, it peaked at number nine. The group's fame grew further with the subsequent single release "Tearin' Up My Heart," which became a pop radio hit and one of VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s." Regular touring, including an opening slot on Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour, and television appearances on shows such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, boosted album sales, which were eventually certified diamond for shipments in excess of 10 million units.

Home for Christmas, the group's holiday album, was released on November 10, 1998. The album reached number seven on the charts and sold 2 million copies. NSYNC accomplished the unusual distinction of having two albums in the Billboard Top 10 at the same time.

NSYNC released The Winter Album in Germany seven days later, on November 16, 1998. One of the album's songs, "U Drive Me Crazy," became a significant hit in Spain, peaking at number four. With their third single, "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You," which reached at number 8 on the Hot 100 in February 1999, the group achieved their first top ten on the chart. Alabama later re-recorded the song and released it as a single including NSYNC's vocals. "I Drive Myself Crazy," the album's fourth and final song, was a minor chart hit but a Total Request Live staple.

NSYNC also collaborated with Phil Collins on the song "Trashin' The Camp." The song is featured on the soundtrack of the Disney film Tarzan (1999 film). They also recorded "Somewhere, Someday," which was included on the soundtrack of Pokémon: The First Movie. The duo collaborated with Gloria Estefan on a song for the soundtrack of her film Music of the Heart in September 1999. "Music of My Heart" peaked at number two on Billboard's Top-100 singles chart and functioned as a filler between album releases.
In 1999, NSYNC engaged in a public court dispute with Lou Pearlman over what the group perceived to be unethical business activities on his behalf.

NSYNC sued Pearlman and his record label, Trans Continental, for scamming the group of more than fifty percent of their earnings, rather than his promise of just receiving one-sixth of the profits with the Backstreet Boys.

When NSYNC threatened to depart and sign with Jive Records, Pearlman and RCA countersued for US$150 million. Trans-Continental and RCA's parent company, BMG Entertainment, went to federal court and filed the $150 million suit in an attempt to stop NSYNC's move to Jive, to prevent the band from performing or recording under the name NSYNC, and to force NSYNC to return masters recorded that year in preparation for their second album.

The lawsuit also alleges that Jive officials persuaded the company to breach its Trans-Continental contract. Pearlman's preliminary injunction request against the band was dismissed. Following an out-of-court settlement, NSYNC struck a $12 million deal with Jive.

In addition, for the 1999 MTV Movie & TV Awards, NSYNC starred in Armagedd'NSync, a short-form spoof video of the 1998 science fiction disaster film Armageddon. It included Clint Howard, Lisa Kudrow, and all five members of NSYNC, as well as an earthbound asterisk-shaped asteroid (a play on the asterisk they usually had in their name at the time).

NSYNC: Success Story of the Millennium (2000 – 2001)

With their legal problems behind them, NSYNC refocused and began work on songs for their second album. In January 2000, the trio produced "Bye Bye Bye," an uplifting dance hit that peaked at number five on the Hot 100 and spent five weeks atop the Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song is widely regarded as the group's hallmark tune.

No Strings Attached, the companion album, was released on March 21, 2000. It sold a record-breaking 2.42 million copies in its first week of the sale. It had sold over 9.9 million copies by the end of 2000. No Strings Attached was the best-selling album of 2000, as well as the second-best-selling album of the decade in the United States, trailing only The Beatles' 1. No Strings Attached was the seventh best-selling album of the SoundScan era in August 2012, and it acquired a Diamond certification from the RIAA for sales of over 11,099,000. The album was Amazon.com's all-time best-selling pre-ordered record.

"It's Gonna Be Me," the group's second single, became the group's first number one record in the United States, and lasted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from July 29 to August 11, 2000.

"This I Promise You," the third and final single, peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2001, they sang the Spanish version of "Yo Te Voy Amar" at the Latin Grammys. That year, the band also went on a World No Strings Attached Tour.

The experiences of prepping for the tour were documented in an MTV special called "Making the Tour," which was later published on DVD. The tour was later featured in an HBO special, which aired the same week that the group's single "It's Gonna Be Me" reached number one on the charts. The band then embarked on the second phase of their tour in the fall, and they played one more engagement in 2001 at the "Rock in Rio" concert.

Live From Madison Square Garden, a home video release of the group's HBO Special was also released. The Super Bowl XXXV halftime show, dubbed "The Kings of Rock and Pop," included NSYNC and Aerosmith as co-headliners, as well as Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly. NSYNC was one of the artists who played at the Winter Olympics ceremonies in 2002.

And Then They Took a Break!

Celebrity, the group's third album, was released on July 24, 2001, and generated three singles: "Pop" (number 19 in the United States), "Gone" (number 11), and "Girlfriend" (number 5). The group contributed significantly more creatively to the record, writing and producing several of their own songs.

In its first week, NSYNC's Celebrity album sold 1,879,955 copies, making it the second-fastest-selling album in SoundScan history at the time, trailing only the group's previous album No Strings Attached.

The Billboard Music Awards honored its launch with a special award for "highest one-week sales for an album in 2001."To promote the Celebrity album, the band embarked on the PopOdyssey Tour, a four-month stadium tour. The tour grossed over $90 million, making it one of the most successful tours of 2001.
The band promoted their album even further in 2002 by embarking on the Celebrity Tour, which grossed approximately $30 million. Following the tour, the trio took a break to allow for recovery and at the insistence of Timberlake, who wanted to make a solo album. While the break was initially intended to be short, the band never recorded or toured together again.

Joey Fatone and Lance Bass have taken a different stance on NSYNC's demise, claiming that a lack of transparency left them unprepared for the possibility of a split.

Fatone stated in a 2019 interview on The Jenny McCarthy Show that the group thought they would be reunited because they were young. He went on to suggest that the momentum generated by the Justified album and tour was the rationale for delaying a group reunion that would result in new music.

Lance Bass has also spoken about his desire for the band to revive, first in his memoir when he described passing up different business opportunities, and more recently as a guest on Michael Rosenbaum's 'Inside of You' podcast.

NSYNC Today: Where are They and What are They Doing?

The group continued to attend award ceremonies and functions together and reformed for the 2003 Grammy Awards to perform a televised Bee Gees medley in honor to the band. They were supposed to start working on a new album in the fall of 2003, but it never happened.

At the 2004 NSYNC Challenge for Children, they performed "The Star-Spangled Banner." According to Bass' 2007 biography Out of Sync, written after Bass received the Human Rights Campaign Award for his work in the LGBT community following his coming out, a meeting was convened in the summer of 2004 to discuss the band's future, during which Timberlake expressed his decision to leave the band.

The members reformed in 2005 for the final NSYNC Challenge for the Children but did not perform. NSYNC issued the greatest hits CD in the fall of 2005. It contained one previously unreleased song in the United States, "I'll Never Stop." Bass announced the group's split in 2007. In January 2010, the band released The Collection, an album comprised of singles only available in the United Kingdom.

The members of NSYNC reformed for a one-time performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on August 25, 2013. During Timberlake's 15-minute act preceding his presentation of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, they performed a medley of "Girlfriend" and "Bye Bye Bye." In the background, non-vocal components from "Gone" were heard. Following the performance, Bass stated that the band had no plans for a reunion tour or new music at this time.
The Essential *NSYNC, a compilation of *NSYNC's hits and unreleased songs, was published on July 29, 2014. On his Dirty Pop radio show, Bass said of the album, "There's a lot of these songs I don't think I've ever heard, I remember recording them but I've never heard them before, so I'm interested in just hearing them." Chasez announced the album's release through Twitter, writing: "Last night, I had the weirdest dream that some old pals and I got a top ten record on iTunes.

Crazy, isn't it?" Kirkpatrick had this to say about the album: "It's fantastic to be able to share some previously unreleased tunes. I'm delighted our long-time admirers will be able to hear some new songs." Fatone also stated: "This album comes out, which I had no idea about, and it's at the top of Amazon and iTunes... we owe it to our followers. Thank you very much."

Fatone and Kirkpatrick starred in Dead 7, a western zombie thriller scripted by Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. The film premiered on the Syfy channel on April 1, 2016.

NSYNC reunited on April 30, 2018, to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Chasez, Fatone, Bass, and Kirkpatrick reunited on April 14, 2019, for a performance with Ariana Grande during her headline set at Coachella. They sang "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored," "It Makes Me Sick," and "Tearin' Up My Heart." Timberlake was unable to attend the reunion because he had just finished his The Man of the Woods Tour the night before.

Bass, Fatone, and Kirkpatrick reunited for a Progressive Insurance advertisement titled "The 3/5ths of NSYNC" on April 19, 2021.

Final Thoughts

NSYNC was a legendary music group that deserves a comeback. Yes, life has happened and everyone seems to be involved in his own personal stuff, but for the sake of nostalgia, it is worth it another reunion tour.

I loved the songs released when they were all a team.

What do you remember about NSYNC?

Which was your favorite song or album?