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*NSYNC: Their Story So Far...


Stephanie Walsh
Lead Events Editor

According to BuzzFeed, we live in a world where people do not know who *NSYNC is. How can this be? The legendary boy band, who was the epitome of pop music, is just completely forgotten? Shame on the parents of the young girls who call themselves One Direction fans! *NSYNC was our One Direction. If the rumors about the VMA performance are true, the world will remember *NSYNC and be reminded of why they were number one in their day.  For those of you who do not understand, and for those of you who need a refresher, let me give you some back story.

Chris Kirkpatrick, the founding member of *NSYNC, had auditioned to be a part of the Backstreet Boys, based on the recommendation of Backstreet Boy, Howie Dorough.  It didn’t work out when Lou Pearlman, the producer and owner of Transcontinental Records (the boy band-making machine), realized that his voice was too similar to Dorough’s, (so the Backstreet Boys got Brian Litrell’s cousin, Kevin Richardson instead). However, Pearlman instructed Kirkpatrick to find him more young male singers to work with and he offered to fund a new band.  Chris recruited Joey Fatone (the two had worked at Universal Studios together) and Justin Timberlake, who brought fellow Mickey Mouse Club member, JC Chasez along. The four needed a bass voice and originally had Jason Latona (the brother of Kirkpatrick’s then girlfriend) in place as the fifth member.


The name *NSYNC is a combination of the last letters of the boys’ first names, thought of by Justin Timberlake’s mother, Lynn Harless.  JustiN, ChriS, JoeY, JasoN, JC. Shortly after being named, and prior to signing any contracts however, Jason left the group and Justin’s vocal coach hooked them up with Lance Bass. The boys jokingly nicknamed him “Lansten” so that the name still fit.

*NSYNC’s first album was released solely in Germany in 1997 and peaked at number one after just two weeks on the charts. After a solid year of hard work overseas, the boys were signed to an American label (RCA) and their self titled album was released in the States in 1998. Singles from that album include “I Want You Back,” “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” “God Must Have Spent (a Little More Time On You),” and “I Drive Myself Crazy.” Their big break was their Disney Channel Concert Special in the summer of 1998 which helped skyrocket the album from #85 to #9 on the Billboard charts. The group’s second single, “Tearin’ Up My Heart” went on to become one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s. They released a holiday album, Home For Christmas, that winter which gave them two albums in the top ten that year.

In 1999, looking to part ways with Transcontinental Records, the band filed a lawsuit against the company and Lou Pearlman for defrauding them out of more than half of their earnings.  Pearlman countersued *NSYNC for $150million and use of their name. After a very public and dramatic legal battle, they settled out of court and *NSYNC signed with Jive Records.

On March 21, 2000, *NSYNC released their second album, No Strings Attached. They sold over a million albums that day, and 2.42 million in its first week. Over 9 million were sold by the end of 2000. No Strings Attached is both the best selling album of 2000 and the best-selling album of the decade. It is currently the eighth best-selling album of the SoundScan era and is certified Diamond, having sold over 11 million copies. The group’s signature song, “Bye Bye Bye,” was the leading single and was followed by “It’s Gonna Be Me” (the group’s first #1 single in the US) and“This I Promise You.”

Celebrity, *NSYNC’s third (and final) album was released in July of 2001. Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez co-wrote several of the songs on Celebrity and the album gave the group much more creative freedom than the previous two.  The singles include
Pop,”Gone,” andGirlfriend.” There was also a remix of “Girlfriend” released featuring the rapper, Nelly.

In addition to the albums, the band toured nearly nonstop over the years that they were active. The Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now tour in 1999 had the group flying over the crowd during their cover of Christopher Cross’s “Sailing,” as well as donning afro wigs and doing a decade medley and singing Jackson 5 songs. The No Strings Attached tour lasted the majority of 2000 doing two legs, in the spring and fall.  They went on a stadium tour named Pop Odyssey in 2001, and went for a smaller (arena) tour in the spring of 2002. The Celebrity Tour concluded in Orlando on April 28, 2002 where the band announced they would be taking a small hiatus.


After that they had one more performance together, singing the National Anthem in 2004 at their annual celebrity basketball game, Challenge For The Children. The group disbanded unofficially and there was never any solid confirmation until Lance Bass released a book, Out of Sync, in 2007. A Greatest Hits album was released in 2005, and an album of singles only released in the UK called The Collection was released in 2010, to meet their contractual obligations with Jive.

JC Chasez released a solo album entitled Schizophrenic, but his second solo effort was shelved indefinitely.  Chris Kirkpatrick worked on several projects over the years including the band, Nigel’s 11, which put out a 5 song EP. He’s probably best known to kids as the voice of Chip Skylark from The Fairly Odd Parents. Lance Bass is currently hosting a satellite radio show called Dirty Pop.  Joey Fatone had success on Dancing With the Stars and occasionally hosts television shows.

Justin Timberlake has had quite a successful solo career and will be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vangaurd Award at the VMA’s this weekend.


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