This precocious group of American teenagers shot to the top of the UK and US charts in the summer of 1997, with an energetic blend of Jackson Five -styled harmonies and crafted pop/soul melodies. The Hanson brothers, Isaac (Clarke Isaac Hanson, 17 November 1980, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; guitar, piano, vocals), Taylor (b. Jordan Taylor Hanson, 14 March 1983, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; keyboards/vocals) and Zac (b. Zachary Walker Hanson, 22 October 1985, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; drums/vocals), formed part of a wave of remarkably talented young performers, including Ben Kweller and country star LeAnn Rimes, emerging from America. Raised in Tulsa by music-loving parents, the Hansons also lived for short periods in Trinidad, Ecuador and Venezuela as a result of their fathers work. Brought up musically on Time/Life compilations of classic 50s and 60s music, they began writing and performing publicly as a band in 1992 when Zac was six years old, including a performance at the May Fest Arts Festival in Tulsa. Two self-distributed CDs followed, along with extensive live performances that honed their instrumental abilities.
Playing at the South by Southwest Music Convention for unsigned bands, they linked up with manager Chris Sabec, who finally landed them a contract with Mercury Records after they had been dismissed as hard to market by several other companies. Their debut single, the self-penned MMMBop, entered the US singles chart at number 16 before climbing to number 1, and also topped the UK charts. Middle Of Nowhere followed, recorded over a period of five months with name producers Steve Lironi (Black Grape, Space) and the Dust Brothers (Beck), and featured four of their own songs alongside collaborations with established songwriters, including Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. An exuberant blend of traditional pop and soul the album became one of the years biggest sellers, aided by their hip and MTV -friendly slacker image. Further transatlantic hit singles followed with Wheres The Love, I Will Come To You, and Thinking Of You. The brothers have continued to tour extensively, and released a desultory seasonal album, a live set and a compilation of their early material while working on tracks for their second album. There was no doubt that This Time Around was a massive leap forward in maturity, but the three year gap had seemingly lost the band a lot of fans, as sales were unexpectedly disappointing.
Hanson subsequently parted ways with Mercury and launched their own 3CG imprint. They teamed up with rock veteran Danny Kortchmar to help record their independent debut, Underneath. Finally released in early 2004, the album featured a fine collection of mature pop rock material deserving of a larger audience. The trio enjoyed an unexpected UK Top 10 hit the following January with the sparkling Penny And Me, and continued to tour and record.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.