Donnie Wahlberg was a megastar well before Mark Wahlberg was. He became a sensation thanks to New Kids on The Block. But why wasn’t Mark in the boy band? Don’t worry, there is an explanation.
Younger Days Of New Kids On The Block
The story of New Kids On The Block begins as so many boy bands begin: with a record producer looking to make immense amounts of cash. Maurice Starr was a songwriter based in Boston who failed to make an impact on the radio. He resolved to start a band so his hits would make it big.
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In 1982 he did just that when he discovered New Edition. He was integrally involved in their debut album but fell out with the band. He wanted to recreate his success with a group of white musicians. Starr later explained to EW: “I honestly believe that if they’d been white, New Edition would have been 20 times as big.” While 20 times wasn’t quite right, New Kids On The Block did become a true sensation.
Starr assembled New Kids On The Block from Boston teens Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Donnie. This begs the question: if Starr was trying to create a boy band based on men in Boston, why would he pick Donnie over Mark? Considering Mark became a model, rapper, movie star, and Academy Award nominee in short order, it feels like he should have been in the band.
Well, he kind of was. Mark was part of Nynuk, the precursor to New Kids On The Block. Starr was more interested in Donnie, so Mark left after a few months.
Donnie explained what happened in a 2017 interview on the Dan Patrick Show. “Mark and I were the two original members of New Kids On The Block.” The two knew a woman in the neighborhood who knew Starr, so they got a very early audition. “He finally dropped out,” Donnie says. “Mark wanted to steal cars and get in trouble with his friends.”
Unlike his brother, Donnie was having the time of his life in the studio. He’s two years older as well, so he was probably taking the opportunity a bit more seriously.
Things Got Bad For Mark Wahlberg
As Donnie’s career took off, Mark’s life got bad quickly. He was hooked on cocaine and was sentenced to 45 days in jail for a felony assault. This is just one of the hate crimes that Wahlberg was found guilty of.
Alma Elaine Wahlberg asked Donnie for help getting Mark off the street, and Donnie says Mark was a sponge. He followed every instruction, and almost immediately he was as big a star.
Between “Good Vibrations,” the Calvin Klein commercials, and Basketball Diaries, Mark got his life together in a big way. Had he not been drawn to the streets, he could easily have been another one of the New Kids On The Block.