Hangin' Tough

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Hangin' Tough
New Kids on the Block-Hangin' Tough (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 6, 1988 (1988-09-06)
ProducerMaurice Starr
New Kids on the Block chronology
New Kids on the Block
Hangin' Tough
Merry, Merry Christmas
Singles from Hangin' Tough
  1. "Please Don't Go Girl"
    Released: April 16, 1988
  2. "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
    Released: November 7, 1988
  3. "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)"
    Released: April 10, 1989
  4. "Hangin' Tough"
    Released: July 3, 1989
  5. "Cover Girl"
    Released: August 22, 1989

Hangin' Tough is the second studio album by American boy band New Kids on the Block, released on September 6, 1988, by Columbia Records. It is widely regarded as the breakthrough album of the group's career and has been praised by some music critics, gaining positive reviews for their musical transition from bubblegum pop to urban contemporary, blended with popular rock music. Originally the group's label had already planned to end their contract when their first album in 1986 garnered little commercial and critical attention which nearly led to their failure. However, Maurice Starr, the group's producer, diligently persuaded the label to let them record for a second album.

Hangin' Tough led the group to success due to the emergence of their music to radio airplay and creation of music videos for each released single, showcasing the group's visual appeal, their popularity was eventually built as they made TV appearances and embarked on promotional tours. By the end of 1989, the album topped on the US Billboard 200 charts, while it peaked at number two on the Canadian Albums Chart that year and the UK Albums Chart the following year. The album has a home-media video release entitled New Kids on the Block: Hangin' Tough which is a documented musical film about the group's biographical career, released in 1989,[1] it also contains a series of music videos, live performances, and exclusive interviews from the group and their fans. The album and film received accolades: two American Music Awards and at least one Grammy Award nomination.

With sales of more than 14 million copies worldwide to date, Hangin' Tough became the group's best-selling album and it was certified diamond in Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) with sales of more than one million units, while 8× platinum in the U.S. by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[2] The album spawned five commercial singles: "Please Don't Go Girl", "You Got It (The Right Stuff)", "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)", "Hangin' Tough", and "Cover Girl". All were top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making them the first teen act to gain such chart success. An album titled "More Hangin' Tough", which included remixed and instrumental versions of the album songs was released in Japan. Following the release of the 30th Anniversary Edition of the album in 2019, which contains remixes of previous singles plus three newly recorded songs, the album re-entered the US Billboard 200 chart at number 18[3].


Five singles were released from Hangin' Tough; the lead single "Please Don't Go Girl" was released in April 1988. The song became a major hit on radio stations nationwide and became their first top-ten single in Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number ten. The second single was "You Got It (The Right Stuff)", a worldwide hit which peaked at number three on the Billboard charts. "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)", a ballad, was the third single released and became their first number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. The title track was released next and also reached number one. "Cover Girl" was the fifth released; it peaked at number two.

"My Favorite Girl" was released in January 1990 as a promotional single sent to radio, but was not made commercially available at retail.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
Robert ChristgauC+[5]

The album received positive reviews from music critics. Reviews of Dan Heilman and Bil Carpenter of AllMusic said "Good songs collected by New Kids mastermind Maurice Starr highlight this smash, including 'I'll Be Loving You (Forever)', 'You Got It (The Right Stuff)', 'Please Don't Go Girl', and the title track. Tight, warm, even soulful harmony on the ballads."

Robert Christgau, gave a grade of C+ to the album, he stated that:

At five million and counting, this isn't the rank offense its demographic tilt would lead you to expect—auteur Maurice Starr has positioned two exceedingly cute up-tempo hits atop two overly balladic sides. Really, why shouldn't a black svengali mastermind the safe white R&B ripoff for once? Funkier than the Osmonds or Milli Vanilli; as hip as New Edition.


Hangin' Tough won two American Music Awards in January 1990—the "Favorite Pop/Rock Album" and "Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group", beating Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl and Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel in Favorite Pop/Rock Album category, and Bon Jovi and Milli Vanilli in Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group category; the Hangin' Tough music film was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Long Form (now called Best Music Film) at the 1990 Grammy Awards, but lost to Rhythm Nation 1814 by Janet Jackson, beating Eurythmics's Savage, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, and Pink Floyd's In Concert: Delicate Sound of Thunder.

Track listing[edit]

All songs were produced by Maurice Starr.

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."You Got It (The Right Stuff)"Maurice Starr4:13
2."Please Don't Go Girl"Starr
3."I'll Be Loving You (Forever)"StarrJordan Knight4:28
4."Cover Girl"StarrDonnie Wahlberg4:08
5."I Need You"StarrDonnie Wahlberg3:38
6."Hangin' Tough"StarrDonnie Walhberg4:18
7."I Remember When"
  • Starr
  • Eban Kelly
  • Jimmy Randolph
Joey McIntyre4:13
8."What'cha Gonna Do (About It)"Starr
  • Jordan Knight
  • Donnie Wahlberg
  • Danny Wood
  • Joey McIntyre
9."My Favorite Girl"
  • Starr
  • Jordan Knight
  • Donnie Wahlberg
  • Danny Wood
  • Jordan Knight
  • Danny Wood
10."Hold On"StarrDanny Wood3:39


  • Jonathan Knight – lead and backing vocals
  • Jordan Knight – lead and backing vocals, associate producer
  • Joey McIntyre – lead and backing vocals
  • Donnie Wahlberg – lead and backing vocals, associate producer
  • Danny Wood – lead and backing vocals, programming, associate producer
  • Cecil Holmes – executive producer
  • Maurice Starr – arranger, producer, recording, mixing, engineer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, synthesized, electric bass, drum programming
  • Danny Wood – associate producer, recording, mixing, engineer
  • Phil Greene – recording, mixing, engineer
  • Richard Mendelson – recording, mixing, engineer
  • Hediki Sunada – recording, mixing, engineer


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[34] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[35] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[36] Diamond 1,000,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[37] Gold 37,386[37]
Germany (BVMI)[38] Gold 250,000^
Japan 27,980^
Malaysia 40,000[39]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[40] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[42] 8× Platinum 8,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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