New Kids on the Block? Oh, When Did They Move In?

I am going to admit something pretty embarrassing, and I hope you don’t judge me too harshly for it. Here it is: I only just recently realized that Marky Mark, of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, is Mark Wahlberg. I thought I knew Mark Wahlberg pretty well, hell, I’ve seen him in his underwear! markymark

After that, I felt like there weren’t many secrets Mark was keeping from me. Little did I know that he was once a Billboard sensation of a different kind.

“How could you have missed this,” you might ask. “Do you live under a rock?” No, but I did live under a roof where we only listened to one radio station: Oldies 100. So until 1996, when I got my first Sony Dream Machine clock radio, pop music was lost on me.

For the first ten years of my life, I was completely oblivious to the music that was shaping the childhood of everyone around me. “Do I like Salt-N-Pepa? Yeah but I usually don’t need to add it to my food because my mom cooks with plenty of flavor already.” I’m sure my ignorance of pop music was embarrassing at the time, but I didn’t even know that I didn’t know it, so I didn’t mind. Once I started understanding that people were making references to things I had never heard of because I was too busy listening to The Temptations, I started to worry. It felt a little like waking up from a ten-year coma and having no idea what had happened. Except I didn’t even have a coma to blame my ignorance on, just my love of Doo-Wop and Motown.

So I’d do my best to play along by smiling, nodding, and quickly changing the subject before I could say something stupid. Even after years of playing catch up, I still haven’t fully recovered my lost knowledge of 90s pop culture. My dark secret comes back to haunt me every time a 90s classic plays at a party or bar. “This is how we do it,” rings through the air and a collective gasp of excitement and joy escapes from the crowd. Except for me. I’m thinking, “Aw, crap,” as I brace myself for four minutes of some dodgy lip-synching and wonder why the DJ couldn’t have played “Kokomo” or “The Loco-motion” instead.

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50 thoughts on “New Kids on the Block? Oh, When Did They Move In?

  1. Thank God I’m not the only 90s kid that knows more Oldies tunes than 90s pop! Looks like we were in the same boat. I’m also inspired by your use of provocative photo and throw back picture in the post … smart!

  2. My mom listened to a station that played older oldies than typical. So we had big band hits playing all the time. Lucky for me, by the time she started that phase, I was a teenager and had my own radio.

  3. My childhood music “choices” were James Taylor or the Beatles. Stlll love both to this day though.
    I had the rare opportunity, however, to go to a New Kids on the Block concert and Donnie Whalberg had green lasers on the end of his drum sticks. Life changing.

  4. This might also blow your mind, but Entourage is based on Mark Wahlberg (Vincent Chase) and the aging clinging on to his past brother Johnny Chase is based on his brother Donnie Wahlberg .

    • I did not know that, but it explains why he is an executive producer of that show, which I learned when I IMDB’ed him yesterday. Poor Donnie. He is not as good looking, not as successful, a 45 yr old in a boy band singing about summertime, and he has a TV character based on how pathetic he is.

  5. I can totally relate. My parents listened to Motown. Today, I love Motown, and they never play it. My music alternates between the 1920s and now. Bubblegum POP will never fit in.

    Marky is hotter now than he ever was.

  6. Oldies – yes. That was my high school experience. I had a friend that went to Tonga for the Peace Corps for 4 years, then Nigeria, Afghanistan, and finally Haiti. After 7-8 years out of the US making the world a better place, I try to talk to her about pop culture, bands – heck – celebrity gossip and she looks at me so blank-faced.

  7. I think I’ve identified the origin of our friendship. Maybe our parents collaborated in the limitation of our music exposure?

  8. You’re in an open forum on the wild, wild interwebs and you don’t want to be judged harshly? Ho, boy. It won’t come from me but someone is in for a rude awakening!

    I’m STILL pissed they Photoshopped that idiot’s head onto my body. Legal proceedings have been stalled.

    Rx: Get yourself a subscription to satellite radio and start playing catching-up.

  9. So funny…..I’m assuming my the blog title you caught that Donnie Wahlberg is the same “Donnie” from NKOTB (that’s New Kids on the Block…) I feel the same way sometimes. I remember singing Four Tops songs to myself around the house, and vacuuming to Elton John’s Crocodile Rock. In retrospect it’s awkward and goofy. But somehow I also absorbed a TON of hip-hop pop culture. I watched a 90’s hip-hop retrospective on new year’s eve and realzied that I was actually a HUGE hip-hop fan in the 90’s – who knew? Should I admit that?

    • 90s hip-hop is classic, you should be proud of your knowledge! I did realize that Donnie of NKOTB was a Wahlberg later on, when they came out with that song Summertime. I saw him in the video and was like OMG is that Mark Wahlberg’s brother?! Because I had never really seen a picture of NKOTB before.

  10. When I worked for Anheuser Busch in another life, I spent 6 months in LA. One day a coworker of mine and I were buying Budweisers for people in a bar and this dude comes over and thanks us then just stands there for a minute. My buffoon of a coworker is all, uh can I help you and this guy says he thought we bought him a beer because he was Marky Mark. The coworker, whose name was Fitzpatrick says well then my name is Fitzy Fitz and no, we bought everyone a beer, so there’s no need to feel special. It never dawned on my who that guy was until many years later. Marky Mark…who knew?

  11. I so feel your pain. My parents had the radio stuck on “adult contemporary” – which translates to Neil Diamond and Carly Simon. However…. I did see Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in concert. How that one happened, I have no idea.

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