From Zeroes to Heroes: The year of Hanson
By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
In August, Hanson played, well, a record-breaking show in
Toronto, Canada. Trick is, they didn't set the record — their fans
The mob — mostly ecstatic young girls, of course — screamed
their way into the Guinness Book of World Records. The sound meter
at the show registered the audience frenzy at 140 decibels. The
previous record is 126 decibels, set by fans of the Who nearly two
decades ago. (Parents, fill in your own “The Kids Are Alright''
That's just one way the Hanson brothers have made noise this
When the calendar turned to '97, the Hanson boys couldn't get
arrested. They'd been on the local pep rally circuit and become
Mayfest staples, even had quietly released two indie albums, but
the Hanson moniker meant nothing to the masses.
This New Year's holiday, the Hanson family has a lot to toast.
The family's singing trio — Zac, Taylor and Isaac — has sold more
than 10 million albums and become the No. 1 pop group in nearly
every country on the planet.
Here's a look back at the past year of Hanson-mania — the
exposition and explosion:
Feb. 1 — A photograph appears in Billboard magazine with a
caption kicker that would prove all too prophetic: “Eat My Dust.''
The Hanson brothers are pictured with the Dust Brothers and two
Mercury Records execs. The caption simply mentioned that the boys
were finishing their album in a California studio.
Feb. 28 — The song “MMMBop'' is among 10 (including
Springsteen and Journey) rated by radio DJs in an issue of
Hitmakers magazine. The one-liners say, “What a great record,''
“This is great!'' and “I love this! A great record!''
March 24 — “MMMBop'' is released to radio and debuts at No. 43
on Billboard's chart of top airplay.
April 7 — A petition for majority rights is filed in the
District Court of Tulsa County in the name of Clarke Isaac Hanson,
Jordan Taylor Hanson and Zachary Walker Hanson. That means they
were asking the court to allow the boys to enter into contracts as
if they were adults (18 or older). Gotta get the legal ducks in a
May 3 — “MMMBop,'' just released for sale, debuts at No. 16 on
the Billboard singles chart.
May 6 — The full album, “Middle of Nowhere'' on Mercury
Records, hits record shelves and debuts on the Billboard album
chart at No. 9. Nearly 75,000 copies are sold just this week.
May 7 — Hanson appears at the Paramus Park Mall in Paramus,
N.J. They have to be rushed off the stage because the place was
mobbed by a frenzied crowd topping 6,000 people. “More than
Christmas,'' Isaac marveled. Fans rip the laces from Taylor's shoes.
May 14 — “MMMBop'' hits No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart.
May 26 — Hanson appears on the “Live With Regis and Kathy
Lee'' morning show. Kathy Lee is visibly annoyed.
End of May — 30 web sites are devoted exclusively to Hanson.
Early June — Hanson appears on the KHTT, 106.9 FM, morning
show with Andy Barber and sings an a capella version of “MMMBop.''
June 11 — Already the legions of screaming girls are panicking
the publicists. An editor at Super Teen magazine relays, “Danny
Goldberg (president of Mercury Records) said he's trying to get the
label to focus marketing more on boys. They love the screaming
girls, but they're trying not to lose the boy market.''
June 12 — Hanson appear as presenters at the MTV Movie Awards.
They announce the award for Best Fight.
June 13 — Hanson stops at the Frontier City theme park in
Oklahoma City for a seven-song show. The tiny venue is crammed with
people, young and old. Tulsa's Mellowdramatic Wallflowers opened
the show, playing twice as long.
July 11 — The boys perform and are interviewed on “The Tonight
Show With Jay Leno.''
July 29 — “Where's the Love'' is released as the second single
from the major-label debut.
Sept. 1 — The first two unauthorized bios show up at
bookstores: “Hanson: An Unauthorized Biography'' and “Hanson:
MMMBop to the Top: An Unauthorized Biography'' by Jill Matthews.
Sept. 26 — Sandwiched between scintillating sitcoms like
“Sabrina the Teenage Witch'' and “You Wish,'' Hanson “host''
ABC's Friday night T.G.I.F. line-up. It wasn't much — a few cutesy
remarks, a peek at the newest video (“I Will Come to You'') and a
quick harmonizing of “Where's the Love.''
Oct. 3 — Hundreds of Tulsa teens show up at school in tears
because of widespread news that Zac had been killed in a road
accident in Europe. Just a sick rumor, fortunately.
Oct. 18 — Hanson sings the National Anthem to open the first
game of the World Series. A bald eagle flies down to the plate
afterward. Some losers actually booed them.
Late October — Fred Savage, former “Wonder Years'' star, shows
up on “MTV Live'' and declares “MMMBop'' as his favorite video.
Oct. 31 — MTV spends the day airing “the scariest videos of
all time,'' such as Ozzy Osbourne, Prodigy and Marylin Manson.
Hanson's “MMMBop'' is included, introduced as “definitely the
scariest video ever.''
Early November — 150,000 web sites are devoted exclusively to
Nov. 1 — “Hanson: The Official Book'' by Tulsa writer Jarrod
Gollihare arrives on bookshelves.
Nov. 6 — Hanson wins trophies for Best Song and Best
Breakthrough Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Nov. 11 — Heard rumors that the Hansons are planning to move
from Tulsa? The boys appear on a live chat and simulcast on America
Online; when asked if they will be moving, they reply, “No, Tulsa
is home! :D'' Also, the album's third single, “I Will Come to
You,'' is released.
Nov. 18 — “Snowed In,'' the boys' Christmas album, is released
(debuting at No. 7 on Billboard's album chart) along with a video
documentary of the whirlwind year of touring, “Tulsa, Tokyo and
the Middle of Nowhere.''
Nov. 21 — They can still pack 'em in: nearly 30,000 people cram
into a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio, for a free Hanson
Nov. 28 — ABC airs a prime-time special about Hanson, in which
Dick Clark interviews the boys as if they were on “American
Dec. 9 — Hanson is first on a bill including the Wallflowers
and — get this — Aerosmith at New York City's Madison Square
Dec. 13 — The trio appears as the musical guest on NBC's
“Saturday Night Live.''
Dec. 18 — Hanson roars through “Run Run Rudolph'' for its
second appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman.''
Comments are closed.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.