Who's willing to admit that they like Hanson? Anyone? Okay, I'll be first. I like Hanson. I mean, I like Hanson enough that I very well may snag a ticket to their concert when they come to the Fillmore in Philadelphia on September 28. Really. Because Mmmbop is one of the all time great songs. Really. It's really one of the best songs ever recorded. And I'm perfectly willing to admit this. It's pop. It's catchy. And you know that you love hearing it every time that it pops up on the radio or on your Spotify playlist. Right?
Hanson started out as a three-brother a cappella group in 1992. The brothers, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, all were pianists, but the oldest brother, Isaac, eventually started playing the guitar, and Zac, the youngest, took up the drums, while the middle brother, Taylor, remains as the group's keyboard player. Mmmbop, released in 1996, and included on the 1997 hit album, Middle of Nowhere, was a huge, huge hit, and boomeranged (yes, I said "boomeranged" because the group's first release was called Boomerang) the boys to huge pop star status. And in 1998, Hanson received Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
After that? Well, they kind of fell off the map - - at least in terms of being huge pop stars. Part of their retreat may have been because the cute, long-haired blonde boys (that description applies to at least the two younger brothers) grew up, and, although they kept recording, their young boy band magic was hard to sustain. But they did record some good songs, and they've certainly managed to remain professional musicians with a healthy following.
Hanson is very much still around. They're embarking on a new tour now, which they are calling the Middle of Everywhere 25th Anniversary Tour (since it's been 25 years since the group was formed). Which means that the cute young drummer, Zac, is now 31. And the cute keyboard player, Taylor, is now 34. And the maybe less cute guitarist, Isaac, is now 36. The boys have grown up. But they still sound good. And, if I can make it, I'll be at the Fillmore in Philadelphia on September 28
This post probably should have waited to appear until May 6, because May 6 is "Hanson Day." Why? Because Middle of Nowhere was released on May 6, 1997, and the then-governor or Oklahoma (Frank Keating) declared May 6, 1997, as Hanson Day. And loyal Hanson fans around the globe still recognize May 6 every year as Hanson Day. And who am I to object?
To honor Hanson a few weeks ahead of Hanson Day, let's not do the obvious and feature Mmmbop, but let's feature my next favorite Hanson song, Penny and Me, which was released as part of an album called Underneath in 2004. And, even though Hanson was not quite the sensation that it was (they were?) during the Mmmbop days, Penny and Me did reach number two on one of the Billboard charts.
So, here it is: Hanson doing Penny and Me in a radio studio performance in 2010.