This precocious group of American teenagers shot to the top of the UK and American charts in the summer of 1997, with an energetic blend of Jackson 5 -styled harmonies and crafted pop/soul melodies.
The Hanson brothers, Isaac, born in 1981in Tulsa, Oklahoma playing guitar/piano/vocals; Taylor, born in 1983 in Tulsa, Oklahoma playing keyboards/vocals and Zac, also born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1986 taking charge of drums and vocals, are part of a wave of remarkably talented young performers, including Ben Kweller and country star Lee Ann Rimes, currently emerging from America.
Raised in America’s heartland - Tulsa Oklahoma - by music-loving parents, the Hansons also lived for short periods in Trinidad, Ecuador and Venezuela as a result of their father's work. Brought up musically on Time/Life compilations of classic fifties and sixties music, they began writing and performing in public as a group in 1992 when Zac was six years old, including a performance at the May Fest Arts Festival in Tulsa. Two self-distributed CDs followed, along with extensive live performances that honed their instrumental abilities.
Playing at the South by Southwest Music Convention for unsigned bands, they linked up with manager Chris Sabec, who finally landed the group a deal with Mercury Records after they had been dismissed as unmarketable by several other companies.
Their debut single, the self-penned 'MMMBop', entered the US singles chart at number 16 before climbing to number 1, and also topped the UK charts. Middle Of Nowhere followed, recorded over a period of five months with 'name' producers Steve Lironi ( Black Grape, Space ) and the Dust Brothers ( Beck ), and featured four of their own songs alongside collaborations with established songwriters, including Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill.
An exuberant blend of traditional pop and soul the album was well on the way to being one of the year's biggest sellers, aided by their hip and MTV –friendly 'slacker' image.