14 March 2013

Taylor Hanson turned 30 today and if he’s now feeling old, I’m feeling absolutely ancient. Hanson, the lead singer of former boy band Hanson, best known for their hit, “MMMBop,” is also the father of five kids. FIVE.

I met Taylor in late 1996, which means he must have only been around 13. I’m sorry.... this is going to take me a minute to adjust. I’m really, really not old enough for him to be 30. My friend Steve had signed the  sibling trio and was developing Taylor, Zachary and Isaac’s  major label debut, “Middle Of Nowhere,” which went on to sell several gazillion copies. He gave me an album advance and I fell in love with it over the  Christmas holiday. A few months later, “MMMBop” was No. 1 in about 20 countries.

 Initially dismissed as just another boy band,  Hanson soon proved themselves to have staying power by writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. Even though they aren’t charting radio hits anymore, they still make a great living touring all over the world and releasing new material. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary as a group. History has looked very kindly upon their craftmanship. The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll named “MMMBop” the best single of the year. VH1 ranked it at No. 20 on the channel’s “100 Greatest Songs of the ‘90s.” 

Taylor and I still talk on occasion, usually when the band has something new to promote, and I feel almost materteral toward him. (Isn’t that a horrible word? It’s the female equivalent of avuncular, which is a much better and more common term). He indulges my “remember when I met you in the conference room at Mercury Records” nostalgia and I’m reminded that he is very, very much an adult now, even though I still tend to think of him as such a nice boy.  His voice has even dropped. 

Still, it just felt shocking to see that he’d hit 30 today. According to his most recent tweet, he’s having no such adjustment issues and is enjoying the day on a cruise in Miami with the family.

All these years later, “MMMBop” makes me smile when I hear it, but if I ever need a quick pick-me-up, I also watch this video, which is one of the best things ever made and essential viewing for any Craig Ferguson fan. Really. Seriously. 

In honor of Taylor’s big day, today’s $10 goes to Talk The Walk, a charity that fights against poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. The brothers have long supported the non-profit, which raises money by people pledging money for every mile they walk barefoot.  The trio went to Africa in 2007 and was struck by the level of disease and how uncomplicated some of the solutions were.  The band organizes barefoot walks and invites fans before the show to walk a mile with them without shoes and teaches them how they can help by providing a pair of shoes or help build a well in Africa. 

My $10 went to purchasing SMS credits for an HIV/AIDs infected patient to text her doctor, the main ways those in extreme poverty in South America, communicate.

March 14: Take The Walk 

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