From the 1997 world hit MMMBop to 30 years in music: interview with Hanson

By | March 13, 2023

The Shortlisted

Anyone who’s old enough to remember the summer of 1997 will smile at calling up the massive global phenomenon started by the pop-rock trio Hanson with the smash song MMMBop which reached number one in at least 12 countries including the United States and the UK, was nominated for two Grammys and became a worldwide success: the huge Hanson’s popularity started with that hit, but this didn’t turn the talented boys into a one-hit wonder.

Given their young age, people did think that Tulsa-born Hanson brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac, who were respectively 17, 14 and 12 at the time, had just started out in music back then, but their career had actually started well before MMMBop won Best Song at the 1997 MTV Europe Music Awards; five years earlier, when the siblings were 12, 9 and 7, they would already tour all the venues of their hometown that would allow performances by young kids; they would sing a capella and perform classic 1950 rock’n’roll songs like Johnny B. Goode by Chick Berry and Rockin’ Robin by Bobby Day, as well as their own music.

The first, Grammy nominated studio album by Hanson, titled Middle of Nowhere, sold 10 million copies worldwide and, in addition to MMMBop, included other amazing singles like Where’s the Love, Thinking of You and the so very beautiful I Will Come To You.

The trip has since released many other studio albums, Christmas albums, live albums and compilations, and had eventually had to fight hard to get their artistic freedom back; in 2003, after struggling fr three years to record and release their third album because of label executives who refused over 80 songs from them, Hanson said goodbye to mainstream music and went independent; their self-funded recording label 3CG Records has been recording and producing al the band’s releases since then.

They admittedly had to give up something as “there are just certain things that you may not be able to quite do at the same scale” as Isaac will acknowledge in this interview, but the freedom and creativity that came with self-determination have allowed the band’s career to develop and flourish towards excellence: they have been able to put together a loyal and dedicated fanbase in every country of the world and they have come up with meaningful projects like the double album String Theory featuring The Prague Symphony Orchestra which peaked at number 4 in the US Top Classical Albums in 2018.

And whilst May 6 – which is the day their debut album Middle of Nowhere was released in 1997 – was declared Hanson Day in Tulsa by Oklahoma’s then governor Frank Keating, the year 2022 has marked the 30th anniversary for the band which was officially founded in May 1992, and celebrations were carried out everywhere in the boys’ hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hanson’s latest album titled Red Green Blue was released in May 2022 and draws together each band member’s voice with a third of the album written and produced by each brother: Taylor’s Red, Isaac’s Green and Zac’s Blue, and their ‘persona’ singles are Child at Heart, by Taylor, Write You A Song, by Isaac, and Don’t Let Me Down, by Zac.

Hanson have also recently embarked on a world tour that brought them literally everywhere across the globe, from the United States to Australia, from Europe to Latin America and pretty much in every corner out there where hordes of women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s without their jealous boyfriends couldn’t wait to scream their heads off.

(Interview with Taylor and Isaac at the source)

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