By Craig Clizbe
This week is a big one for acclaimed actor and film/TV producer Mark Wahlberg. His highly anticipated comedy with Seth MacFarlane, Ted 2 hits theatres tomorrow, (Friday June 26, 2015). The sequel to MacFarlane’s 2012 directorial debut is hitting silver screens next to Entourage, the film version of the HBO series produced by Wahlberg as well. (2004-2011) This is happening while his brand new production for HBO, Ballers, a comedy-drama series starring his Pain & Gain co-star, Dwayne Johnson debuted this week also.
With the box office numbers Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay turned in last year to help revive the Transformers film franchise (Transformers: Age Of Extinction), and the critical acclaim he received for his performance in the gripping war drama, Lone Survivor, it looks like there is nothing Mark Wahlberg can’t do. So as the world is about to reunite with him and his animated, pot-smoking, foul mouth stuffed toy co-star, it would not be a surprise to anyone when I say Mark Wahlberg is everywhere right now! Having said that, I am sure one of the only places no one expected to see him during this busy week of running Hollywood was on a concert stage. But he even did what many considered to be the impossible and managed to stop by the Madison Square Garden stage as well.
Mark surprised the world this past Monday when he joined his brother Donnie on stage during New Kids On The Block’s two-night stay in New York City for their The Main Event Tour with Nelly and TLC. This reunion with NKOTB marks the first time Mark has appeared on stage with all five group members in public in 20 years. This momentous occasion has gotten me a bit nostalgic, and has inspired me to take you back to a time when Mark Wahlberg, the actor was known as Marky Mark, the rapper. Travel with me down memory lane to the summer of 1991 for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch.
Yes that’s right, you read that correctly. For those of you who need a reminder, before he was an award-winning actor, Wahlberg’s first introduction to the entertainment business was actually as a rapper from Boston. His journey in the music world began in a way that may surprise you, as the original youngest member of boy band, New Kids On The Block. In the mid 1980s Mark’s older brother, Donnie Wahlberg was given the task to help form the group that would eventually become NKOTB, after meeting Boston’s hometown hero, Maurice Starr. At the time Starr was best known for being the manager of R&B teen group, New Edition. He was on a mission to recreate the success he enjoyed with New Edition, after he and NE parted ways. Only this time, that success was going to happen with a group of five white singers instead of black. Donnie Wahlberg was the founding member, who recruited his little bro. Thirteen-year old Mark joined the group’s original line-up with Donnie, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, and Danny Wood. However, his membership only lasted three weeks, when he was replaced, first by singer, Jamie Kelly, and finally by the actual true fifth and final NKOTB member, Joey McIntyre.
Fast Forward to 1990, New Kids On The Block is now considered to be one of the hottest teen-pop sensations since The Beatles. At that time NKOTB was everywhere, and Donnie used his influence in pop culture to find a way to help his brother get into the music business, while also creating an outlet for himself to stretch his artistic muscles as a music producer. That ambition resulted in the creation of what became known as Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch. This group was made up of Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, Scott Ross (alias Scottie Gee), Hector Barros (alias Hector the Booty Inspector), Terry Yancey (alias DJ-T), and Anthony Thomas (alias Ashey Ace). The group that lasted officially from 1989-1993 is best known for “Good Vibrations”, the subject of this week’s #ThrowbackThursday.
“Good Vibrations” was the first single from the group’s debut album, Music For The People. The album was only the third album ever released from the then freshly founded Interscope Records on July 23, 1991. However, Donnie Wahlberg’s musical experiment proved to be a successful one for the fledgling label. “Good Vibrations” became Interscope’s first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, which propelled the album to platinum status. The track, which was also produced by Donnie, features a prominent sample of the 1980 Disco single “Love Sensation” by Loleatta Holloway. Holloway was also featured as a guest vocalist on the song, as she sang the portion of the track that sampled her original tune, which was famously written by singer, Dan Hartman. She also joined Mark in the song’s famous black and white music video.
Mark began to experience the Pop stardom that he watched his brother go through. “Good Vibrations” became a massive hit all around the world. The song became a number-one hit in the United States, Sweden and Switzerland, while becoming a Top 10 hit in Canada, Norway Germany, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, and New Zealand. It was also featured in the 1992 hit film from Walt Disney Pictures’, The Mighty Ducks.
Interscope capitalized on this momentum by releasing “Wildside”, the second single from Music For The People. It became Mark’s second consecutive Top 10 hit in the United States, and was certified gold.
Sadly, in 1992 when Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch tried to reproduce their success with their sophomore effort, You Gotta Believe, it proved to be a challenge. Mark found himself caught up in a growing backlash against his brother and New Kids On The Block, as the group’s dominance of the pop music market, led the group and all things related to it becoming over exposed.
By 1994 the craft of acting became Mark’s primary career focus with a role in the low-budget Leonardo DiCaprio film, Basketball Diaries. He began to get noticed by 1996 and 1997 with breakout roles in Fear, and Boogie Nights. He eventually collaborated with George Clooney twice in Three Kings (1999), and The Perfect Storm (2000) Some of the other notable films in his career include Four Brothers, The Italian Job (2003), and The Departed, which earned him and Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In recent years Mark Wahlberg has begun producing films that he stars in as well. Some of the most famous productions that Mark has been behind include, The Fighter, Broken City, and Lone Survivor.
His role as producer has found a home at HBO, as Mark has become the driving force behind award-winning series like Boardwalk Empire, Entourage, How To Make It In America, and now the new show, Ballers.
It is safe to say that no one can argue that Mark Wahlberg has gone from rapper, to Hollywood Heavyweight. As we take the time to acknowledge all of Mark Wahlberg’s contributions to the film and television industry, it is important to remember that none of this could have happened without the doors that were first opened by his music career in the early 1990s. As Mark Wahlberg shared a stage, with New Kids On The Block and 50 Cent’s G-Unit this week, three era’s of Interscope Records’ history were represented. Each of them helped push the development of Hip Hop and Pop Music forward, but it all started with those “Good Vibrations.” Check it out below, and enjoy!
Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch Featuring Loleatta Holloway
From Music For The People
Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch
From Music For The People