More than 20 years after its release, “Bye Bye Bye” remains one of ‘NSync’s most successful songs — but not everyone in the group was sure it would be a hit.
Joey Fatone exclusively tells Us Weekly that he thought the 2000 single was a “cool song” but “didn’t know it was going to be as big as it was.”
“Of course when you’re hearing it in the studio, you’re hearing everything raw or you’re not hearing it completely mixed,” Fatone, 46, says in the latest episode of “Anatomy of a Song,” taking a walk down memory lane with fellow band member Lance Bass and Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean. “Then when you hear it on the radio … it just sounds better.”
Fatone and Bass, 44, reunited with bandmates Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick at the 2023 VMAs in September before dropping “Better Place” — their first song in over two decades. While reflecting on the group’s path to success, Bass tells Us he had high hopes for “Bye Bye Bye” from the very beginning.
“The first time I heard that demo, I knew it was something,” he admits, taking the opposite stance of Fatone. “It was the first time in the studio that as I was live singing a song, I knew that this was going to be a single.”
Bass recalls previously passing on a song that ultimately went to the British group 5ive — “When the Lights Go Out” — because “it just didn’t feel like us.” When ‘NSync first heard “Bye Bye Bye,” however, they immediately loved it. “I remember recording it in Sweden with the guys,” says Bass. “It was an incredible moment.”
The lead single from their 2000 album, No Strings Attached, “Bye Bye Bye” was nominated for two Grammys — including Record of the Year — and racked up three trophies at the 2000 VMAs. The iconic music video shows the band members dancing while attached to strings that are being controlled by a female puppeteer.
As a peer in the field of ‘90s boy bands — and a fan of ‘NSync — McLean recognizes the success of the single and its music video. “In my opinion, as a fan, that song, that video, that choreography … is their Backstreet’s Back,” he tells Us, referencing his own band’s 1997 hit before demonstrating their dance moves. “Everybody knows this move. That’s a staple, throughout history.”
Along with Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris, Fatone, Bass and McLean are getting in the holiday spirit by teaming up for The Children’s Place Holiday Boy Band Campaign. As fathers now, the former boy-banders are showing how they celebrate the holidays with their families, showcasing their Children’s Place collection of pajamas and graphic tees in a festive ad.
“I’ve been shopping at Children’s Place for years for my daughters,” says McLean, a father of two. “This has been an awesome experience and we’re honored to be doing this with Children’s Place.”
The ‘90s heartthrobs are happily embracing their roles as dads in the new holiday campaign. “It’s for our families, it’s for our kids,” Bass tells Us. “To be able to work with our kids in such a fun way … it’s magical that we’re able to do that.”