Song:The Hardest Thing
The idea behind 98 Degrees is to make their sound more like groups like Boyz II Men than the more typical boy band sound of The Backstreet Boys and that would differentiate them from their competition. Though 98 Degrees had success with hits like The Hardest Thing, they weren't as successful because they sounded too much like their competition. Though 98 Degrees was formed in Los Angeles, their roots are in Ohio. In 1995, Jeff Timmons left Kent State University for Los Angeles to become a singer. Timmons is from Canton, OH. He was introduced to Nick Lachey who was from Cincinnati. They formed a group with Lachey's brother Drew Lachey and Nick's friend Justin Jeffre. Their big break came when they performed at a Boyz II Men radio broadcast and this led to a deal with Motown. The boy band sound was popular at the time but also derided as phony and superficial. 98 Degrees was sold as R & B influenced and that they wrote some of their own songs. Of course the problem was they didn't sound much different from other boy bands. So their 1997 debut CD 98 Degrees was a commercial disappointment because they didn't appeal to a more mature audience. When one of their songs appeared in the Disney film Mulan, that reached the target audience of young girls. So the 1998 album 98 Degrees and Rising was much more successful. It was certified 4XPlatinum. Because Of You and The Hardest Thing were both top five hits. The group wrote some of their own songs. The Hardest Thing was written by David Frank and Steve Kipner. Frank was leader of the 80s group The System. Kipner has been writing hits since the 70s including Olivia Newton-John's Physical. 98 Degrees' only number one hit was Thank God I Found You with Mariah Carey and Joe. That was on a Mariah Carey album. You can get it on this comp. After the 2000 CD Revelation, 98 Degrees went on hiatus. Nick Lachey married Jessica Simpson and became a reality show staple. Drew appeared on Dancing With The Stars. Jeffre unsuccessfully ran for the mayor of Cincinnati. They reunited and released a new album in 2013 and they toured with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block. They don't appear to be active right now. So though 98 Degrees attempted to market themselves differently, they were successful when they were sold to the typical boy band audience. Here's the video for The Hardest Thing by 98 Degrees.