Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa's Hit Group Hanson Surprises Everyone

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa's Hit Group Hanson Surprises Everyone

Article excerpt

The new singing group Hanson seems too good to be for real: three angelic-looking brothers (aged 11 to 16) from Oklahoma with heaven- sent voices, the ebullience of the Jackson 5 and a single at No. 2 on the pop charts.

A music fan's first urge may be to dismiss Hanson as the product of manipulative parents or a record-company marketing strategy, especially since the producers of the moment, the Dust Brothers, worked on the band's new album along with songwriters for hire who have written for Aerosmith, the Righteous Brothers and Michael Bolton. But the music tells another story. Not only is the band's current single, MMMBop, infectious, uplifting and emotionally charged, but so is just about every song on its new album (its third, believe it or not), Middle of Nowhere (Mercury). And the talent seems to come from the Hanson brothers themselves.

"Our parents didn't push us into this," said Zachary Hanson, the 11-year-old. "This was our thing. But they helped us with it. They said, `I'm going to drive you to where you want to go and get you what you need.'" Like their music, the story of the Hanson brothers often seems too pat to be true: It begins in the Caribbean and South America, where the band's father, Walker, moved from country to country as an international financier for an oil drilling company and their mother, Diana, schooled the boys at home. The only music the family had was a series of Time/Life compilation records that covered the years 1957 to 1969, which may explain why the band's light pop seems like an anomaly in a time when harder-edged rap, rock and electronic dance- music are trendy. Back in Oklahoma one evening after dinner, the boys began singing and realized they could harmonize. In 1992, the three little blond- haired boys performed for the first time at an arts festival in Tulsa, their hometown, singing a cappella, finger-snapping doo-wop versions of songs like Splish Splash, Johnny B. …

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