BSB Beginnings – The Tarnished Legacy of Tell Me That I’m Dreaming

Tell Me That I’m Dreaming
Say you’ll never leave me…

This song is probably the most well known of any of the Backstreet Boys’ earliest songs. Mainly due to the fact that this song was the sole survivor to get an official release. Yes it was only as a b-side to We’ve Got It Going On but it made it further than any other track.The rest of them got ditched pretty quickly because as Kevin says in the BSB documentary, the music was subpar. Definitely not arguing that one. Thank goodness Denniz Pop and Max Martin came along. But…did you know that when Lou was forming NSYNC to be the Pepsi to BSB’s Coke…that he was having them sing this song too?

Yup. There’s an easily found video of it on YouTube. The mp3 of the studio recording exists somewhere too. I only know this cause years ago I found it by accident looking for the BSB version. Absolutely enough to make me go what the hell and never quite forgot it. That I couldn’t find anymore when I tried to link it for this post. But I know it’s out there. If someone has it, upload it and share in the comments!

If you do your home (which I did for NSYNC because admittedly I don’t know their roots like I do for Backstreet), this was their first performance together as a group at Pleasure Island in Orlando. after using Justin and JC’s Mickey Mouse Club fans to attract a crowd. Which was pretty damn smart to use their built in fanbases to grow one for the group. One of a few ways NSYNC was luckier than Backstreet if you want me to be honest. One of their songs for this performance? You guessed, it – Tell Me That I’m Dreaming. It’s a bit infuriating. This took place in 1995, so two years after the Boys had been performing this. Yes the melody is slightly faster but it’s still the same freaking song. At least the dance moves were different, because yes I compared them. Had they been the same I might’ve lost my mind, even today in 2020.

BSB performing at Star Search, they do Tell Me That I’m Dreaming about three minutes in.

Now they’ve been asked countless times how they felt about NSYNC basically coming out of their backyard. One thing I’ve always wanted to ask them myself is how they felt hearing NSYNC perform their song? It wasn’t enough they were created by Lou in their image, then had their managers, but then to have them sing their song that Howie had a hand in writing? This was before they followed BSB to Jive. I mean, I’d be angry even if it wasn’t NSYNC’s fault. After a certain point everyone is human and this is something that makes you go…really? REALLY?

Again, I know this isn’t NSYNC’s fault. It’s Lou Pearlman’s. It’s always been on him. He used the men in both these groups to make money and manipulate and a whole slew of other horrible things. I’d blame Johnny and Donna Wright as well since they thought it’d be okay to try and manage both groups. No loyalty at all. But the stain still remains on this song. Obviously this song got dropped very, very quickly. It’s a cheesy song but it’s not a terrible song. Was it the fact NSYNC in a weird way “stole” the song that made Backstreet Boys drop it so quickly? If they felt it was good enough to be put on a single as a b-side, why wasn’t it performed after 1994?

Now it could be the answer is simply…they got better songs. True. Those are facts.

But maybe this influenced it too.

Performing at a event bringing awareness to Drunk Driving in 1994. Tell Me That I’m Dreaming is 3 minutes in.

What’s even more interesting is after some major googling to try and find out more about NSYNC with this song, that seems to be the only performance I can find of NSYNC singing that song. Weird, isn’t it? Perhaps a more knowledgeable NSYNC fan can help me out here and let me know if they kept performing it for awhile after or not. With it being the mid 90’s, I can’t guarantee they didn’t do it more just because I can’t find it. Lord knows I’ve done a lot of research on NSYNC, more than I expected, just for this post. But I don’t know their history to the extent I know BSB’s history (much of which is also not easily google-able. Yes I made up a word.), so if I’m wrong comment to correct me! I wonder if they dropped it quickly before going overseas due to the fact management knew how BSB made their way over there and it’s not so great to have it look like a carbon copy. Maybe? Don’t know. This is all pure guessing.

Either way this seems to be a lesser known nugget of 90’s pop history. Most don’t know NSYNC was singing one of BSB’s earliest songs back in the day. Hell most don’t realize Chris was approached to make a group after he didn’t make the cut for BSB. In many ways this information absolutely makes the legacy of this song dim a bit. Because in the end, facts are facts. NSYNC (who I will absolutely say, unbiased, did come to grow out of just being BSB’s shadow) started down the duplicate path, down to the same song. Did NSYNC know that? Did it bother them? Did it bother Howie to learn a song he helped write for BSB ended up going to their eventual competition? Did they know? Lots of questions that we may never get answered. But 2020, what else do we have to do besides discuss things like this?

In the end, BSB won the final battle, the one of longevity. Twenty Seven years and counting..

How many other boybands can say that?

That’s right, not a single one.

4 thoughts on “BSB Beginnings – The Tarnished Legacy of Tell Me That I’m Dreaming

  1. Wow! The change in their performance and confidence between the 1993 and 1994 videos is crazy! I mean we all know how hard they were being pushed and pushing themselves at that time but wow that paid off quick!


    1. You know you’re right! I didn’t even think about that but you can absolutely put all the early videos in chronological order and you can see how much they own their performances and crafted their stage presence.


  2. This is sort of related (in the sense of really old performances of the BSB). Does anyone happen to have a video of their 1996 performance at the IX Indoor Amusement park in Cleveland, OH? I know it’s a long shot but I figured I’d ask. It was the first time I saw them. I think it was like April or May of that year. 😊


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