From Stray Kids to the recently reunited *NSYNC, 2023 has been the year of the boyband — both past and present. In an interview with Us Weekly, ’90s heartthrobs 98 Degrees revealed the other names the band almost went with when they were first putting the group together.
“Spontaneous Combustion was a personal favorite,” bandmember Justin Jeffre mused. Nick Lachey, however, opten to memorialize a different option, saying “I still stand by Inertia.” Unlike other boybands in their peer group, 98 Degrees formed themselves independently before earning a record deal. Thus, there was no coordinated label-backed effort to find the perfect name for the band’s burgeoning brand, just a lot of luck. 98 Degrees formed in 1995 and signed to Motown Records.
In a 2014 appearance on the short-lived daytime talk show Bethenny — which was hosted by reality TV star Bethenny Frankel — bandmember Jeff Timmons revealed that the band’s name actually came from someone outside of the group. “We could not come up with a cool name,” he said, naming New Issue and Just Us Issue as names were floated. “Our manager, believe it or not, had a really hot girlfriend. She was like, ‘Why not call yourselves 98 degrees?’ And we were like, ‘Bingo!’”
The name 98 Degrees refers to both what was the then-commonly accepted number for the temperature of the average human body and the steamy nature of the group’s R&B-indebted music. “We voted on it,” bandmember Drew Lachey said. “We wanted something that represented the mood and tone.”
On Thursday night (Sept. 14), bandmates Timmons, Jeffre, Drew Lachey, and Nick Lachey will reunite for the first show of their 25-year anniversary tour at Premier Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. The tour will make stops in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania before coming to a close at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in San Diego, Calif.
98 Degrees has earned four top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including the No. 1 hit “Thank God I Found You” (with Mariah Carey & Joe). On the Billboard 200, the boyband has earned six entries, peaking at No. 2 with 2000’s Revelation.