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Hanson: Tiny Desk Concert

Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR
Hanson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 25, 2017. (Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR)

The audience for Hanson's first Tiny Desk concert could be cleanly sorted into two distinct camps: the curious and the committed. The curious were the ones who'd inquired about whether the band would play its 1997 smash "MMMBop" (answer: nope), or wondered what Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson have been up to since the '90s (answer: touring constantly, putting out records, starting their own label, raising families, launching a music festival, developing a line of Hanson Brothers-branded "MMMHops" beer). As for the committed? They were psyched.

For those who haven't kept up, Hanson has maintained a lovingly ravenous fan base. The night before this performance, the brothers played to a joyous sold-out crowd at Silver Spring, Maryland's 2,000-capacity Fillmore — and, it turns out, some of those 2,000 folks work at NPR. (A few even had friends fly in for the occasion.) We tried to get the committed as close to the Tiny Desk action as possible, because the vibe in the room was special.

This year marks Hanson's 25th anniversary as a band, and it's been 20 years since the release of Middle of Nowhere, the album that made stars out of the Hansons when Isaac was 16, Taylor was 14 and Zachary was 11. With a greatest-hits collection just out — it's called Middle of Everywhere — this was a perfect time to catch up on a few post-"MMMBop" career highlights. That meant opening with "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'" (from 2010's Shout It Out) and ducking back to 2000 for the title track from This Time Around before closing with Hanson's charmingly infectious new single, "I Was Born."

Oh, and as the tagline at the end of the video cryptically notes: "To be continued..." We'll just leave it at that.

Set List


  • "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'"
  • "This Time Around"
  • "I Was Born"


Isaac Hanson (guitar, vocals); Taylor Hanson (piano, vocals); Zac Hanson (percussion, vocals)


Producers: Stephen Thompson, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame, Alyse Young, Nicholas Garbaty; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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