'N Sync's James Lance "Lansten" Bass

The '60s had such "girl groups" as the Supremes. The '70s had family groups such as the Partridge Family. Florida-based 'N Sync are one of the latest "boy group" vocal outfits -- others include New Kids on the Block, New Edition and Boyz II Men -- that have become all the rage in the past two decades.

These bands are comprised of good-looking teenagers designed to capture the hearts of young women with their catchy pop/soul. The Backstreet Boys -- whom 'N Sync mirror in look, origin and musical style -- are another recent example of this trend.

Today is the 20th birthday of 'N Sync's "basso profundo," James Lance "Lansten" Bass, who was born in Laurel, Miss. Bass earned his high school diploma via a tutorial program offered by the University of Nebraska. He currently lives with his parents in Orlando, Florida.

Bass was actually the last of 'N Sync's five members to join the group. The seeds of 'N Sync were planted a few years ago when Washington, D.C.-born JC Chasez met Memphis, Tenn., native Justin Timberlake in Orlando on the set of the Disney Channel show, "Mickey Mouse Club."

Chasez and Timberlake spent time recording solo projects but studied under the same vocal coach in Nashville. Timberlake soon met Chris Kirkpatrick, originally from Pennsylvania, and Joey Fatone, a native New Yorker, back in Orlando -- where they all began perfecting dance moves in area clubs.

Encouraged by the excitement their dancing created, the four decided to form a vocal group. But they realized they needed someone to sing the bass parts. Timberlake's voice coach suggested the appropriately named Bass, who completed the vocal mix.

'N Sync's eponymous debut was initially released by BMG in Munich, Germany, where the band became a smash success. The LP, which included production by Denniz Pop of Ace of Base fame, featured such infectious dance-pop tunes as the radio hit "I Want You Back" and "Tearing Up My Heart." 'N Sync's success in Germany was soon duplicated in much of the rest of Europe.

Last year, 'N Sync caught on with U.S. teens, who had previously fallen for similar vocal outfits such as the Backstreet Boys. After the group's debut permeated top-40 radio, 'N Sync issued the holiday LP, Home for Christmas, featuring "Under My Tree" (RealAudio excerpt).

In February, the band issued the single "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," which also included a live version of Christopher Cross' hit, "Sailing."

A few weeks ago, 'N Sync sang backup on country band Alabama's version of "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," scheduled for a future Alabama LP.

Bass' goals include learning about music management, starting a family, driving a Toyota 4-Runner and meeting Garth Brooks.

Other birthdays: Ed Cassidy (Spirit), 75; Dick Dale, 62; Nick Ashford (Ashford & Simpson), 56; Georg Wadenius (Blood, Sweat and Tears), 54; Jackie Jackson (Jackson 5), 48; Randy Travis, 40; Mike Dirnt (Green Day), 27 ... and Ronnie Bond (The Troggs), 1943-1992.