The truth is, all the Beverly Hills, 90210 stars (above, clockwise from top right: JASON PRIESTLEY, JENNIE GARTH, SHANNEN DOHERTY and LUKE PERRY) are past their Clearasil years, but that’s hardly the point. Their weekly tale of upscale angst is watched by more teens than any other series on TV; along the way they’ve spawned a merchandising bonanza, a spin-off (Melrose Place) and widespread fan devotion. And why not? Theirs is a high school shot through the lens of adolescent longings: 100 percent hormone, no homework and cool clothes.
All sinew and flash, M.C. HAMMER sold 8 million albums in 1990 alone, then went on to pitch cola and high-tops on TV. Other rappers dissed him for being too clean, but M.C. was unfazed: “I have never succumbed to peer pressure, and that’s why I’m M.C. Hammer.” A year later he was just Hammer, still Too Legit to Quit.
The pop duo known as Nelson not only have solid-gold platinum locks but a pedigree to match. Identical twins GUNNAR (above, left) and MATTHEW, 24, are the offspring of Rick Nelson and the grandsons of parental paragons Ozzie and Harriet. They notched a No. 1 hit in 1990 with “Love and Affection” but have no plans to resurrect any of their dad’s tunes. “Nobody can do Ricky Nelson better than Ricky Nelson,” Matthew has said. “Anything we could do would be a parody.”
No way—two babe-aholic, frenzy-haired local cable jockeys, teen idols? Way. Wayne and Garth proved themselves worthy to the tune of $120 million in Wayne’s World, this year’s surprise movie smash. Hatched three years ago on Saturday Night Live by MIKE MYERS (left) and DANA CARVEY, the dudes are worshiped by everyone from metalheads to Madonna, who tried to justify her love for them during an SNL sketch. Their most potent weapon? One exceptionally excellent word that we’ll resist repeating here—Not.
Who cares if their name sounds like a law firm? They’ve been called cultural heroines for vulnerable teenage girls and, let’s face it, they’ve also been called really cute. What’s certain is that WILSON PHILLIPS is the hottest girl group going, with two hit albums full of soul-searching pop songs and those sexy videos that showcase Chynna Phillips (top left) and sisters Carnie (bottom left) and Wendy Wilson. “We’re really square,” Carnie once insisted. Sure.
His dead-on Nicholson number in 1989’s teen-angst hit Heathers fixed CHRISTIAN SLATER as Hollywood’s hip-pest bad boy. A year later Pump Up the Volume further amplified his appeal. “I’m very mischievous,” he once bragged. Just like Jack.
Riding the crest from MTV to sold-out concerts to his own hit sitcom, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, WILL SMITH is prime time’s reigning rapper. Freshly married to songwriter Sheree Zampino, the G-rated rap star (named in a recent poll as the celebrity whom kids want as President) has proclaimed, “I wanted to make music my mother could listen to.”