With all the One Direction and The Wanted boy band fuss, an entire generation of kids (namely, 12-old-girls) have no idea that boy bands have been around forever.
Technically, we could argue that boy bands started with The Beatles or even the Jackson Five, but let’s start with the late 70’s and New Edition, stop off in the eighties with New Kids On The Block, spend some time in the boy band era of the 90’s and breeze through the 2000’s, because let’s face it, boy bands died off a little bit in the late 2000’s.
New Edition: R&B group New Edition paved the way for the modern face of boy bands. They wore matching outfits, they did choreography, and for the late 70’s these guys were practically geniuses. “Singing and Dancing!? Standing in a line? Someone get MTV on the phone!” They were known for their hits “If It Isn’t Love” and “Candy.” Also, Whitney Houston’s ex Bobby Brown got his start in this band.
New Kids On The Block: These guys may have sang about “Hangin’ Tough but they were anything but. These five boys from Boston formed in the early 80’s but didn’t reach fame until the late 80’s. However, they did wear leather jackets, so that’s pretty tough. If you were born after 1992, you might know them as those old guys that went on tour with Backstreet Boys last year.
Backstreet Boys: Formed in 1993, Backstreet Boys ushered in the most popular era of boy bands. Technically these guys are still touring, but I’d like to remember BSB circa 1996-2000. They are actually the best-selling boy band of all time, selling over 130 million records worldwide. Their best albums are arguably “Backstreets Back” (1997) and “Millennium” (1999). Some of the dudes dealt with drug problems, Kevin Richardson dropped out for a few years, they released a hit single in 2005, and now they are apparently recording a new album.
N’ SYNC: Deciding to ride the success of Backstreet Boys, N’ SYNC was formed, because everyone knows that boy bands are made in factories. The boys hired BSB manager Johnny Wright. They had insane success, their groundbreaking album being “No Strings Attached,” but it was clear that society was playing favorites and Justin Timberlake was the clear standout performer. The band went on a “temporary hiatus” in 2002, but we all know how that played out.
LFO: LFO was another band that tried to capture the success of BSB and N’ SYNC, but aside from their hit song “Summer Girls” this group never really took off past their 15 minutes of fame in the mid 90’s.
98 Degrees: Even though they jumped on the boy bandwagon a little late in the game (1997! Basically the end of the era!) this band was the closest to coming near to N ‘SYNC levels of fame. These guys shot to fame when their song “True To Your Heart” was featured in the Disney flick “Mulan.” Strangely enough, Christina Aguilera got her start with her “Mulan” soundtrack single too.
Westlife: This was Simon Cowell’s first attempt at forming a boy band. This Irish boy band was hugely popular in the UK and made a name for themselves in the late 90’s when they opened for BSB in Ireland. Unfortunately, they never reached crossover appeal in the US.
O-Town: Thanks to the MTV show “Making The Band” – O-Town was formed in 2000. Their singles “Liquid Dreams” and “All or Nothing” were technically hit songs, but I’m a child of the boy band era and I don’t remember them being THAT popular. They were kind of like the boy version of Danity Kane…you’ve heard of them, but can’t hum any of their songs.
Dreamstreet: This super young boy band launched at the turn of the century, unfortunately everyone was “over” boy bands by this point. The boys were all under the age of 14 and the only successful thing they did was launch the career of Jesse McCartney, but then again, what’s he doing now? Exactly.
B2K: Even though they formed after boy bands were started to becoming unpopular, these guys were a hit for a few years because of their pop-meets-R&B flavor. Their greatest hits were “Uh Huh,” and “Gots Ta Be” and wow, I never realized how bad at spelling this band was? The most famous member to come out of B2K was Omarion.