Boy bands are back in the news. We’re talking about bands that are made, not born. The ingredients: a handful of handsome young male singers with good voices. These bands first became popular in Britain and the United States but now are all the rage in Japan and Korea. Earlier this month, the band One Direction became the first British band to debut its first album at No. 1 in the U.S. Not even the Beatles did that. And in the U.S., Big Time Rush is all the rage. This week, the List looks at some of the best and biggest boy bands over the years.
- 16. The Wanted — The British-Irish boy band consisting of Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes was assembled after a massive audition in 2009 by Ashley Tabor, president of Global Talent in the United Kingdom. The band has had two No. 1 hits in the U.K. and is touring the United States.
- 15. Big Time Rush — The foursome has conquered the 12-and-younger tween market in the United States with its show “Big Time Rush” on Nickelodeon, which pulls in 6.8 million viewers. The show is about the Hollywood misadventures of four hockey players from Minnesota. The band is a product of a search by Nickelodeon and Sony’s Columbia record label.
- 14. One Direction — This band, made up of British and Irish lads Zayn Malik, 19; Louis Tomlinson, 20; and Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Niall Horan, who are all 18, is taking America by storm. Simon Cowell handpicked the group, which appeared on the United Kingdom’s version of “The X Factor,” where it came in third.
- 13. Hanson — Pop-rock brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson formed the band in 1992. Their 1997 album, “Middle of Nowhere,” sold 10 million copies. Hanson is not your typical boy band because the three brothers from Tulsa, Okla., write and play their own songs. Hanson has sold 16 million records worldwide and has had eight top-40 singles in the U.K. and six top-40 singles in the U.S.
- 13. ‘N Sync — Founded by the now disgraced Lou Pearlman in Orlando, Fla., in 1995, the band was made up of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick. The group’s second album, “No Strings Attached,” sold more than 1 million copies in one day and 2.42 million copies in one week. The group has not performed since 2004. Mr. Timberlake has gone on to be a huge star in his own right.
- 12. 98 Degrees — Drew and Nick Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons, all from Ohio, formed the band in 1996. They have sold more than 10 million records worldwide and achieved eight top-40 singles in the U.S. The band is said to be planning a reunion show later this year.
- 11. Menudo — This Puerto Rican boy band was formed by producer Edgardo DÌaz and released its first album in 1977. For the next 20 years, the band went through numerous lineups and was the launching pad for superstars including Ricky Martin and Robi Draco Rosa. The band returned in 2007 and was profiled in an MTV reality series titled “Making Menudo.”
- 9. Jonas Brothers — The New Jersey band was formed in 2005 by brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. They play their own instruments and have appeared in a number of Disney Channel movies. The band members are committed evangelical Christians and abstain from premarital sex. The group’s fourth album, “Lines, Vines and Trying Times,” sold 247,000 copies in its first week, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
- 8. Westlife — This Irish boy band, made up of Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, and Brian Mc Fadden (left in 2004), has had 14 No. 1 hits in the U.K. Across its 14-year career, it has sold 6.8 million singles, 11.9 million albums and 1.5 million videos. The band was originally signed by Simon Cowell.
- 7. The New Edition — The band was formed in Boston in 1978. At the height of its early popularity in 1983, the group consisted of Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell. The song “Candy Girl” was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. Mr. Brown went on to have a solo career and is the ex-husband of pop singer Whitney Houston.
- 6. Boyz II Men — This rhythm-and-blues vocal group was formed in 1988 and went on to sell 60 million albums worldwide. The current lineup is the trio of founding members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. In 1994, the band released its second album, “II,” which sold 12 million copies in the U.S., becoming one of the best-selling albums ever released by an R&B group. This year, the band released its 10th album, “Twenty.”
- 5. Take That — This band was formed in Manchester, England, in 1990 with founding members Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow. It’s probably Britain’s biggest boy band, with career sales of more than 8 million albums, including 11 No. 1 hits. Mr. Williams went solo in 1995 to have a huge career selling more than 70 million albums worldwide.
- 4. New Kids on the Block — The band was made up of Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Jon Knight and Danny Wood. According to Rolling Stone, the group grossed an estimated $840 million in 1990 alone. Between 1988 and 1999, the band had 11 top 10 hits, including three No. 1’s. The band has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide.
- 3. The Jackson 5 — During their 6-year Motown tenure, the Jackson 5, made up of brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael Jackson, were one of the biggest pop-music phenomena of the 1970s. In the band’s heyday from 1969 to 1971, it scored six top-10 songs, including four consecutive No. 1 hits. Michael went on to have a huge solo career and died in 2009 at age 50.
- 2. Monkees — This made-for-TV band debuted in 1966 with a popular TV show. The quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork and Englishman Davy Jones, who died this year at age 66. Their albums and singles have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. Between 1966 and1968, the band had six top-10 songs, including No. 1 hits “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer.”
- 1. The Backstreet Boys — The band was formed in Orlando, Fla., in 1993 by Lou Pearlman, who held an open casting call. The group, made up of Nick Carter, A.J. McLean, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough, made its very first performance at SeaWorld Orlando in May 1993. It is the top-selling boy group of all time, having sold more than 130 units worldwide. The band had eight top-10 hits in the U.S. between 1997 and 2000, most notably “I Want It That Way.”
Note: People would argue that the Beatles was a boy band. But while packaged and put together, they formed themselves and did many gigs in Germany before Brian Epstein took them over. The Beatles wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, as did the Osmonds, not included on this list. A special mention for Boyzone.
Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Canwest News Service, South China Morning Post, Palm Beach Post, theofficialcharts.com, top40.about.com, People magazine, Wikipedia, New York Times and Entertainment Weekly
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