Boy Band Breakdown
From The Beatles to One Direction and everything in between
Boy bands have been a fixture in the music industry for as long as our generation can remember. Although the genre has seen its share of highs and lows, there has barely been a time when groups of attractive males didn’t dominate the charts.
From the genuinely talented and eternal icons, The Beatles, to the latest British export, One Direction, the boy band craze has showed no signs of slowing down.
Beatlemania in America began with their 1964 debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. From the members’ distinct charm to the group’s innovative sound, the band quickly stole millions of girls’ hearts. Unlike most of their predecessors, The Beatles created a lasting impact. An entire generation mimicked their style and perspective of the world, and eventually all four members became music legends, both individually and collectively.
After the incredible success of The Beatles, manufacturing boy bands became a popular trend. Music executives wanted to replicate the mayhem, leading to the formation of The Monkees. They experienced short-lived success in 1967 with hits “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer.” The Jackson 5, with lead singer Michael Jackson, became an instant sensation with “I Want You Back” in 1970. This marked the beginning of the “Hot 100” era, established by Billboard Magazine. “I Want You Back” reached the No. 1 position on the pop singles chart that year.
Boy bands began to gain steam again in the 1980s when New Edition and New Kids on the Block stepped on the scene. This paved the way for the 1990s boom, when boy bands gained an irrevocable amount of momentum once again.
The arrival of the Backstreet Boys in 1993 marked another high for the boy-band craze. Their boyish charm and dance moves were unforgettable, and BSB quickly rose to the top of the charts. Songs such as “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “I Want It That Way” became pop anthems sung and screamed by millions for a large portion of our generation’s youth.
Three years after BSB made their debut, ‘NSYNC rose to the top. However, it was the group’s 1998 hit, “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” that put them on the map. Their success continued into 2000 with the release of the album “No Strings Attached,” featuring ‘NSYNC’s most popular song, “Bye Bye Bye.” Their looks, harmony and dance moves added a longevity to this chapter of the boy-band phenomenon.
Across America, groups of friends were divided over which band was the best looking and more talented – BSB or ‘NSYNC.
“The Backstreet Boys were my favorite because the members are super cute and their sound was poppy,” sophomore Rachelle Sirois said. “‘NSYNC just seemed like they were trying to copy them.”
After a few dead years in the early 2000s, boy bands are making a comeback. Since BSB and ‘NSYNC, pop culture has seen The Jonas Brothers make their mark on the music industry. The trio, along with their earlier predecessors, Hanson, brought a side of the boy band world that had yet to be revealed: actual instrumental talent. Both trios became known for their poppy love songs and playing instruments on stage, a first for this realm of music.
Today, British exports One Direction and The Wanted are igniting a massive fire with chart-topping anthems like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Glad You Came,” respectively. One Direction just announced the release date of its sophomore album (Nov. 13) and The Wanted has been slowly climbing the charts.
“I kind of feel indifferent to the whole boy-band craze that’s going on right now,” Sirois said. “There are some good songs that are coming out of it, but overall, I don’t think much of it.”
Celebrity gossip websites, such as E! Online and Perez Hilton, have been gushing over the fact that the Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers and New Kids on the Block are currently recording new music, all rumored to debut in 2013. Hanson has also been on a two-year promotional tour of its 2010 release, “Shout It Out.”