America loves its boy bands. We love the music, sure, but we also love everything else: the group chemistry, the dancing, the personality types (“Harry’s the cute one”) and, of course, the inevitable break-up and ensuing solo careers. The late ‘90s and early ‘00s were undoubtedly the prime years with acts like the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC swooning their way to the top of the charts. The roots of the genre date back as far as the ‘60s with The Jackson 5 (and one could argue, The Beatles) setting the foundation for the genre *NSYNC and New Kids on the Block would one day occupy. With the split of One Direction, there appears to be a vacuum in the genre. ABC attempted to manufacture the next hit boy band this past summer with its new music competition show, Boy Band. We’ll see if they succeeded with winners, In Real Life, but the show itself garnered mixed results. Follow us at No Coast Bias as we examine and commemorate the boy band’s place in American music’s past, present, and future.
Back in the 60’s we had the Jackson 5 & the Osmonds, in the 70’s & 80’s Menudo, New Edition, and New Kids on the Block rules the air waves, then in the 90’s the explosion really happened and we had so many boy bands we didn’t know what to do with them.
These young men were selling millions of records and packing stadiums all across the world and Teen Bops were flying off the shelves. The battle of who was number one usually lied between The Backstreet Boys & NSYNC but trust me there was plenty to choose from.
As the solo careers took off and the background guys faded out of the lime light we were left with a “void” until recently thanks to the Jonas Brothers and guys from One Direction, but nothing will be like it was in the late ‘90s early ‘00s. In honor of boy band week here at No Coast Bias I decided to list off my personal top 10 boy bands. Enjoy….or disagree whatever you prefer.
Dream Street- Jesse McCartney’s short lived boy band just doesn’t have enough of a run to really make the list, but it gets a nod for being his launch pad.
Blue- Only reason these guys made it this far is because “U Make Me Wanna” was our song back in high school.
Soul Decision- “Faded” is a great song (fight me) but the rest of their catalog is pretty bad if memory serves me correctly.
2Gether– This movie came out at the height of my personal boy band craze. I remember buying both CD’s that came out the soundtrack for the movie & the show that followed it. I was a big Mickey Park fan…go figure. I’ve been begging MTV to release the movie and show on DVD or at the very least a streaming service for years, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. These guys might not have been actually musicians but honestly how many boy bands were?
98 Degrees- These guys were always Backstreet Boys lite to me. I’m not sure why, since they clearly had more R&B influence then BSB. They had a handful of hits like “Because of You”, “Hardest Part”, & “I Do” that still find their way into rotation.
O-Town- First and only mainstream boyband to feature someone with the name Dan, so instantly I was a fan. Not to mention anyone one who can put out a catchy song about having a wet dream is A-Okay in my book. These guys are still putting out music reminiscent to when they came on the scene so I’ll give them the nod here.
B2K- Without B2K we would have never been blessed with You Got Served, that alone gets them on my list. Now included “Why I Love You” into the mix and I’m starting to question if I should have placed them even higher on the list.
New Edition– These guys paved the way for the boy band craze in the 80’s and I’m not sure they get the credit for it now like they used to. “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now”, and “Mr. Telephone Man” are all classic and belong on any playlist.
Semi Main Event
LFO- Personally this is my favorite boy band of all-time and probably the reason they’ve made it this far on the list. I would have thrown them at number 1, but I’m a realist. “Summer Girls”, “Girl on TV” & “Westside Story” might be my favorite trio of songs ever written about Jennifer Love Hewitt. Rich Cronin left this earth way too early and if you ever get the chance go back and listen to his interviews on the Howard Stern Show.
New Kids on the Block- I had all the merch, from fanny packs to color books. Between these guys, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & wrestling my childhood was complete. The stupid sideways leg dance is still a go-to move for me when everything else fails.
NSYNC- Growing up I was an NSYNC guy for two reasons. One I loved everything about Justin Timberlake, and still kind of do, and two Chris Kirkpatrick’s silly pineapple looking hair. I wanted that hairstyle so bad for someone reason. Between him and Road Dogg Jesse James I thought I could pull that off…glad I was advised against it.
Back to the music these guys were more of an R&B sound vs what the Backstreet Boys were giving us. “Drive Myself Crazy” maybe my favorite track by them.
Jackson 5- First things first, this gave us Tito Jackson…oh and his little brother Michael too. They are also the OG’s of the boy band game, basically making this genre what it is today. These guys gave us hits before we were even alive to know what was going on. Some of the first songs I sung along with as a kid was the Jackson 5 and clearly it helped shape my musical interest.
Backstreet Boys- These guys have had the longest tenure, they put out seven albums that reached the top 100, put out countless hits, and are still selling out tours. While they may have never been my favorite there is no denying that they’ve done enough to earn the top spot and the Boy Band Championship.
There you have it, my personal 10 greatest boy bands of all-time. If you’d like to tell me how great of a job I did or complain how I left the Osmonds off the listen feel free to tweet me @DanielSoden