The Beatles to The Wanted: The Evolution of Boy Bands
5:43 PM PDT 4/4/2012 by Portia Medina, James Hermon, Kyleen James
Boy bands are back in a big way. With new pop groups One Direction and The Wanted topping the charts, the cycle continues as a new generation of girls swoon, shriek and, of course, tweet. Whether it's the Beatles or the Backstreet Boys or the Jonas Brothers, THR looks at music's most memorable pop outfits, from those who achieved instant super-stardom and launched solo careers to others who fizzled almost as quickly as they rose to the top.
The Liverpool quartet known as The Beatles were not only the quintessential rock band, but many considered John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star to be the original boy band -- especially in the early 1960s when young girls would scream at the top of their lungs and pass out upon first sight of the “Fab Four.”
They have sold more albums in the U.S. than any other artist according to the RIAA.
The Monkees were often called the "prefab four," because they were a group formed specifically to star in a 1966 television series of the same name. But while actors Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith did not initially set out for a career in music, their songs, released as records, reached far beyond the small screen and resulted in a number of hits, chief among them: “Daydream Believer.” The band experienced a renaissance in the 1980s when MTV began airing old episodes of the Monkees. They made headlines again in 2012 when Jones died suddenly at the age of 66.
The Jackson Five
Hailing from Gary, Indiana, The Jackson Five was a family music group consisting of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and the future “king of pop,” Michael Jackson. Ranging in age from six to 13, young girls went gaga over the group who incorporated choreographed dance moves to their soulful rock and roll style. The Jackson Five’s first four major label singles made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, including “I Want You Back” and “ABC.”
Boston-based all boy R&B group New Edition are known as the progenitors of the “boy band” movement, hitting the height of their popularity in the '80s. The original line-up consisted of Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. With hits like “Candy Girl” and “Cool it Now” in '83 and '84, New Edition paved the way for '90s boy bands like New Kids on the Block and 'N Sync.
New Kids on the Block
New Kids on the Block formed in 1984 and consisted of Boston locals Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg. An appearance on Club MTV and their second single “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles, helped keep the group on Columbia Records roster. The New Kids called it quits in 1995 after their fourth studio release only to regroup in 2008 and embark on a reunion tour. Eventually, NKOTB joined forces with fellow boyband the Backstreet Boys. The pop supergroup adopted the name NKOTBSB and toured the world in the summer of 2011.
Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass were brought together by former music mogul Lou Pearlman in 1995 to form the Grammy nominated group 'N Sync. The group went on to achieve worldwide superstardom and break sales records, moving over one million copies of their second album No Strings Attached in one day (it eventually sold 2.6 million copies its first week out).
Ohio boys Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons banded together in Los Angeles to form 98 Degrees in 1996. Their debut single, "Invisible Man," peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went gold after the release of the album 98°. The group announced a "hiatus" in 2004, but insisted that it was not a break-up. Though rumors of a reunion tour recently surfaced, Nick Lachey confirms that there are no current plans to reunite.
Formed in Orlando in 1993, the Backstreet Boys originally consisted of A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter and Kevin Richardson. Their highest charting single, “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Like 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys were formed by Lou Pearlman. The group joined forces with New Kids on the Block in 2011, with former member Richardson declining to take part in the successful tour.
Tulsa, Oklahoma brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson found commercial success with Hanson’s 1997 single “MMMBop.” The catchy tune was nominated for two Grammys in 1998, while the boys earned a nomination for Best New Artist. Since then, the group hasn't stopped working and continues to release original music -- its latest, the 2010 album, Shout It Out. The group will spend the summer of 2012 touring Canada with Justin Bieber's protege, Carly Rae Jepsen.
Omarion, Lil’ Fizz, J-Boog and Raz-B rose to stardom as B2K in 2003 with the release of the hit R&B single “Bump, Bump, Bump,” which was the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 No. one single. The group parted ways the following year.
Across the pond, Irish boys were hoping to give Backstreet Boys a run for their money in 1998 -- that's when Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan, Nicky Byme and Brian McFadden formed the group Westlife. Signed by X Factor judge Simon Cowell, their 1999 single “Swear it Again” peaked at No. 20 on Billboard Hot 100. Westlife announced that they would be calling it quits in late 2011.
O-Town's Ashley Parker Angel, Erik-Michael Estrada, Dan Miller, Trevor Penick and Jacob Underwood were the offspring of MTV’s first season of Making The Band in 2000. O-Town’s single “All or Nothing” peaked No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart.
Brothers Kevin Jonas, Nick Jonas and Joe Jonas rose to fame in 2005 as The Jonas Brothers on the Disney Channel, and have been featured in several Disney films including Camp Rock. Their single “Burning Up” peaked at No. 5 on Billboard hot 100. Joe and Nick went on to pursue solo careers, though the group is rumored to be working on a reunion in 2012.
Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson achieved fame as One Direction, a British-Irish boy band formed on the seventh season of the U.K.’s X Factor. Their debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful," won the 2012 Brit Award for Best Single, while their album, Up All Night, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Big Time Rush
Nickelodeon partnered with Columbia/Epic Label Group to produce the show Big Time Rush, which spawned the music career of the main characters -- played by Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena, Jr., James Maslow and Logan Mitchell. Their hit single "Music Sounds Better With U" was co-written by the band and music multihyphenate Ryan Tedder.
The group Mindless Behavior got together in Los Angeles in 2008 with members Prodigy, Princeton, Ray Ray and Rock Royal. Their first album, #1 Girl, debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 7.
Teen-music idols The Osmonds were an American family pop band made up of brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Jimmy and Donny Osmond from Utah. The band was hired to perform at Disneyland early in their career and went on to play a televised Disney special, which earned them additional TV spots like The Jerry Lewis Show. The Osmonds hit the top of the pops, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard song chart, with “One Bad Apple” in 1971. Donny Osmond later went on to fame with his sister Marie and as a solo artist.
Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun helped launch London-based British and Irish boy band The Wanted, which consists of members Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes. Their second No. 1 hit, “Glad You Came,” topped the singles chart in the United Kingdom for two weeks, and in Ireland for five weeks.