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Boy Bands Through The Years

Boy Bands Through the Years

So...how did boy bands form?

Early History

The earliest forerunner of boy band music began in the late 19th century as a cappella barbershop quartets. They were usually a group of males and sang in four-part harmonies. Barbershop quartets were popular into the earlier part of the 20th century. A revival of the male vocal group took place in the late 1940s and 1950s with the use of doo-wop music. The earliest traces of boy bands were in the mid-1950s although the term boy band was not used. African American vocal group The Ink Spots was one of the first of what would now be called boy bands. The term boy band was not established until the late 1980s as before that they were called male vocal groups or "hep harmony singing groups".Although generally described as a rock band, the highest-selling band in history The Beatles are considered by a number or journalists "the first" or "the original" boyband, "before anyone had thought of the term." The Beatles inspired the decision to produce the 1966 television series The Monkees, which spawned the music group of the same name, formed by the four starring actors.



1950s-1960s

Although the term "boy band" was not commonly used yet, the earliest predecessors of this format were groups such as the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds which helped form the template for boy bands. The Jackson 5 were a sibilings group that established many musical conventions that boy bands follow. For instance, their music featured close harmonies from soul music and catchy pop hooks influenced as much as they were by Motown and acts like the Supremes. The group also incorporated choreographed dance moves to their performances. All members of the band sang, which is a common convention of a boy band, as opposed to having a front man and the rest on instruments; thus, no one person dominated the stage. Also a sibilings group, The Osmonds first started singing barbershop music for local audiences, before being hired to perform at Disneyland early in their career. Their appearance in a televised Disney special earned them additional TV spots, such as The Andy Williams Show and The Jerry Lewis Show.



1970s-1980s

Boston group New Edition was formed in 1978 and reached their height of popularity in the 1980s, meaning they are often credited for starting the boy-band trend, even though the term "boy band" did not exist until the 1990s. Maurice Starr was influenced by New Edition and popularized it with his protege New Kids on the Block, the first commercially successful modern boy band, who formed in 1984 and found international success in 1988. Starr's idea was to take the traditional template from the R and B genre and apply it to a pop genre.



1990s

In the early 1990s in North America, with New Kids on the Block's continued success and Color Me Badd also having success, boy bands became a continued staple of the Billboard charts. Continuing this success in the mid-1990s, most prominent boy bands were African American and had R and B and gospel elements, such as the groups All-4-One (formed in 1993) and Boyz II Men (formed in 1988). Boyz II Men are also the most successful boy band act on the U.S. Hot 100 as well as the Australian Singles Chart. Although they had success on the Billboard charts, they were not marketed towards youth but more towards adults. It was not until 1997 and the change to pop-oriented groups such as Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, NSYNC, The Moffatts, and Hanson that boy bands exploded commercially and dominated the market in the United States. This late 1990s marked the height of boy band popularity in North America, which hasn't been seen since.



2000s

Since 2001, the dominance of traditional boy bands on pop charts began to fade in the western hemisphere, although Gil Kaufman of MTV has described "new boy bands" that are "more likely to resemble My Chemical Romance, Sum 41, and Simple Plan. In North America, the Jonas Brothers rose to fame from promotion on the Disney Channel in 2008. Other boy bands like JLS and Mindless Behavior also emerged and experienced remarkable success around this time. However, apart from them, boy bands haven't seen the commercial boom experienced in the genre from the mid to late nineties in North America.



2010s

In the early 2010s, there was somewhat of a resurgence of boy band popularity in countries where the trend had not maintained, with the emergence of new boy bands like Big Time Rush, The Wanted, and One Direction and the formation of supergroup NKOTBSB which comprised members of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. NKOTBSB's success inspired boy bands who were fairly popular during the 1990s and 2000s to make a comeback, such as A1, Blue, 98 Degrees, Five, 911, and O-Town. Like 2gether and The Monkees, Big Time Rush was a manufactured act created for a television show.



Best Selling Boy Bands
1 Backstreet Boys
2 The Jackson 5
3 New Kids on the Block
4 The Osmonds
5 Bay City Rollers
6 *NSYNC
7 Menudo
8 Boyz II Men
9 One Direction
10 Take That










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