Boys to remember

Love them or hate them, boy bands have been a powerful cultural force for decades. Although their songs may be initially marketed toward young women, boy bands continue to find dedicated fans among people of all ages and genders internationally.


Boyz II Men - 1980s

Hailing from Philadelphia, this R&B quartet is comprised of tenors Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris, baritone Nathan Morris and bass Michael McCary. The group’s popularity skyrocketed internationally in the 1990s thanks to its singles, “Motownphilly” and “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” These songs were soon followed by “End of the Road” in 1991, which stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for 13 weeks, breaking the previous record held by Elvis Presley. Their record was broken four years later by their collaboration with Mariah Carey, “One Sweet Day,” which was on top of the charts for 16 weeks. It is currently tied with “Despacito” for the longest reigning single hit. Boyz II Men continues to tour today, drawing audiences from around the world.

1990s - Backstreet Boys

Most famously remembered for their hit single, “I Want it That Way,” Backstreet Boys remain a music icon even today. Their success began in 1996 with “Backstreet Boys,” the group’s debut album. The next year they dropped their second album, “Backstreet’s Back.” Both were extremely popular and helped Backstreet Boys garner a worldwide audience. Over the next 20 years, they consistently released critically acclaimed albums. The band’s latest record, “DNA,” dropped in January 2019 and peaked in tahe U.S. charts. Singles like, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” helped them become the first boy band to top charts in three different decades. With over 130 million albums sold worldwide, they are the most successful boy band in history.


NSYNC- 2000s

Ironically, rejection from the Backstreet Boys led Chris Kirkpatrick to form his own boy band. Kirkpatrick gathered a group of male singers and in 1996, NSYNC emerged from Orlando. The band  soon released its self-titled debut LP, where songs like “I Want You Back” and “Tearing Up My Heart” made them overnight successes in Europe and later on, in America. With the release of their album “No Strings Attached,” NSYNC reached its peak.  Over one million copies were sold on the first day, and its three singles ranked among America’s Top Five: “Bye Bye Bye,” “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “This I Promise You.”  “No Strings Attached” was the most popular album of 2000, selling almost 10 million copies. However, the band broke up  in 2002 after Justin Timberlake and Jason Chasez both left to pursue their solo careers.


2010s - EXO

A South Korean-Chinese group from Seoul, EXO debuted in 2012 with its  EP, ”Mama.” It was soon followed by the group’s first album, “XOXO,” which contained the hit single “Growl.” It sold over 6.1 million copies, making EXO the most successful Korean group in twelve years, an honor previously held by H.O.T. In 2014, Forbes Korea Power Celebrity ranked  them as the most influential in the celebrity category. Since then, the band has  continued to be an international sensation and played a major role in the mid 2010s K-pop explosion.