A few months ago E (Entertainment) Channel had a program entitled “The 15 Awesomest Boy Bands.” An hour-long special, it featured interviews and clips of all the groups. The groups (in order from 15 to 1) were: The Wanted, Color Me Badd, O-Town, Menudo, LFO, Take That, Hanson, 98 Degrees, Jonas Brothers, One Direction, Boyz II Men, New Edition, New Kids on the Block, NSync and Backstreet Boys.
The most surprising ranking was One Direction. They are a relatively new band,, so I was surprised to see them that high. But this list got me to thinking of who they left off. So here is my list of more boy bands that should be recognized:
- Duran Duran
How this group was left off the E countdown I will never know. During their heyday in the 80’s, they were everywhere…tons of magazine covers, posters and merchandise. They totally embraced the idea of the music video, and saw their career take off as a result. Years of touring and recording have made them a better band. Essential songs: “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World.”
- Big Time Rush
This quartet currently stars in their own self-titled sitcom on the Nickelodeon channel. Campy, for sure, the guys play fictional versions of themselves trying to make it in Hollywood. They have released 2 albums, and have done some major touring this year. Essential songs: “Til I Forget About You” and “The City Is Ours.”
This Irish quartet (once a 5 person group) came out the same time as BSB and NSync. They didn’t make a splash the way the other groups did, at least in the US. They are mainly known for love songs. Great vocal harmonies… they have dueted with Diana Ross and Mariah Carey. Unfortunately they broke up this year. Essential songs: “Swear It Again” and “Flying Without Wings.”
- BB Mak
This trio from England was also part of the Teen Pop boom of the early 2000’s. They were signed to the Disney label. What set them apart, was that they played their own instruments and wrote their songs too. They only made 2 albums. Essential songs: “Back Here” and “Still on Your Side.”
Five guys from England, also part of the Teen Pop boom of the late 90’s. Signed by Simon Cowell, they had a bit more attitude and had a multi-cultural flavor to them. Essential songs: “When the Lights Go Out” and “Slam Dunk the Funk.”
- Boy Zone
One of the most successful bands in the UK and Ireland with approximately 20 million records sold by 2010 worldwide. Famous for having an out gay member of the group, Stephen Gately, who has since passed away. They never crossed over to the US though. Essential songs: “No Matter What” and “Gave It All Away.”
- Bay City Rollers
The Rollers were a Scottish pop band whose popularity was highest in the 1970s. They were the “tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh”, and were guided to US success by Clive Davis. Essential songs: “Saturday Night” and “I Only Want to Be with You.”
OK, so they were a duo and not a group. George Michael and Andrew Ridgely first came on the seen as “Wham U.K.” — I even have the first album with that name. Who can forget the video for “Club Tropicana” with George in a white Speedo. But when they dropped “UK” on the second album, and took on a pure pop sound, they took off like crazy. Essential songs: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “I’m Your Man.”
- Go West
Another duo from England with a short shelf life. They had some catchy dance-pop songs, and some cool videos too. Essential songs: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Faithful.”
So that’s it. Did I forget anyone? I know, you are probably saying, well… what about the Jacksons and the Beatles? But they were much more than boy bands — even if they started out that way. One thing is for sure, as long as there is music, there will be boy bands.
Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. The eBook, A View from the Cheap Seats, can be downloaded from Lulu, Amazon and the iBookstore. It can be read on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.