Boy Bands of the 90s: 15 Classic Groups
What are the best boy bands of the 90s? That’s a great question, because the ’90s produced some of the greatest boy bands of all time. Indeed, it seemed like there was a new band every few months that had some catchy tunes and amazing dance moves. In this list of the best boy bands of the 90s, we highlight some of the acts that made the decade so special.
New Kids On The Block
Any list of the best boy bands of the 90s has to start in the late 80s with perhaps one of the greatest boy bands of all time, New Kids On The Block. After manager Maurice Starr discovered New edition, he sought to find a new boy group with his business partner Mary Alford. The first member of the duo was Donnie Wahlberg, along with his younger brother Mark as well. Starr wrote most of the band’s 1986 debut album, which was released by Columbia Records. By the early 90s, NKOTB was writing their own songs and had amassed one of the biggest fan clubs, with over 20,000 members in the United States.
Key members: Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jonathan Knight and Jordan Knight
Key tracks: “Step By Step” & “I Will Love You (Forever)”
Originally formed in Orlando in 1993, Backstreet Boys released their self-titled debut album three years later. At the time of recording their third studio album, Millennium, which spawned hits such as “I Want It That Way”, they were also battling their record label owner, Lou Perlman. Despite the band’s personal challenges, it was the best-selling album of 1999. After a brief early hiatus, the Backstreet Boys recorded new music and even did a Las Vegas residency.
Key Members: AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson and Nick Carter
Key tracks: “Larger Than Life” & “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Another Orlando boy band led by Pearlman, NSYNC was formed by Chris Kirkpatrick in 1995, before releasing their single “I Want You Back”. In 2000, the group’s second album, No strings attached, which sold a million copies in a single day. With eight Grammy nominations and Super Bowl performances, NSYNC were one of the biggest boy bands of the 90s. While member Justin Timberlake went on to an equally successful solo career, NSYNC has been on hiatus since 2002 in when it comes to new music.
Key members: Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass
Key tracks: “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me”
Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men rose to fame in the 90s, as a Philadelphia-based harmony band that signed to Motown Records. Originally a quartet, the band’s 1992 single, “End of the Road”, hit a record of staying on the Billboard Hot 100 for thirteen weeks – which was later surpassed by their next two singles. Although Michael McCarey left the band in 2003, the trio toured and released new music for many years thereafter.
Key members: Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and Michael McCary
Key tracks: “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You”
Westlife was formed in 1998 in Ireland, after some of the members met at school and were in other bands. The story goes that Boyzone manager Louis Walsh introduced the members of the pop group Six as One to Simon Cowell, who kicked the members out for their looks. After holding auditions which produced new members Brian McFadden and Nicky Byrne, Westlife rose to the top of the UK charts in the late 90s and early 2000s. Despite a brief split from 2011 to 2018 , the group continued to record.
Key members: Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan and Brian McFadden
Key tracks: “Flying Without Wings” and “My Love”
5ive / Five
Five were trained in London in 1997 via auditions. Simon Cowell then signed all five members to a multi-album deal. Interestingly enough, the group also passed on the recording of “Bye Bye Bye”, which became one of NSYNC’s biggest hits. Still, Five was hugely successful, selling 20 million albums worldwide.
Key members: Scott Robinson, Sean Conlon, Ritchie Neville, J Brown and Abz Love
Key tracks: “When the Lights Go Out” and “Keep Moving”
In 1999, music producers Louis Baldonieri and Brian Lukow formed a New York-based boy band of preteen actors, originally titled Boy Wonder. However, the name was eventually changed to Dream Street, which was the name of their production studio. A year later, the band’s debut album was certified Gold, with songs airing on Radio Disney, which would help build member Jesse McCartney’s solo career.
Key members: Jesse McCartney, Matt Ballinger, Frankie Galasso, Greg Raposo and Chris Tousdale
Key tracks: “Jennifer Goodbye” and “It Happens Every Time”
Formed in Manchester in 1990, Take that were an audition-based band, after Nigel Martin-Smith wanted to create a UK equivalent of New Kids on the Block. They became one of the most popular boy bands of the 90s. After a few years of album releases and touring, member Robbie Williams left the band in 1995. Although Take That attempted to continue in his absence, they had announced a split in early 1996. Still, the band returned in the mid-2000s, with Williams even joining briefly in 2010 for new music.
Key members: Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Howard Donald and Mark Owen
Key tracks: “Back for Good” and “Patience”
Also formed by Westlife creator Louis Walsh, members of Irish 90s boy band Boyzone were selected after auditions in 1993. Throughout the 90s, Boyzone released three studio albums and a compilation, before deciding to break up from 2001 to 2007, then permanently again in 2019. Boyzone rank as the second most successful British boy band, behind Take That, according to a 2012 study by the Official Charts Company.
Key members: Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating and Shane Lynch
Key tracks: “Picture of you” and “No matter what”
A pop and R&B boy band formed by founding member Jeff Timmons, 98 Degrees was made up of college students from Ohio. After signing with Motown Records, the boy band gained traction in the late ’90s, between appearing on Disney’s Mulane the soundtrack and member Nick Lachey recording a duet with Jessica Simpson. From 2003 to 2012, the group went on hiatus, as individual members pursued various careers, including solo music, political campaigning, and reality television. Since then, 98 Degrees has steadily continued to release new music.
Key Members: Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre
Key tracks: “I Do (Treasure You)” and “My Everything”
Hanson formed in the early 90s, after the trio of Oklahoma siblings began recording independent albums. Eventually, Hanson signed with Mercury Records, to release their album, In the middle of nowhere, in 1997. The record sold over 10 million copies and consisted of Hanson’s biggest hit, “MMMBop”. The band’s hometown of Tulsa also listed the album’s May 6 release date as “Hanson day”. While Hanson still releases music today, they returned to their independent roots running their own label, 3CG Records.
Key members: Taylor Hanson, Isaac Hanson and Zac Hanson
Key tracks: “MMMBop” and “Save Me”
Seo Taiji and boys
One of the great South Korean boy bands of the 90s, Seo Taiji and Boys, won the Seoul Music Awards Grand Prix for two consecutive years. The band’s first three albums have sold over a million copies, according to Billboard. This feat is also interesting, as Seo Taiji and Boys have switched genres several times, experimenting with everything from rap, dance music and even heavy metal influences. In 1996 they disbanded. Still, Seo Taiji and Boys served as a musical legacy for upcoming Korean musicians, with BTS even redoing their hit song, “Come Back Home” in 2017.
Key Members: Seo Taiji, Yang Hyun-suk and Lee Juno
Key tracks: “Come Home” and “I Know”
Another bad creation
An Atlanta hip-hop group that was discovered by New Edition member Michael Bivins, Another Bad Creation (or ABC, for short) released their debut album, Cool off at the Ya Know Playground!, in 1991. Reaching number 7 on Billboard’s Hot 200, it also went platinum. After Another Bad Creation’s second album in 1993 did not perform as well commercially, the band eventually disbanded.
Key members: Romelle “RoRo” Chapman, Chris Sellers, David Shelton, Demetrius Pugh, Marliss Pugh and Adrian “GA” Witcher
Key tracks: “Playground” and “Iesha”
Formed in 1998 by a dance choreographer and a representative of Interscope A&R, B2K (which stands for Boys of the New Millenium) was led by a music producer Chris Stokes. After the band members made an appearance in the Lil’ Bow Wow music video and expanded their fan base, they released their debut album in 2002. The self-titled record reached No. 2 on the charts. During B2K’s singles music videos, they also featured a number of A-list stars including Will Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Naya Rivera, Jhene Aikoand much more.
Key Members: Omarion, J-Boog, Raz-B, Lil’ Fizz
Key tracks: “Bump, Bump, Bump” and “Why I Love You”
Bell Biv De Voe
Made up of members of New Edition, the R&B boy band Bell Biv DeVoe was formed in 1989. The name was based on each member’s last name and they achieved success in the 90s. Their 1990 debut album, Poison, went multi-platinum. Although the band never went on hiatus, they only released a handful of albums. Yet Bell Biv DeVoe never stopped performing or touring together.
Key members: Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe and Ricky Bell
Key tracks: “Poison” and “Do me!” »
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