Boy bands ruled the music industry from the late '80s all the way to the early '00s, selling millions of records and touring stadiums across the globe. Then pop-punk took over, soon bowing to hip-hop and the ladies of pop who rule today. As the boy band era ended, Nick Lachey inked a reality TV deal, Justin Timberlake moved into acting, and most band members waited in the wings, ready to jump on a comeback whenever opportunity knocked.
But in the last few years, with bands like the Jonas Brothers and One Direction taking center stage, we've seen a resurgence of boy band love. In honor of our latest Billboard magazine covers, featuring The Wanted and One Direction, we bring you the best the teen phenomenon has to offer: the top 10 boy bands of the last 25 years, according to our charts*
*(scroll to the bottom of the page to read about how this chart was formulated.)
10. New Edition
Key Hot 100 Hit: "Hit Me Off" (No. 3) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Home Again" (No. 1 for one week) Though formed back in 1978, the Bobby Brown-led Boston R&B group is largely credited for paving the way for the boy band craze in that bubbled up in the '80s. The recently-reunited act saw early hits like dance anthem "Cool It Now" before hitting a grown-and-sexy stride with a big 1996 comeback, which included No. 3 hit "Hit Me Off" and its first No. 1 album "Home Again."
Key Hot 100 Hit: "Mmmbop" (No. 1 for three weeks) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Middle of Nowhere" (No. 2) Best known for their 1997 hit "MMMBop," brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson earned three Grammy nominations and 22 weeks on the Hot 100 chart for the famed single from their major label debut "Middle of Nowhere." The band left Island Def Jam Records and formed their own label in the early '00s, winning over fans again with 2010's "Shout It Out," which rose to No. 2 on the Independent Albums chart. Later this year Hanson is set to tour Canada with "Call Me Maybe" singer Carly Rae Jepsen.
8. Jonas Brothers
Key Hot 100 Hit: "Burnin' Up" (No. 5) Key Billboard 200 Album: "A Little Bit Longer" (No. 1 for two weeks) Leading the late '00s resurgence of the boy band, brother trio the Jonas Brothers shot to fame after opening for Miley Cyrus and appearing on "Hannah Montana" in 2007. They scored their own Disney Channel show, "Jonas L.A.," and starred in Disney's "Camp Rock" (and the sequel) with Demi Lovato. With four studio albums (two of them platinum), the Jonas Brothers are on an unofficial hiatus, with Nick on Broadway, Joe pursuing a solo career and Kevin enjoying married life.
7. 98 DegreesKey Hot 100 Hit: "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" (No. 2) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Revelation" (No. 2) The Ohio-born boys of 98 Degrees met up and formed the band in L.A., started playing shows and were signed to Motown to release their first album in 1997. The group teamed up with Stevie Wonder for a track on the "Mulan" soundtrack and later collaborated with Mariah Carey on "Thank God I Found You." After going on hiatus in 2002, Nick Lachey scored a reality show gig with (former) wife Jessica Simpson, and more recently, hosting NBC's "The Sing-Off." Rumors of a 98 Degrees reunion show have been making waves recently and an announcement is expected later this year.
Key Hot 100 Song: "Peaches & Cream"(No. 4) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Part III" (No. 2) With hits like 2001's "Peaches and Cream," 112 embodied the smooth R&B sound that proved so popular the late '90s and early '00s. The Atlanta quartet began on Diddy's Bad Boy Records in 1996, and their collab with Puff didn't end there: the rap mogul featured them on his Notorious B.I.G. tribute with Faith Evans, "I'll Be Missing You," which spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and earned them all Grammys in 1997.
Key Hot 100 Hit: "I Swear"(No. 1 for 11 weeks) Key Billboard 200 Album: "All-4-One" (No. 7) Harmony-driven pop-meets-R&B quartet All-4-One saw almost all of their success in the mid '90s, driven by their first two albums and one slow jam No. 1 mega-hit. The L.A. group's self-titled debut included their monster cover of country hit "I Swear," which stayed at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 11 weeks and earned them a Grammy.
4. 'N SYNC
Key Hot 100 Hit: "It's Gonna Be Me" (No. 1 for two weeks) Key Billboard 200 Album: "No Strings Attached" (No. 1 for eight weeks) Despite having one of the most short-lived boy band careers, 'N Sync was arguably the most famous, selling more than one million copies of "No Strings Attached" in a single week and working with artists like Elton John, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson and Celine Dion. The Grammy-nominated band performed at the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Olympics before disbanding in 2002. The members have all made singing and acting cameos since disbanding, with vocalist Justin Timberlake launching a very successful solo and acting career.
3. New Kids On the Block
Key Hot 100 Hit: "Step by Step" (No. 1 for three weeks) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Hangin' Tough" (No. 1 for two weeks) After riding the crest boy band mania in the late '80s, New Kids on the Block left the scene only to return for a comeback in 2008. With seven studio albums, the Boston-bred quintet has taken home two American Music Awards, hit the Hot 100 13 times, and put nine albums on the Billboard 200. After returning to the music industry with 2008's "The Block," Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan teamed up with the Backstreet Boys in 2011 as supergroup NKOTBSB.
2. Backstreet Boys
Key Hot 100 Hit: "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" (No. 2) Key Billboard 200 Album: "Millennium" (No. 1 for 10 weeks) The first group to send seven albums to the top 10 on the Billboard 200 since Sade, the Backstreet Boys not only had a trio of No. 1 albums, but they also tallied up six Hot 100 top 10 hits including well-loved tunes like "I Want It That Way" and "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)." From their 1996 self-titled debut to 2009's "This Is Us," Nick, Howie, A.J., Brian and Kevin have been snagging awards and selling out tours right up to their recent joint trek with New Kids on the Block as NKOTBSB.
1. Boyz II Men
Key Hot 100 Hit: "One Sweet Day" feat. Mariah Carey (No. 1 for 16 weeks) Key Billboard 200 Album: "II" (No. 1 for five weeks) With four Grammys and 22 years under their belts, the crooners in Boyz II Men are some of the most successful in boy band history. They've earned multi-platinum status on over 10 different albums, scored a slew of Hot 100 No. 1s including "End Of The Road," "I'll Make Love To You," "On Bended Knee," and the Mariah Carey collab "One Sweet Day." Earlier this year, Boyz II Men even scored a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
HOW THIS CHART WAS FORMULATED: This list of the top 10 Boy Bands is based on actual chart performance on the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts from January 1987 through through the charts dated March 10. Rankings are based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 having the greatest value and weeks at lower rankings proportionately less. To ensure equitable representation of an artist's biggest songs and albums, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those eras.