Music Gateway
Login or Join for Free
or sign up with
Spotify icon
Burger menu
Large chevron
close icon

Music Business

The Best Boy Bands

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


Small blue and purple gradient divider


Boy bands! We all know about them and who we would class as our favorite, but are they all on our list and what makes a great boy band? We are going to list our top 10 and give you some honorable mentions as there are so many out there, past and present. Or would you even agree they still exist as they did in the 80s, 90s? We will cover this and more, so if you are on the lookout for a new year article about boy bands which have set the music industry alight, then keep reading for more info. 

What Is A Boy Band?

There is a format and it is usually the case that they are a group of male singers in their teenage years or twenties when they are formed. Love songs are prevalent across the music industry and boy bands even more so. Girls and young women go crazy for boy bands and especially when they feel like they are singing the song directly to them. I mean look at the Beatles and Beatle Mania or girls fawning over Harry Styles in One Direction! Pure, unadulterated passion for the group of singers can be just one part of the process, selling out shows and making a decent amount of money too. 

It is important to mention that the boy band’s team behind them will be in charge of their look and style, music videos and promotional aspects. Mainly, the boy band has to be relevant and people will relate to. If you nail this, then a boy band can become very well known. 

How Are Boy Bands Formed? 

So there are many ways that boy bands can be formed. A group of young boys could form their own band in their garage at home and then whilst performing live at a gig, a talent manager could pick them up and take them further in their career. This can definitely still happen and you never know who may be watching, so make sure you play your best when on stage. 

In previous years though, there have been plenty of music talent shows both in the UK and in the US – and other countries around the world – where bands will perform in front of a panel of judges, all who have been in the industry as singers themselves or as producers. The most notable shows like The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Pop Idol, have Simon Cowell on them and he has changed numerous careers just by being a panelist on the show. 

Generally boy bands do not play musical instruments whilst recording their music in studios or performing live on stage. 

Let’s delve deeper into the boy bands who really made or have made their mark in the music scene. 


In terms of 90s boy bands, NSYNC had all the right criteria for success. Great singers, they looked right and had personalities which people went wild for. It catapulted one of the singers to become a household name, a famed solo artist. Of course, this was Justin Timerlake. But he started out in the mid 90’s with NSYNC. The other band members were JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass. They were active from 1995 to about 2002. Justin has had the most successful career out of all of them hands down. In 1997, their debut album ‘N Sync’ was released in European countries and later debuted in the U.S. market with the single ‘I Want You Back’. 

With hits like ‘Bye, Bye Bye’, ‘This I Promise You’, ‘Girlfriend’, ‘Pop’ and ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ reaching the top 10 in several international charts, they paved the way for boy band success around the globe, but particularly in the US and the UK. Everybody went wild over them and they proved there was a market for this type of music. They received eight Grammy Award nominations, performed at the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games, as well as recording with the likes of Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins – to name a few.

Take That

Now I love this band and if you were a kid of the 90’s, then you would be hard pushed to not think of a single they released. They found fame internationally, and similarly to N Sync, their musical talent, but also how they looked got tongues wagging. The girls – me included  it has to be said – couldn’t get enough and their catchy lyrics, boy band energy, blatant sexuality were some of the reasons why they were a hit. The original band members were Mark Owen, Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, and Jason Orange. Back in 2017, Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen were still performing. Some of their hits included, ‘Back for Good’, ‘Never Forget’, ‘Patience’, ‘Greatest Day’ and ‘Relight My Fire’. I would implore you to go back and have a listen to these tracks, as they will offer you a sense of nostalgia. 

New Kids On The Block

When you put the words Mark Wahlberg boy band together you may not have made the connection, but yes he was part of a hit boy band in the 80’s and 90’s. Producer Maurice Starr helped to form the boy band from a talent search in boston and the rest was history. At 14 years old, Donnie Wahlberg was the first to be part of the boy and then he recruited his friends and then his brother Mark. The band consisted of Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. However, Mark left the band only a few months after they formed before they rose to fame. Apparently he left because of the rigorous rehearsal regime and he couldn;t sustain it. However, Donnie has said that when they moved to a new neighborhood, Mark got distracted and found other things to occupy his time rather than the band to put it lightly. After he left, they had hits with, ‘Please Don’t Go Girl’, ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’, ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind)’, ‘Cover Girl’, and ‘This One’s For the Children’. 

The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.

One Direction

These 5 boys – Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and previously Zayn Malik until his departure from the group in March 2015 – were made famous by Simon Cowell on the X Factor. It was an example of how when you are in the right place at the right time, you can really find success. And boy did they?! From 5 singers who had never met before and a decision made by Simon to audition them as a group catapulted them to a type of fame that only people can dream about. Even though they didn’t win the talent show, everybody knew their name and they went on to be just like the Beatles, making hit after hit and performing at sold out shows to their fans. Many of them have gone on to have solo careers, most notably Harry Styles, who even has an acting career now. Their hits include; ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Live While We Are Young’ and ‘Best Song Ever’, to name a few. 

Jackson 5

What a boy band! You will of course have heard of this group – and if you haven’t then where have you been?! The group was made up of  Tito, Marlon, Michael, Jackie, and Jermaine Jackson. Little Michael waa only 5 years old and then found fame later on as a solo artist. They were all members of the Jackson family and had hits with ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘The Love You Save’, and ‘I’ll Be There’. Their father Joe Jackson managed them and they kept performing as a band, even until 2022 where on February 18th, The Jacksons performed at the first casino venue since they partnered with Hard Rock Cafe international. On September 4, 2022, The Jacksons headlined and performed at a sold-out Weekender Festival in Jersey, Channel Islands. The Jacksons returned to Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 9, 2022 after 5 years. 

Backstreet Boys

The boy band was formed of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, and cousins Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. Lou Pearlman formed the group in 1993 in Orlando, Florida. In terms of 90s boy bands, just like Take That and NSync, they were much loved in the music industry and by their adoring fans. Even last year, they released their first Christmas album, ‘A Very Backstreet Christmas’. But their most notable hits include; ‘Everybody’, ‘Quit Playing Games With My Heart’, ‘All I Have To Give’ and ‘Shape Of My Heart’. 

In the past, the band have donated to numerous charities, such as the Children’s Miracle Network, City of Hope, Kids Wish, Live Together, and Lupus LA. And in early 2022, they surprised the young band First Day of School with a donation of $25,000 to the FDOS charities including Toys for Tots and Heal the Bay. During their DNA World Tour, they will be performing until March this year. 


This Korean boy band has broken plenty of music boundaries and are steaming ahead in an industry where what sells commercially is thankfully changing. What makes a boy band is all about the versatility and look of the band and what appeals to the younger generation. They are also known as the Bangtan Boys, who were formed in 2010. Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook create most of their tracks. The original style of their music would be deemed as hip-hop and they have been known to cover many themes in their music, such as mental health, the troubles of school-age youth and coming of age, loss, the journey towards self-love, individualism, and the consequences of fame and recognition. People relate to their music and they have many hits with the likes of ‘Mic Drop’, ‘Dynamite’, ‘Savage Love’, ‘Life Goes On, ‘Butter’, and ‘Permission to Dance’. However, in June 2022, the group announced a scheduled pause in group activities to enable the members to complete their mandatory South Korean military service, with a reunion planned for 2025. We look forward to their return. 


Another 90s boy band were firm favorites within the music scene and one that anybody growing up in that time will have heard of. They were formed of Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch. They were created as an Irish boy band by Louis Walsh in 1993. In the latest music records for the band, they have released seven studio albums and nine compilation albums. They were active until 2019, and were around the same time as NSync, Take That and BoyZone, so there must have been some rivalry between them. 

Whilst on their Back Again… No Matter What tour, they performed live to Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool, London at the O2 Arena and Wembley, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Edinburgh Castle and the RDS in Dublin. But in 2009, after their Better Tour, Stephen Gately died suddenly from a pulmonary edema resulting from an undiagnosed heart condition. It is fair to say that it changed the band forever.  

The Osmonds

This boy band reached the height of their fame in the mid-1970s and the band members consisted of Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, Donny Osmond. They were popular into the 80s and even were on tv with The Donny & Marie Show on ABC from 1975 to 1979. Their hits may not have received the largest airplay, but in 2003, the Osmond Family was honored for their achievements in the entertainment industry with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Their hits included, ‘One Bad Apple’, ‘Down By The Lazy River’, ‘Yo-Yo’, ‘Love Me For A Reason’ and ‘Crazy Horses’. 

Honorable Mentions

We couldn’t without some very honorable mentions, so please enjoy them and give them a listen today. 

  • Westlife
  • The Wanted
  • Big Time Rush
  • The Vamps
  • Ballinciaga
  • A1
  • O-Zone
  • Exo
  • The Beatles 

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it, I think we have covered most of the biggest boys in the last few years, but of course there will be some I have missed, so please take the time to go into further detail in your own time. I hope you have enjoyed going back over these legends as much as I have and seeing what impact they made in terms of the music industry. So get your headphones on, pick any of the hits from these bands and you are undoubtedly going to have a cracking day. Enjoy! 


closed button
Music Gateway Company Logo

Get started today

Join for Free