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    Ranking the 10 Most Popular Boy Bands Ever

    Boy bands have been a constant presence in the music industry, capturing the hearts of fans with their youthful sound, harmonies, and heartthrob appeal. Over the years, numerous boy bands have risen to stardom, leaving an indelible mark on pop culture.

    In this ranking, we celebrate the ten most iconic boy bands of all time, each contributing to the boy band legacy in their unique way. From the early days of Motown to the global phenomenon of K-pop, these groups have left an enduring impact on music history.

    1. The Jackson 5 | Breakout Year: 1969


    The Jackson 5, featuring a young Michael Jackson, burst onto the scene in 1969 with their infectious energy and undeniable talent. Songs like “I Want You Back” and “ABC” catapulted them to stardom, and Michael’s charisma made him an instant heartthrob. Even after they changed their name to the Jacksons and left Motown in 1975, their music continued to resonate. “I’ll Be There,” one of their biggest hits, remains a classic to this day.

    The family group that established the ABCs of the boy-band playbook are still — and forever will be — the big men on this canvas. Even after they had to change their name to the Jacksons when they left Motown in 1975, they still had the magic of Michael. Their best song, “I’ll Be There,” became their biggest single and the last of four No. 1 hits. A memorable moment in their history was the thrilling reunion at “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” in 1983.

    2. Backstreet Boys | Breakout Year: 1997

    The Backstreet Boys achieved unparalleled success in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Known for their harmonious vocals and memorable hits like “I Want It That Way,” they became the best-selling boy band in history. Their recent Grammy nomination for “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” in 2019 underscores their enduring popularity.

    They are the top-selling boy band in history and have proven to be one of the most enduring acts. Their latest Grammy nomination for “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” on February 10 comes a remarkable 17 years after their previous nomination for “Shape of My Heart.” “I Want It That Way,” a ballad at their swoon-worthy best, remains one of their most beloved songs. At the peak of their popularity in 2000, they even had their own comic book, “Backstreet Project,” created by BSB’s Nick Carter and Marvel’s Stan Lee.

    3. Boyz II Men | Breakout Year: 1991


    Boyz II Men redefined R&B with their smooth harmonies and emotional ballads. “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You” are just a few of their chart-topping hits. Collaborating with Mariah Carey on “One Sweet Day,” they achieved a remarkable feat by maintaining the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking 16 weeks.

    They updated old-school doo-wop for a new generation with their “Motownphilly” sound cultivated at Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Their vocal abilities and harmonies set the standard among boy bands. “End of the Road,” their Grammy-winning smash from the “Boomerang” soundtrack, remains a timeless classic.

    4. *NSYNC | Breakout Year: 1998


    *NSYNC, with Justin Timberlake as a standout member, dominated the late ’90s with their infectious pop songs. Hits like “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” made them household names. Their unforgettable performance at the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show alongside Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Mary J. Blige remains a pop culture highlight.

    That would have been enough if all they did was give us Justin Timberlake. But while they only made three albums before JT went solo, they had a string of hits from 1996’s “I Want You Back” to 2001’s “Girlfriend.” “Bye Bye Bye” — and its iconic video with *NSYNC making like puppets — is one of their signature songs. Their memorable moment came when they rocked the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show with an ensemble of music legends.

    5. New Edition | Breakout Year: 1983

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    New Edition, often compared to the Jackson 5, introduced Bobby Brown and later spawned the hitmaking group Bell Biv DeVoe. Famous for hits such as “Mr. Telephone Man,” they have made an enduring impact on the R&B and pop music scene.

    Like a new edition of the Jackson 5, this Boston quintet spawned a solo star in Bobby Brown and another hitmaking group with Bell Biv DeVoe. And they get bonus points for Michael Bivins discovering and managing Boyz II Men. “Mr. Telephone Man” remains a fan favorite before voices changed and innocence was lost.

    6. New Kids on the Block | Breakout Year: 1988


    New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), another Boston-based boy band, rose to fame under the guidance of Maurice Starr. With hits like “Step by Step,” they captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Donnie Wahlberg’s acting career and Mark Wahlberg’s appearance in their “Step by Step” video added to their allure.

    Like New Edition, NKOTB was another Boston boy band that was groomed for its teen-pop takeover by Maurice Starr. And while they’ve had their individual pursuits — including an acting career for Donnie Wahlberg (TV’s “Blue Bloods”) — they’re still hangin’ tough together. “Step by Step,” their 1990 No. 1 hit, is a classic ’80s anthem. Donnie’s brother Mark Wahlberg appeared in the “Step by Step” video back when he was still Marky Mark, the shirtless leader of the Funky Bunch.

    7. One Direction | Breakout Year: 2012


    One Direction’s journey began on “The X Factor” UK, where Simon Cowell brought together five talented young men. Their global takeover, marked by hits like “What Makes You Beautiful,” extended to the United States. While the group is currently on hiatus, members like Harry Styles have pursued successful solo careers.

    Unlike other British and Irish boy bands before them, such as Take That, Boyzone, and Westlife, 1D managed to conquer the US and the UK. Formed by Simon Cowell on “The X Factor,” the group has gone on to launch some promising solo careers, especially for Harry Styles. “What Makes You Beautiful,” pretty-boy pop-rock that packs a punch remains one of their signature songs. When Zayn Malik left 1D in 2015, it was the beginning of the end for them: They went on hiatus the following year.

    8. Menudo | Breakout Year: 1981


    Menudo, a Latin boy band from Puerto Rico, garnered attention with their rotating lineup and youthful energy. Ricky Martin, one of their most famous members, joined the group at the age of 12. Hits like “Subete a Mi Moto” showcased their Latin-infused pop style.

    Originating in Puerto Rico, this Latin boy band boasted a constantly changing lineup and enforced strict age limitations during its early days. If you were 16 or older, you were considered “over the hill” and had to be substituted. “Subete a Mi Moto,” which is Spanish for “Get on My Motorcycle,” remains a catchy hit. The most famous Menudo alum, Ricky Martin, joined their ranks in 1983, when he was just 12, and said “adios” in 1989.

    9. BTS | Breakout Year: 2017


    BTS, short for Beyond the Scene, hails from South Korea and has taken the world by storm with their K-pop sensation. Their hit “Fake Love” earned them their first US Top 10 single, and they became the first South Korean artists to headline a US stadium show at Citi Field.

    Hailing from South Korea, this septet, whose name stands for “Beyond the Scene,” presently holds the title of the world’s most prominent boy band. These international sensations are credited with elevating K-pop’s presence on the map in the United States. “Fake Love,” their first US Top 10 single last year, is a testament to their global appeal. After BTS became the first K-pop act to perform at the American Music Awards in 2017, last year, they became the first South Korean artists to headline a US stadium show at Citi Field.

    10. The Osmonds | Breakout Year: 1971


    The Osmonds, led by Donny Osmond, were one of the earliest boy bands. Their No. 1 hit, “One Bad Apple,” and an ABC cartoon show solidified their place in music history.

    This spot is pretty much a toss-up between the Osmonds and two other bands of brothers: Hanson and the Jonas Brothers. But we’re giving it to Donny and his bros because they are the O.G.’s. “One Bad Apple,” their 1971 No. 1 hit, which was also the theme song for their ABC cartoon show, remains a nostalgic classic. After they had previously released music as the Osmond Brothers, Donny joined the group in 1970 and took them to another level.

    These ten boy bands have left an indelible mark on the music industry and continue to influence future generations of artists. Their timeless hits, electrifying performances, and unwavering fan support ensure their legacy lives on as the most popular boy bands ever. Whether you’re a fan of Motown classics or modern K-pop sensations, there’s no denying the enduring appeal of these talented groups.

    From the Jackson 5’s Motown era to BTS’s global takeover, these boy bands have shaped the music landscape and brought millions of fans worldwide joy. The legacy of boy bands is a testament to the power of music to transcend generations and cultures, uniting fans in their love for these talented groups. As we celebrate their contributions to music history, it’s clear that boy bands will continue to be a cherished part of the musical tapestry for years to come.

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