Boy bands to top the Billboard charts since 1980
Boy bands to top the Billboard charts since 1980
For anyone who grew up in the 1980s or beyond, it's hard to imagine a playlist without at least one boy band song. If you were a child of the '80s, you likely adored the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB), while those growing up in the mid-'90s or early 2000s were more familiar with the pop tunes of the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, or Boyz II Men. It could even be argued that none of these groups would have existed if it weren't for the supergroup success of The Beatles in the 1960s, bringing their signature rock 'n' roll hits to American teens in the early years of the Billboard Hot 100, a ranking of the hottest singles based today on digital and physical sales, streaming plays, and radio plays that was started in 1958.
Music fans of all ages are likely familiar with The Beatles, while today's millennials are well-versed in One Direction, The Wanted, and BTS. But what of the other bands that topped the charts and didn't achieve widespread success? Did those groups simply fade into obscurity after becoming one-hit wonders? To find out, Stacker turned to Pudding's comprehensive list of boy bands from a bank of sources last updated November 2018. The list was reduced to bands after 1980 who had a Billboard Hot 100 hit with a music video available. That list is organized chronologically in this gallery to see which was the most successful boy band of the past 30 years. Whatever happened to some of your old favorites, like Color Me Badd and Hanson? Did the groups that spawned from reality competitions succeed in their real-world music careers?
Read on to find out who recorded with the greats, who found (and lost) stardom, and who is still on top in the world of boy bands today.
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- Top-ranked music video: “Pass the Dutchie”
- Peak chart position: #10 (Feb. 26, 1983)
Musical Youth, the first African-American act to appear on MTV, had a hit with its 1983 single “Pass the Dutchie.” Their follow-up record, “Youth of Today,” was well received by critics and audiences. The group recorded with Donna Summer and embarked on a world tour; however, attempts at finding a new sound caused the band to fall apart soon after.
- Top-ranked music video: “Hold Me”
- Peak chart position: #62 (June 15, 1985)
Menudo is perhaps best-remembered as the boy band that produced Ricky Martin; after the peak of its success in the 1970s and ‘80s, the group was rebooted in 2007 due to the reality series "Road to Menudo" and "Making Menudo." While the original group had hits with such singles as "Hold Me" and "If You're Not Here (By My Side)," the new members of the group became known for songs including "More than Words (A E I O U)" and "Lost."
- Top-ranked music video: “Dial My Heart”
- Peak chart position: #13 (Feb. 25, 1989)
“Dial My Heart” was the beginning in a string of hits for The Boys, real-life brothers scouted by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and L.A. Reid. Other chart-toppers for the Abdulsamad brothers included “Lucky Charm,” “A Little Romance,” “Happy,” and “Crazy” (later used in a Pepsi commercial).
New Kids on the Block
- Top-ranked music video: “I'll Be Loving You (Forever)”
- Peak chart position: #1 (June 17, 1989)
Every American teen in the late ‘80s knew the NKOTB: Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, and Donnie Wahlberg. The New Kids on the Block became best-known for the 1988 album “Hangin' Tough,” with hit singles “Please Don't Go Girl,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” and “I'll Be Loving You (Forever),” among others.
- Top-ranked music video: “Ooh La La”
- Peak chart position: #10 (June 2, 1990)
Perfect Gentlemen toured with New Kids on the Block shortly before the release of the 1990 debut album, “Rated PG.” Unfortunately, the group faded into anonymity shortly after the release of its second single, “I Need You.”
Bell Biv DeVoe
- Top-ranked music video: “Poison”
- Peak chart position: #3 (June 9, 1990)
Bell Biv Devoe started as a spin-off group from the 1980s boy band New Edition. The newly formed group was seeking a fresher, more street-oriented approach to contemporary R&B. Bell Biv DeVoe had four #1 singles from the album “Poison,” including the title track.
- Top-ranked music video: “All I Do Is Think Of You”
- Peak chart position: #47 (Aug. 18, 1990)
Troop, which is an acronym for Total Respect of Other People, had hits like “Spread My Wings” and “All I Do is Think of You.” The group worked on several other albums together, including “Deepa” and “A Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin',” in the years that followed, but none achieved the success of 1989's “Attitude.”
- Top-ranked music video: “The Girl I Used to Know”
- Peak chart position: #27 (Aug. 25, 1990)
This British pop band shot to fame in the late 1980s after collaborating with producers Stock, Aitken, and Waterman. Top hits included “The Harder I Try,” and “The Girl I Used to Know.” Unfortunately, the group did not last long after the release of its second album, “Trust.” Two members released solo albums while another joined a different boy band.
Guys Next Door
- Top-ranked music video: “I've Been Waiting For You”
- Peak chart position: #42 (Feb. 23, 1991)
In a move capitalizing on the fame of the New Kids on the Block's real-life success, Guys Next Door was created in the early 1990s as a made-for-TV boy band for NBC's Saturday morning lineup. The band's biggest hit was “I've Been Waiting for You,” but “I Was Made for You” was notable for its catchy pop quality as well, landing the group a cult following.
- Top-ranked music video: “I Like The Way”
- Peak chart position: #1 (May 18, 1991)
R&B group Hi-Five topped the charts in the early 1990s with hits including “I Like the Way,” “Unconditional Love,” and “Never Should've Let You Go.” In 2014, former Hi-Five singer Russell Neal was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.
Color Me Badd
- Top-ranked music video: “I Adore Mi Amor”
- Peak chart position: #1 (Sept. 21, 1991)
American R&B group Color Me Badd had its heyday from 1985 to 1998, though it's since been revived. Bryan Adams, Mark Calderon, Sam Watters, and Kevin Thornton comprised the original group, known for hits like “I Wanna Sex You Up,” “I Adore Mi Amor,” and “All 4 Love.”
Boyz II Men
- Top-ranked music video: “End of the Road”
- Peak chart position: #1 (Aug. 15, 1992)
Boyz II Men was perhaps the best-known R&B boy band of the 1990s, remembered for hits like “I'll Make Love To You,” “End of the Road,” and “One Sweet Day.” The group's soulful vocal harmonies were the combined efforts of Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, Michael McCary, and Marc Nelson.
- Top-ranked music video: “If I Ever Fall in Love”
- Peak chart position: #2 (Nov. 21, 1992)
This 1990s R&B group had a few minor hits, including the title track from its 1992 debut album, “If I Ever Fall in Love.” The Washington D.C.-based group consisted of Carl “Groove” Martin, Darnell Van Rensalier, Marc Gay, and Garfield Bright, though Martin later left the group.
- Top-ranked music video: “Freak Me”
- Peak chart position: #1 (May 1, 1993)
R&B quintet SILK was known for hits like “Freak Me,” “Lose Control,” “Girl U For Me,” “It Had to Be You,” and others. The group's first album, ”Lose Control,” went platinum, and they had several successful follow-up albums, including their self-titled sophomore effort in 1995. Though their heyday was in the mid-1990s, the group reformed in the mid-2000s.
- Top-ranked music video: “Something's Goin' On”
- Peak chart position: #2 (July 31, 1993)
Contemporary R&B group U.N.V. (Universal Nubian Voices) is a quartet best known for their hit “Something's Goin' On.” Consisting of John Powe, his brother Shawn, John Clay, and Demetrius Peete, the group recorded two albums in the mid-1990s: “Something's Goin' On” and their self-titled sophomore effort.
- Top-ranked music video: “Lately”
- Peak chart position: #4 (Aug. 28, 1993)
The group Jodeci is known for songs like “Come and Talk to Me,” “Freek'n You,” “Feenin',” and others. Members Devante Swing, Mr. Dalvin, K-Ci, and JoJo started off as two separate musical duos of brothers and realized they were more successful as a group.
- Top-ranked music video: “I Swear”
- Peak chart position: #1 (May 21, 1994)
Grammy-winning, platinum-selling group All 4 One rose to fame with hits like “So Much in Love,” “I Swear,” and “I Can Love You Like That.” The group continued to perform for more than 20 years, though on a considerably smaller level, releasing a Japan-only album and a retrospective album in 2015.
- Top-ranked music video: “Never Lie”
- Peak chart position: #5 (Oct. 15, 1994)
American record executive Chris Stokes discovered the R&B/pop group Immature, a trio that included including Marques Houston, Jerome Jones, and Kelton Kessee. The group released four albums together, producing the hit songs “Never Lie,” “Constantly,” and “I Don't Mind,” among others.
Soul for Real
- Top-ranked music video: “Candy Rain”
- Peak chart position: #2 (March 18, 1995)
What distinguishes Soul for Real from other 1990s R&B groups was not the band's composition (they were four brothers), but the origin story of being discovered at McDonald's. Whether or not it's true, the Dalyrimple brothers became known for hits like “Candy Rain,” “Every Little Thing I Do,” and “Love You So,” (produced by P. Diddy).
- Top-ranked music video: “Back for Good”
- Peak chart position: #7 (Nov. 11, 1995)
British boy band Take That was inspired by the success of NKOTB, with hits like “Do What U Like” and “Why Can't I Wake Up With You.” Despite the intervention of famed Arista Records executive Clive Davis, internal drama eventually drove this group apart.
- Top-ranked music video: “Hit Me Off”
- Peak chart position: #3 (Aug. 31, 1996)
New Edition started the boy band movement in many ways, forming in Boston back in the early 1980s. They've re-formed in the past few years under the name RBRM. The group's members are recognized as pioneers of the New Jack Swing R&B/hip-hop style.
- Top-ranked music video: “Where Do You Go”
- Peak chart position: #5 (Oct. 12, 1996)
No Mercy started performing alongside Prince on his tour. Consisting of Marty Cintron and his two best friends, Ariel and Gabriel Hernandez, the group is remembered for hits like “Where Do You Go,” “Please Don't Go,” and “More Than a Feeling.”
- Top-ranked music video: “No Diggity (ft. Dr. Dre)”
- Peak chart position: #1 (Nov. 9, 1996)
R&B group Blackstreet was one of the top-rated vocal groups of the 1990s. Producer Teddy Riley, who had worked with notable names like Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown, spearheaded the formation of the group in the early 1990s. They enjoyed success with hits like “No Diggity,” “Take Me There,” and “Before I Let You Go.”
- Top-ranked music video: “Hard to Say I'm Sorry (ft. Peter Cetera)”
- Peak chart position: #8 (May 3, 1997)
What sets Az Yet apart is the number of iterations the group has undergone. There have been as many as five members at one time, and as few as two. The group's single “Last Night” was featured on “The Nutty Professor” soundtrack, and the group's latest work was their 2016 album, “She's Magic.”
- Top-ranked music video: “MMMBop”
- Peak chart position: #1 (May 24, 1997)
Home-schooled Oklahoma brothers Taylor, Zac, and Isaac Hanson were on the younger side when their hit single, “MMMBop” hit the airwaves. Specifically, they were 12, 10, and 14 years old, respectively. The family trio still plays and records music together, and celebrated its 25-year anniversary in 2017.
- Top-ranked music video: “Quit Playing Games with my Heart”
- Peak chart position: #2 (Sept. 6, 1997)
A quarter-century after the group's first string of hits, the Backstreet Boys—now all fathers in their late 30s and 40s—are still performing vocal harmonies together. Teenagers in the mid-'90s remember the boy band for such hits as “Everybody,” “Quit Playing Games with My Heart,” and “I Want it That Way.” You may be surprised to learn that the group's latest release was 2019's “DNA.”
- Top-ranked music video: “Heaven”
- Peak chart position: #27 (Jan. 31, 1998)
The members of R&B vocal quartet Nu Flavor met at a party and started performing together soon after, with a demo cover of Journey's “Open Arms,” followed by hits like “Heaven,” and “Sweet Sexy Thing.” The group recorded two albums together: a self-titled debut and their sophomore album “It's On.”
- Top-ranked music video: “Cheers 2 U”
- Peak chart position: #38 (June 6, 1998)
Playa formed when high school friends began performing gospel songs together. The group met DeVante from boy band Jodeci at a concert and was soon signed to the Elektra Records where it was part of the Swing Mob label. Fellow artists included a young Missy Elliott, Timbaland & Magoo, and Ginuwine. “Don't Stop the Music,” “Cheers 2 U,” and “Never Too Late,” were some of Playa's greatest hits.
- Top-ranked music video: “When The Lights Go Out”
- Peak chart position: #10 (Aug. 1, 1998)
British boy band 5ive became popular with the success of its songs “Slam Dunk (Da Funk),” “When the Lights Go Out,” and “If Ya Gettin' Down.” The group parted ways in 2001, but reunited in 2006, and then again in 2012.
- Top-ranked music video: “I'll Be Your Everything”
- Peak chart position: #71 (Aug. 21, 1999)
The trio Youngstown (from Youngstown, Ohio) had a hit with “I'll Be Your Everything,” which was featured on the soundtrack to Disney's “Inspector Gadget.” The group is also remembered for “Sugar,” which rose to #21 on the U.S. Hot Singles Sales chart in 2001. Unfortunately, the group disbanded shortly after, overshadowed by such early 2000s favorites as NSYNC.
- Top-ranked music video: “Summer Girls”
- Peak chart position: #3 (Aug. 28, 1999)
The trio from Massachusetts known for “Summer Girls” and “Girl on TV” (which had an accompanying music video featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt) saw its self-titled debut album go platinum. Sadly, the Lyte Funky Ones are down to just one member, as Devin Lima passed away in 2017, following the death of Rich Cronin in 2010—both from cancer.
- Top-ranked music video: “Get Gone”
- Peak chart position: #13 (Nov. 20, 1999)
Following the success of the New Jack Swing movement, the group Ideal emerged as a post-New Jack Swing quartet. Their greatest hit was the #2 R&B single “Get Gone” in 1999, but the group also enjoyed success with “Whatever,” achieving gold status on its album before disbanding.
- Top-ranked music video: “Stay The Night”
- Peak chart position: #23 (Jan. 8, 2000)
Following a decade of success as Immature, the group rebranded as IMx in 1999 and had a hit with “Stay the Night” in late 1999. Other singles from the two albums the band recorded together included “Ain't No Need,” “Keep it Low,” and “In & Out of Love.” The group broke up in 2002.
- Top-ranked music video: “Swear it Again”
- Peak chart position: #20 (July 1, 2000)
Irish boy band Westlife had success in the early 2000s with singles “Flying Without Wings,” “Fool Again,” and “Unbreakable.” Each member went on to have a solo career after the group split up in 2012. In 2018, four of the original five members announced plans for a reunion.
- Top-ranked music video: “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”
- Peak chart position: #6 (July 22, 2000)
Rock band Nine Days is unique on this list of mostly pop and R&B boy bands, but their hit “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” propelled “The Madding Crowd” to gold status, placing the group squarely in the ranks of other successful musicians of the era. The group never officially broke up but did take the time to pursue separate interests before reuniting for a new studio album “Snapshots” in 2016.
- Top-ranked music video: “Back Here”
- Peak chart position: #13 (July 29, 2000)
“Back Here,” “Ghost of You and Me,” and “Still on Your Side” helped British trio BBMak rise to fame in the early 2000s. If they're still your go-to boy band, you're in luck: The group has been inspired by other boy bands getting back together and embarked on a North American tour in March 2019.
- Top-ranked music video: “It's Gonna Be Me”
- Peak chart position: #1 (July 29, 2000)
Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Justin Timberlake were so famous in their heyday that any boy band list would be incomplete without them. After the late Lou Pearlman founded the Backstreet Boys, who would become NSYNC's rival group, he started producing music for NSYNC, whose members then ranged in age from 14 to 23. With hits such as “Tearin' Up My Heart” and “I Want You Back,” the group's success was instant. As the story goes, Justin Timberlake's solo career took off and and the band split in 2002.
Son by Four
- Top-ranked music video: “Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor)”
- Peak chart position: #26 (Aug. 19, 2000)
Another story of egos getting the best of a group is the story of Son by Four. After the success of the group's single “Purest of Pain (A Puro Dolor),” the Latin pop group seemed ready to rise to the top. Band frontman Angel Lopez instead embarked on his second attempt at a solo career in 2002, effectively ending the group.
- Top-ranked music video: “The Hardest Part of Breaking Up”
- Peak chart position: #87 (Sept. 9, 2000)
The boy band hype in the late ‘90s was so huge that MTV created a satirical boy band. In a way, this move backfired, and the group known for “The Hardest Part of Breaking Up” and “U+Me=Us (Calculus)” became popular in its own right, even touring with pop princess Britney Spears at one point. There were talks of a reunion back in 2011.
- Top-ranked music video: “Faded”
- Peak chart position: #22 (Sept. 9, 2000)
After the success of “Faded,” soulDecision aptly disappeared from view. One of the band's members, Trevor Guthrie, had a hit in 2014 with dance song “This is What it Feels Like.” The song was nominated for a Grammy and won three International Dance Music Awards a decade after soulDecision split up.
- Top-ranked music video: “Give me Just One Night”
- Peak chart position: #2 (Sept. 30, 2000)
Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons, and Justin Jeffre comprised the pop group 98 Degrees, best-known for “Because of You,” “I Do (Cherish You),” and “True to Your Heart,” among others. Nick Lachey was briefly married to pop star Jessica Simpson (their relationship was the subject of a reality show on MTV). The other group members also pursued individual projects, and these days, the tight-knit group is still touring together.
- Top-ranked music video: “Peaches And Cream”
- Peak chart position: #4 (July 7, 2001)
Known for singles “You Already Know,” “Only You,” and “Dance With Me,” the R&B foursome emerged as a multi-platinum group and won a Grammy and an MTV VMA. The Atlanta-based group became Bad Boy Records' signature artists, before switching over to Def Jam.
- Top-ranked music video: “All or Nothing”
- Peak chart position: #3 (July 28, 2001)
Another Lou Pearlman vehicle, O-Town gained throngs of teen fans from its presence on TV's “Making the Band” and had commercial success with its recordings. "All or Nothing” and “Liquid Dreams” became popular songs before the band's breakup in 2003.
- Top-ranked music video: Where The Party At
- Peak chart position: #3 (Sept. 15, 2001)
American R&B group Jagged Edge is signed to Jermaine Dupri’s label, So So Def Records. Hits include “I Gotta Be,” “The Way that you Talk,” and “He Can’t Love You.” The group still tours today.
- Top-ranked music video: “Bump, Bump, Bump (ft. P. Diddy)”
- Peak chart position: #1 (Feb. 1, 2003)
B2K was active between 1998 and 2004, with singles like “Bump Bump Bump,” “Gots Ta Be,” and “Badaboom.” The group recently announced plans for a reunion tour starting in 2019.
The Click Five
- Top-ranked music video: Just The Girl
- Peak chart position: #11 (Sept. 3, 2005)
Boston-bred The Click Five looked like an American version of The Beatles and had a hit with “Just the Girl” in 2005. The group split in 2013 to pursue solo ventures, and the closest the members have come to a reunion was the wedding of a former bandmate in 2015, where they performed some of their old songs.
- Top-ranked music video: “Ella Y Yo”
- Peak chart position: #97 (Dec. 17, 2005)
The Bronx-based boy band Aventura came together over a shared love of bachata, a Dominican music genre. They were signed by BMG Records, and won a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical Album in 2007. The group split up in 2011, then came back together and played a final concert in 2016.
- Top-ranked music video: “Got Me Going”
- Peak chart position: #79 (April 12, 2008)
Another TV-to-reality group was Day 26, which emerged from “Making the Band 4” as a project of P. Diddy's. Though the group left Combs' label, Bad Boy Records, members were still recording and touring together as of spring 2018.
- Top-ranked music video: “Burnin' Up”
- Peak chart position: #5 (July 12, 2008)
One of the more popular modern boy bands is the Jonas Brothers: Nick, Joe, and Kevin. This trio, whose story echoes Justin Timberlake's, got its start on the Disney Channel. There were reunion rumors floating around as recently as a month ago, despite the group splitting up and moving on in 2013.
Big Time Rush
- Top-ranked music video: “Boyfriend (ft. Snoop Dogg)”
- Peak chart position: #72 (May 7, 2011)
Like the Jonas Brothers (and so many other boy bands), rumors of a reunion are flying for Big Time Rush, or BTR, as the group is known to fans. The band broke up in 2014, just a year after the Jonas Brothers, and five years after first forming on the Nickelodeon reality show that catapulted the group to fame.
- Top-ranked music video: “Mrs. Right”
- Peak chart position: #72 (Nov. 5, 2011)
Boy band Mindless Behavior was hailed as a refreshing alternative to modern boy bands like The Wanted and BTS, portrayed as a throwback to NSYNC-style music. The group's music is generally less pop-oriented, and more soulful. Songs include “Video,” “Pretty Girl,” and “Used to Be.”
- Top-ranked music video: "Glad You Came"
- Peak chart position: #3 (March 31, 2012)
Boy band The Wanted went on hiatus in 2014 after a successful world tour and singles “Glad You Came” and “Chasing the Sun.” Members of the group went on to pursue individual entertainment projects including singing, songwriting, and acting. As of 2019, there have been no talks of a reunion.
- Top-ranked music video: Best Song Ever
- Peak chart position: #2 (Aug. 10, 2013)
One Direction is planning a reunion, like so many others, as of January 2019. The group is known for hits like “Best Song Ever” and “What Makes You Beautiful,” and is fronted by Harry Styles. The group stopped performing together after the departure of Zayn Malik in 2015.
5 Seconds of Summer
- Top-ranked music video: "Amnesia"
- Peak chart position: #16 (July 19, 2014)
5 Seconds of Summer is the Australian pop-rock group behind “Youngblood,” “She Looks So Perfect,” and “Amnesia.” Their latest album, “Youngblood,” hit a milestone 1 billion streams in March 2019, and the band is currently on tour.
- Top-ranked music video: DNA
- Peak chart position: #67 (Oct. 14, 2017)
K-pop band BTS may herald the new era of pop stardom: the group has more than 20 hit songs, including “Idol,” “Fire,” and “I Need U.” BTS also has millions of adoring fans around the world. The group, whose name is an acronym for Behind the Scenes, formed in 2013 and continues to enjoy massive success.