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.2018 All rights reserved.