It seems like ever since the Beatles became famous, almost every decade started to produce a special group of boys that perform pop music with perfectly blended voices and catchy tunes. Over the years, the concept of boy bands has evolved and it seems like every generation has its classics. Some of us may have grown up listening to Backstreet Boys, Westlife, or One Direction. The ‘80s also had its fair share of boy bands that are not only irresistible to tween girls during the ‘80s but released a lot of good and iconic songs, too. That’s why in this article, we are going to give you a blast from the past and list down the top ‘80s boy bands.
New Kids on the Block or NKOTB
This boyband was formed in Massachusetts during the early 1980s and they consist of Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, and Donnie Wahlberg. New Kids on the Block sold over 80 million albums worldwide throughout their career. This boyband received two American Music Awards in 1990 and 1991 for Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Group respectively. They released 7 studio album and released the hit songs, Step by Step, Please Don’t Go, Cover Girl, You Got It Right (The Right Stuff), Valentine Girl, and Let’s Try It Again. Today, New Kids on the Block is still an active part of the music industry and still creating songs and embarking on tours.
New Kids on the Block was immensely popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The members of the renowned boy band — Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Jonathan and Jordan Knight — still take pride in their beginnings, but they’ve gone their separate ways since conquering the mainstream music industry decades ago. Of course, this does not mean that they no longer provide musical concerts for their followers. Prior to the pandemic of 2020, they had planned an NKOTB Cruise and were ready to arrange their first post-lockdown performance at Fenway Park in July 2021.
Formed in 1982, A-ha is a Norwegian band that is composed of Morten Harket, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, and Magne Furuholmen. Throughout their career that started in the mid-1980s, A-ha has released over 10 studio albums which spawned several hit singles such as The Sun Always Shines on TV, The Living Daylights, Crying in the Rain, Hunting High and Low, and their most popular song, Take on Me. A-ha was also listed in the Guinness World Records because they had the biggest-paying rock concert attendance ever. They gathered over 198,000 people at the Maracana Stadium on the Rock in Rio festival. According to A-ha’s record label, they reportedly sold over 55 million copies of their album worldwide. However, other sources say that they apparently sold over 100 million albums.
In their tiny, cold homeland of Norway, members of the 1980s super group A-ha are regarded as royalty. The pretty lads of Oslo were the first Norwegian pop-music superstars. They had gathered multiple prizes and a platinum album by the end of the 1980s.
Several musicians and bands, like Chris Martin from Coldplay, Adam Clayton from U2, and even Liam Gallagher and American rapper Pitbull, have professed to being avid fans of A-ha.
A-ha’s music has been featured in a variety of films and television programs over the years, including Grosse Pointe Blank, The Living Daylights (for which they composed the title song), Baywatch, The Simpsons, and South Park.
Wham! was a pop duo that was composed of Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael . Throughout their career, Wham! sold over 30 million records which made them one of the most successful pop acts of the ‘80s. The Duo released four studio album and they were the ones who were responsible for the hit songs like Everything She Wants, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Careless Whisper which all reached the top spot of the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1985, Wham! embarked on a highly publicized 10-day visit in China, they were the first Western group to do such a thing and that move was seen as a major watershed moment because, during that time, there was an increasing friendly bilateral relation between the West and China.
Michael assumed most of the band’s tasks and responsibilities, including composer, producer, singer, and (sometimes) instrumentalist. Still adolescents, they portrayed themselves as hedonistic youths, proud to lead a carefree existence devoid of labor and responsibility. This was mirrored in their hits, which, via a combination of satire and social commentary, momentarily earned them a reputation as a dancing protest group.
Menudo was a Latino boy band that was formed by producer Edgardo Diaz in the ‘70s. Considered as one of the most successful boy bands in history, Menudo has achieved success during the ‘80s and became the most popular Latin American teen group of the decade. From 1977 to 1999, Menudo has released over 42 studio albums and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. They also starred in two feature films namely Menudo: La Pelicula and Una Aventura Llamada Menudo. The group has experienced several line-up changes over the years but their original line-up consisted of Oscar Melendez, Nefty Sallaberry, Ricky Melendez, Carlos Melendez, and Fernando Sallaberry.
In 1977, Menudo debuted as a Puerto Rican boy band with the publication of its debut album. According to Billboard, the group was the most popular Latino-American teen group in the 1980s. Edgardo Diaz formed and controlled the gang, serving as a de facto “father” to its members, according to the New York Post.
According to Variety, Menudo had more than 30 different male singers throughout its decades of activity, in contrast to the boy bands of today, who consist of only a handful of prominent members. At the time they turned 16 and reached puberty, the guys were booted out of the band and replaced with new, younger members.
Formed in 1978 in Boston, Massachusetts, New Edition was an R&B group that consisted of Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, and Ronnie DeVoe. New Edition’s popularity peaked during the ‘80s and they released a total of seven albums from 1983 to 2004. They are the ones who were responsible for the hit songs, Cool it Now, Candy Girl, and Mr. Telephone Man. During the height of their career in 1985, Bobby Brown was voted out of the group and pursued a solo career. Along with their success, the group encountered some problems that led to their break up. However, New Edition also had various reunions but in 2004, the group really decided to call it quits and released their last album entitled One Love. The last time that they reunited was for their fans when they kick off the 30th anniversary of their debut album. in 2017, New Edition received their own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
New Edition became the model for such massive (white) boy bands as New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, and ‘N Sync, as well as multiplatinum R&B vocal groups as Boyz II Men (whose name was taken from a New Edition song before Bivins signed them), Dru Hill, and Ja Rule.
New Edition is the only vocal group in the history of recorded music in which every member has earned a platinum or multi-platinum album.
Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, Duran Duran was a New Wave band that was originally composed of Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Simon Colley, and Stephen Duffy. Throughout their career, Duran Duran has released 14 studio albums and won a Lifetime Achievement award at MTV Video Music Awards, two Brit Awards, two Grammy Awards, and a Video Visionary Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. You can follow this link if you want to know more about Duran Duran.
The group titled their debut album after themselves. The band chose its name from the 1960s cult classic science fiction picture Barbarella starring Jane Fonda. Milo O’Shea portrayed a character named Duran Duran in the film.
Duran Duran has its roots in the Birmingham nightlife scene. When Duran Duran formed in 1978, they became the house band at the Rum Runner nightclub in Birmingham.
No doubt Boy Bands are popular and continue to be. In fact, some parents even want to learn how to block youtube just here to keep their kiddos from watching their videos all the time.