While young, all-male vocal groups singing love songs have existed since the a cappella barbershop quartets in the 19th century, the concept of a boy band is a more recent phenomenon.
Some of the first popular boy bands consisted mostly of family members, such as the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds. In addition to their tight harmonies and similar appearances, the camaraderie between the members appealed to listeners and helped build the groups’ audiences.
Since then, boy bands have grown to become some of the most successful musical acts in history. In their heyday in the 1990s, groups such as Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC were some of the best-selling acts, topping the Billboard album charts and selling better than older and more established acts like The Rolling Stones.
These groups eventually faded into musical history, but there has been a small recent resurgence in boy bands, with acts like One Direction, The Jonas Brothers, and Big Time Rush. In South Korea, the boy band format is alive and well as part of the K-pop genre, and shows no sign of slowing down. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed over five decades of music, considering Billboard chart performance and album sales to identify the most popular boy bands of all time.