Special Report

25 Most Popular Boy Bands of All Time

The music and management style of modern boy bands largely began with New Edition and New Kids on the Block. After forming as schoolchildren in Boston in 1978, New Edition found major success performing R&B songs during the 1980s.

Managers and producers attempted to recreate the boy band template with some runaway successes, and more failures. The general concept of a boy band has been applied through many cultures and languages. Menudo, for example, has a largely Puerto Rican fan base and is one of the most popular boy bands in the world. Bay City Rollers got their start in Scotland and have gone on to sell 2.5 million records in the United States, among the most of any boy band.

To determine the most popular boy bands of all time, 24/7 Wall St. ranked all-male vocal groups in any pop genre according to their performance on the Billboard Hot 100 and album sales. Boy bands were given the highest possible score for a song that spent a week at No 1., and the lowest possible score for a song that spent a week at No.100, and were ranked on the aggregation of those song scores. Certified record sales came from the Recording Industry Association of America and are for the United States. Boy bands were ultimately ranked on an index that gave full weight to a band’s Billboard chart performance and record sales, and half weight to the number of songs a band has had on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the peak position of a band’s top song. A boy band’s top song is determined by its performance on the Billboard Hot 100, identified with the same ranking system used to rank the bands in this piece. The list of musical groups that qualify as boy bands came from Ranker, a digital polling site that generates lists using crowdsourced polls, and from Wikipedia. To be considered, band members needed to have started out relatively young.