Remember New Edition? You know you do.. the “Mr. Telephone Man” song.. Bobby Brown and those kooky guys known as Bell Biv and DeVoe.. I know you remember the late 80’s.. 1988, 89. New Kids On The Block were like, the boy band du jour. But alas, the 90’s rolled around and heavier grunge music like Nirvana and Soundgarden, as well as a heavier, edgier rap such as Ice Cube and Snoop Doggy Dog took over the music scene.. Thus ends our tale of boy bands, right? WRONG! Somewhere along the lines, while rap and R&B maintained their power, rock music lost a bit of theirs, letting pop music creep back into the scene.
I suppose that the Spice Girls can carry some blame for that by being the first pop group to get out there, and while there are a couple of Spice Girl clones, they aren’t as prevalent as the boy bands that followed. 1998 had unleashed a torrent of boy bands on the US, many of whom spent time in Europe to start a cult following. The following is a run down of the Boy Bands that have left their impression in 1998. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the Orlando based group, Backstreet Boys reigned supreme as the top Boy Band in 1998.
With the top selling album in 1998 behind Titanic, the Backstreet Boys have just released a new album and are planning a second world tour. The band enjoyed 4 top 10 singles in 1998, including “As Long as You Love Me”, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, “I’ll Never Break You Heart”, and “Quit Playing Games (With my Heart)”. Their world tour pulled in $10 million. The middle of 1998 brought a lawsuit between the band and Lou Pearlman. While the details of the settlement has not been released, it resulted in the dismissal of their management team, Donna & Johnny Wright, with Lou Pearlman being named a partner with the Backstreet Boys for 1/6 of the action.
Pearlman’s Trans-Continental Records is still in legal entanglements with the Backstreet Boys’s label, Jive/Zomba. This may or may not be one of the reasons why Trans-Continental began promoting ‘N Sync, a replica of the Backstreet Boys, more aggressively toward the end of 1998. For better or for worse, the fans are happy that ‘N Sync, another Orlando based band, left their mark in 1998. With their self titled album the 22nd topselling album of the year (with 4 million albums sold since it’s release last March), and Top Ten Christmas album, the group is also enjoying the success of three top ten singles, “Tearin’ Up My Heart”, “I Want You
Back”, and “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You”. Their current single, “I Drive Myself Crazy”, is climbing the charts. Their success proves that there’s plenty of love (and money) to go around at the top of the music chart. Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync’s album have switched positions in the top many times in the last months of 1998. Not to be left out, the original managers for the Spice Girls have formed another group, Five. With top selling singles, “When The Lights Go Out” and “Everybody Get Up”, the five lads from England wandered into the U. S. last October.
While the reception has been warm, their success in Europe will keep them in the the limelight for an aggressive promotion campaign this year. Breaking away from the pre-packaged format of boy bands, 98 Degrees, like ‘N Sync, packaged themself and went in search of management. The band snuck backstage at a Boyz II Men concert and the result was a manager in the form of Paris D’Jon. With their first album behind them, 1998 had these Ohio native recording “True to Your Heart” for Disney’s Mulan. At the end of 1998, they released their second album, “98 Degrees and Rising”.
The band is now mbarking on their summer tour with their Top 10 single, “Because of You”, leading the way. One of the most popular boy band in the U. K. has barely made a mark in the United States. Despite a million dollar campaign last August, the group has barely touched the U. S. Billboard charts. Boyzone is one of the oldest, both in term of longevity and age of the members, of the boy bands. However, the designation may be a misnomer. All of the guys are all over 26, and one of whom has a son.
The fact that they don’t quite fit into the cookie cutter mold of a boy band may be the reason they haven’t done as well in the U. S. The more likely reason, though, is that the label doesn’t quite know how to pigeonhole Boyzone into their carefully constructed marketing segments. While most of the current crop of boy bands have been around for several years (even if U. S. fans haven’t heard of them until now), the recording industry is preparing for the future; hoping the trend can sustain itself. The trend has so far been proven successful, Joey McIntyre and Jordon Knight, who previously where a part of New Kids On The Block, have recently became hits.
Also, former Mannuedo star, Ricky Martin has rose again with his smash hit, “Livin La Vida Loca. ” 1999 will prove to be an interesting year, as the industry watch to see if the Boy Band trend will continue. Meanwhile fans continue to flock to sold out shows to see their favorite members of the Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync. Teenagers driven by hormones into their first crush, enjoy collecting pictures of their favorite members. Is this a plan to brainwash teenage girls into buying millions of CD’s, created by Lou Pearlman, king of Boy Bands? Just like how many licks it takes to get to the bottom of the Tootsie Pop, “The World May Never Know. “