The Best Boy Bands of All Time, Ranked
Boy bands – you either love em’ or hate em’ but there’s no denying the impact they have on our culture nor the influence they have on the music industry as a whole. With the right combination of talent, the formation of the perfect boy band is like catching lightning in a bottle. Nobody is guaranteed success, but when certain bands have achieved it, they have not been forgotten.
Sure, having the right manager by your side and a notable label has certainly helped the most successful boy bands of all time achieve their fame, but it's not the only factor. Whether you're into popular music or not, some music just resonates with the general public—and there's a reason why beyond it being a nicely decorated product.
Whether it’s music that reflected what the generation was all about or music that helped a generation find a much-needed escape, the music speaks for itself and helped unite the masses, breaking language barriers (and cultural barriers too).
The following bands are easily the best and among the most influential of all time, but some certainly have a leg up on the others. These are the best boy bands of all time, ranked.
15. Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers formed in New Jersey back in 2005, and gained peak popularity from appearing on the Disney Channel. The group consists of Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. They had their first big break appearing on the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock. They starred in a sequel for the movie and then appeared in their very own series called Jonas.
Thus far the band has released five albums: It’s About Time, Jonas Brothers, A Little Bit Longer, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, and Happiness Begins. In 2008, they were nominated for the Best New Artist award at the Grammy Awards and won the award for Breakthrough Artist at the American Music Awards. So far, they have sold over 17 million albums worldwide as of 2013. After calling it quits in 2013, the band reformed in 2019 and remains active.
Hanson was formed in 1992, consisting of brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, as well as supporting members Dimitrius Collins and Andrew Perusi who join them on tour. They are perhaps best known for their 1997 song "MMMBop." Their debut album entitled Middle of Nowhere had earned them three Grammy Award nominations.
Hanson has sold over 16 million records worldwide and has three top 20 albums in the United States alone. Eight of their singles have appeared on the UK Top 40 singles charts. They have released 15 studio albums in total with the most recent being Red Green Blue – released in 2022. Currently, the band records under their own independent label, 3CG Records.
13. New Kids on the Block
New Kids on the Block was formed in 1984, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The band consists of Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Donnie Wahlberg. Widely considered to be the first modern boy band by some, New Kids on the Block achieved their peak success in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Thus far, they have sold over 80 million records worldwide.
The band had released four albums up until they disbanded in 1994. Their albums included New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough, Step by Step, and Face the Music. However, in 2007, they would reunite to record a new album released in 2008 called The Block. Following that album they released 10 in 2013. They remain active to this day, having most recently played a concert at Fenway Park in 2021.
12. New Edition
New Edition was an R&B group from Boston, formed by Bobby Brown in 1978, but it reached the height of its popularity in the ‘80s. The original boy band consisted of Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant, but Brown would leave the group in 1985. Their earliest hit songs included "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," and "Mr. Telephone Man."
Thus far, New Edition has sold over 20 million records worldwide and has released seven different studio albums. As the members moved on to releasing their own solo albums, the group became inactive in the first half of the ‘90s. They reunited briefly in 1996 and then reformed again in 2002. Since then, they have remained active.
11. The Osmond Brothers
The Osmond Brothers were a band straight out of the 1970s, a barbershop quartet that consisted of all members who were siblings: Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay Osmond. Later on, fifth and sixth members joined, Donny and Jimmy. The band peaked from 1971 to 1975, serving as both teen idols and a rock band.
In total, The Osmonds have sold over 77 million records worldwide. Since starting in 1962, the band has disbanded and reformed a few times, but since 2007, they have remained active as a duo or trio. The band has released 10 studio albums. Some of their most famous hit songs have included “Love Me for a Reason,” “One Bad Apple,” “Let Me in,” and “Goin’ Home.”
10. 98 Degrees
98 Degrees was founded by member Jeff Timmons, along with Nick and Drew Lachey, and Justin Jeffre. It was formed in Los Angeles but its members were all from Ohio interestingly enough. Unlike many boy bands, they had formed independently and were later picked up by a record label. They have sold over 10 million records worldwide.
They have eight top 40 single in the US. From the late ‘90s to the early 2000s, the band had reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 with their songs "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)," "Because of You," The Hardest Thing," and "Thank God I Found You.” After disbanding in 2002, they reformed 10 years later in 2012 and have remained active.
9. The Monkees
The Monkees were designed to be America’s answer to the Beatles. They certainly weren’t nor as influential but have earned a spot at number 9 for being one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. They are unlike the other bands on this list because they were conceived entirely for a television audience.
Formed in 1966, the Monkees consisted of four actors, musicians, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, along with singer Davy Jones. They were all apart of a sitcom series of the band’s name and they also recorded four chart-topping albums. Having sold over 75 million records, they have the numbers to cement themselves as one of the best boy bands of all time and they’ve left behind a number of memorable songs including, “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Daydream Believer.”
8. The Jackson 5
Before Michael Jackson launched a legendary solo career, he was part of a boy band called The Jackson 5. Managed by their father Joe Jackson, the band consisted of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. It was founded in 1964 in Gary, Indiana. The band started out performing in talent shows and clubs before signing with Steeltown Records in 1967.
It was just a year later, however, that the Jackson 5 signed with Motown and became the first group to debut with four consecutive number one hits. Those hits included "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There." On top of that feat, they had 16 Top-40 singles on the chart. All-in-all, the Jackson 5 sold 100 million records worldwide.
7. Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men is a vocal harmony group based in Philly. The band currently consists of baritone Nathan Morris, and tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. They rose to fame in the 1990s under the Motown Records label. At that time, there was a fourth member, bass Michael McCary, but he left in 2003 after showing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
It was during the ‘90s that they gained international success. Their top singles included "Motownphilly," "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," and "End of the Road" – the last of which remained number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks. The band has sold over 34 million records worldwide and taken home four Grammy Awards.
6. One Direction
The English-Irish boy band One Direction was formed in London in 2010, and consisted of Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, as well as Zayn Malik who would leave the band in 2015. They signed onto Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records after appearing on The X Factor that year, where they finished third place. With the help of social media, they would become an international success. The band had five albums: Up All Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four and Made in the A.M. As of 2020, the band has sold over 70 million records worldwide.
Their first number one hit on the UK Singles Chart was "What Makes You Beautiful." It was also the highest debut single for a British band since 1998 for the US Billboard Hot 100. Other hit songs included , "Live While We're Young" and "Best Song Ever." After the release of their album Four, they became the first band in the history of the US Billboard 200 to have their first four albums debut in the number one spot. The band remained active until 2016, and now they have their own solo careers with Harry Styles easily being the most successful one of all.
South Korean boy band BTS formed in 2010 but debuted in 2013 under the label Big Hit Entertainment. The band consists of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook.And while they originally started as a hip-hop group, their music evolved to encompass a wider range of genres. As of 2021, the band has sold over 32.7 million albums domestically, making them the best-selling artists in South Korean history.
Misinformation has recently been spread that the band is disbanding, but according to them, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The band is still together but they are taking a brief hiatus. According to Suga, “It’s not that we’re disbanding,” he said, “we’re just living apart for a while.” Reasons for the hiatus were cited as exhaustion and that some of the members wish to focus on their solo careers for the time being.
*NSYNC, formed by Chris Kirkpatrick in Orlando, Florida, in 1995, was actually first launched in Germany by BMG Ariola Munich. Their self-titled debut album had a successful launch in Europe, which followed in the United States as well. The band consisted of the legendary Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass.
With their second album which sold 2.4 million copies in one week, they set a record that lasted 15 years. Their most popular singles included “I Want You Back,” “Bye Bye Bye,” “This I Promise,” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.” In total, the group has received eight Grammy nominations. They last recorded in 2002 before going on an indefinite hiatus but the band never officially called it quits. They have so 70 million records worldwide.
3. Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys, consisting of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, formed in 1993, in Orlando, Florida. The band rose to fame with their international album Backstreet Boys in 1996. But it was the album Millennium in 1999 that made the band stars. Their next album Black & Blue had similar success.
Thus far, the Backstreet Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling boy band of all time. They also have the distinguishment of being the first band since Led Zeppelin to have their first 10 albums reach the top 10 spot on the Billboard 200 charts. The band has remained active since 1993 but they did at one point take a two-year hiatus and reformed in 2005.
2. The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys formed in Hawthorne, California. The band consisted of Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, as well as Mike Love and Al Jardine. Their unmatched vocal harmonies, music ingenuity and coming-of-age themes have made them one of the most influential boy bands of all time. Formed in 1961, the band has released 29 studio albums over the years.
In total, they have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the most commercially successful bands of all time. Turning popular music into art, they helped change the industry forever. Their music has been used in countless films over the years and has been replayed again and again. In 1988, its founding members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1. The Beatles
The Beatles really need no introduction, but alas, here we go. Formed in Liverpool in 1960, the band at the height of its popularity consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Like The Beach Boys, The Beatles turned popular music into art and their evolution as a band helped shape the culture of the 1960s. They were also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Transforming the industry in terms of songwriting and recording, the Beatles are easily the most influential music artists of the 20th century.
Even if you don’t like the Beatles, you can’t deny how the lasting impact they have had over the years. There’s a reason the living Beatles are still relevant today. The Beatles are the best-selling music act of all time, having sold over 600 million units worldwide. They have the most number-one albums on the UK Albums Chart with 15, and the most number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 20. In both 2004 and 2011, they topped Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest artists in history, and Time magazine named them among the 20th century's 100 most important people.