Precise choreography, just-so styling, and bouncy, danceable pop music
combined with REALLY cute boys made boy bands irresistible to tween
girls in the 80’s. Magazines like Tiger Beat gave
us all the
lovable personality quirks of each boy so we could pick our favorite
crushes, in addition to sweet fold-out posters for our walls.
Often, boy bands were assembled by managers or record
producers with an eye toward the predilections of preteen girls.
Normally, the boys didn’t play instruments, but they sang in harmony and
had some swoon-worthy moves. Here’s a rundown of the top three teeny-bop
boy bands from our favorite decade.
New Edition was a quintet that formed in Boston in 1978 and was discovered
by producer Maurice Starr. It was made up of Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph
Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell. Ronnie went on to
form Bell Biv DeVoe (who put out one of my all-time faves, Poison)
and Bobby Brown went on to a highly successful solo career and rocky
romance with Whitney Houston. 1983’s Candy Girl was a huge hit
for New Edition.
Groove out to New Edition’s Cool It Now from 1984:
After severing ties with New Edition, Maurice Starr and his business
partner, Mary Alford, held auditions for a new teen boy group. Donnie
Wahlberg knocked their socks off at the audition, and he then recruited
the other members of the band. Donnie’s brother Mark (yes, THAT
Mark Wahlberg), Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, and Jonathan Knight (yes,
that made TWO sets of brothers in the group) completed the roster for
New Kids on the Block (NKOTB). Soon, Mark tired of the teeny-bop sound and was
replaced by Jamie Kelley, who was then quickly replaced by Joey
McIntyre. Some of NKOTB’s big hits included Step by Step and You Got It (The Right Stuff).
Check out the choreography in Hangin’ Tough. Those are some
Menudo was a Puerto Rican band that released their first album in 1977,
but achieved their greatest popularity during the 80’s. Producer Edgardo
Diaz created a boy band with the plan to rotate out members before they
got too old and their pre-pubescent voices changed, thereby retaining a
teeny-bopper appeal for young girls. Diaz’s plan worked, to put it
mildly. Menudomania struck the United States and much of the world. The
mid-eighties lineup was Charlie Masso, Robby Rosa, Ray Reyes, Roy
Rosello, and Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin went on to great solo success
after he “graduated” from the group.
Check out a young cutie-pie Ricky Martin in Menudo’s 1985 video Hold
Of course, there were boy bands before the 80’s, like the Osmonds and The
Jackson 5, and in the 90’s and beyond, like Backstreet Boys, Boys II
Men, and *NSYNC. These lovable 80’s boy bands, though, have that sweet
eighties sound and innocent dance-ability that we love so much.
P.S. Not to be all I-told-you-so, but even then, I knew that Marky Mark
was TOTALLY the hottest NKOTB.