5 Boy Bands We Couldn’t Get Enough of In the 1990s

The early 1990s was all about aggression when it came to music. Grunge and gangsta rap ruled the airwaves. Depression and danger. But when the entertainment world lost big names like Kurt Cobain, Tupac and Biggie, everyone collectively looked at themselves and said, What are we doing?

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Enter boy bands. Everyone could now take a deep breath and sigh of relief. As such, boy bands were all the rage at the end of the 20th century.

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Here, we dive into a handful of the best. The cream of the crop. Indeed, five boy bands we couldn’t get enough of in the 1990s.

1. Backstreet Boys

Comprised of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, the Backstreet Boys formed in Florida in 1993. Soon after, the group released its self-titled debut in 1996, featuring hits like “Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart),” and the popular follow-up in 1997, Backstreet’s Back. With harmonies, energy and sex appeal, the group was a smash. Today, the band is still going strong and released a Christmas album last year.

2. *NSYNC

*NSYNC was the biggest rival to the Backstreet Boys in the late ’90s. In fact, it could be argued that *NSYNC was in fact the biggest boy band on Earth at the time. The two groups both boasted a lot of hits, but it was only *NSYNC that had Justin Timberlake, the break-out solo star of all these boy bands. Comprised of Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, and Joey Fatone, *NSYNC released its self-titled debut LP in 1997, which featured the hit, “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” From there, it was all gravy into the early 21st century.

3. 98 Degrees

This quartet, which was comprised of Jeff Timmons, Nick and Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre, debuted in 1997 with its self-titled LP. While the band didn’t quite have the career legs of the Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC, they did give the world Nick Lachey, who famously married pop star Jessica Simpson. It’s their partnership that led to the “chicken of the sea” headlines. But outside of all that, 98 Degrees boasted several big hits, including “Because of You” and “I Do (Cherish You).”

4. Boyz II Men

Boy bands were a fad. But Boyz II Men are forever. In this way, it might not be quite right to put them in this commercially contrived list, but hey, they were a group of harmonizing young men, so here we are! The Philadelphia-born group Boyz II Men rose to fame with albums like Cooleyhighharmony in 1991 and II in 1994. With songs like “I’ll Make Love to You” and “Thank You” and the Beatles’ cover of “Yesterday,” Boyz II Men were and are timeless.

5. Hanson

This group really put the boy in boy band. Given that when the Oklahoma-born trio first got started in the mid-90s, thanks to their hit single, “MMMBop,” the brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were all teenagers or younger. Today, the trio are still making music together and as solo artists. But it was in 1996 with the release of their smash album, Middle of Nowhere, that everything became bigger than even their youthful imaginations could conceive.

(Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

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