The Best Boy Bands Of All Time, Ranked

There is no greater guilty pleasure than listening to boy bands. TBH, I’m not even guilty about it! Better than reality TV, boy bands can give us endless entertainment. Those albums full of sweet crooning and angelic voices, plus their A+ music videos full of seductive glances and iconic dance moves… what’s there not to love?

If you’ve never gotten into a heated debate with your best friends over who’s better, *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys, were you really an avid boy band fan at all? It is a fight all ’90s kids have certainly been in, as well as anyone who was around during the historical One Direction v. The Wanted feud. But between older boy bands and new ones, there are so many to choose from. It’s easy to love them all for different reasons. That said, it’s time for us to break down the (completely subjective) definitive ranking of the best boy bands the public has ever seen.

18. BBMak

Peak popularity: 1999/2000
Did BBMak really give us anything more than “Back Here”? This trio, made up of Mark Barry, Christian Burns, and Stephen McNally, is kind of the definition of a one-hit-wonder. Even if we can’t name countless songs by this group, we can all still probably recite every word of that one song, though, so thanka for that!

17. 5ive

Peak popularity: 1997 – 2001
5ive one was of many English boy bands given to the world in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. They gave us the master hit “Slam Dunk Da Funk,” but follow suit with so many boy bands and disbanded. However, many iterations of the group have come back — once in ’06 until ’07, then again in 2012. Technically the band still performs though 5ive is more like 3hree now because the only active members are Sean Conlon, Scott Robinson and Ritchie Neville. Abz Love and J Brown were back for the ’06 reunion (Sean was not) and Abz even returned for a bit of the modern reboot, but these band members didn’t hang on for long. No wonder they didn’t rank too high. Band loyalty is everything!

16. Westlife

Peak popularity: Late ’90s/early ’00s
Long before we got Niall Horan, Westlife provided us with the Irish boy band tunes and some beautiful blonde locks. Simon Cowell formed this group, proving he’s known his sh*t when it comes to boy bands for a while now. Originally consisting of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan and Brian McFadden — Brian pulled a Zayn in 2004 when he left the band. The other members stayed together all the way until 2012 — which is pretty impressive. While Westlife was HUGE in the U.K., it never really ~made it~ in the States.

15. 2gether

Peak popularity: 2000
So, 2gether was obviously a fake boy band for an MTV TV move, but the song “The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff)” is actually one of the greatest boy band jams of all time. If only they’d been a fake band for longer, we’d have a million more hits to obsess over.

14. Dream Street

Peak popularity: 1999 – 2002
To be honest, this one would’ve ranked way higher if they’d been around for longer. Like many other boy bands, a successful solo career was born from Dream Street. If you weren’t too busy singing along to “It Happens Every Time,” you would probably be arguing with your friends over who was cuter: Frankie Galasso or Jesse McCartney. Sadly, the group split too soon when the parents of Jesse, Frankie, Greg Raposo, Chris Trousdale, and Matt Ballinger alleged that their sons had been “exposed to booze, women, and pornography” during their time as a band, no thanks to Dream Street’s managers. Suffice it to say, the group of guys aged 11 – 14 wouldn’t stay together after that.

13. B2K

Peak popularity: 2002
B2K gave us Omarion, and every fan girl can seriously appreciate that simple fact. I don’t think I’ve ever said the word ‘bump’ without wanting — no, needing — to say it two more times ever since B2K hit the scene. The other members Lil Fizz, J-Boog and Raz-B didn’t go on to do much.

12. Menudo

Peak popularity: Mid-80s
Menudo was around for so long, there was a rotating door of members, but each boy was well-worth obsession. Ricky Martin got his start in the ‘80s as part of Menudo during their big boom and by the ‘90s, he was a full-on heartthrob. It’s also worth a mention that these guys were around way before NSYNC and BSB, so they were kind of setting the bar (high) for boy bands forever.

11. LFO

Peak popularity: Late ’90s
The argument can be made that no lyrics in LFO’s main hit, “Summer Girls” make any sense — but they did make us all want to listen to New Kids on the Block and wear Abercrombie & Fitch. So that’s saying something. They were also on an episode of The Amanda Show, so, bonus points.

10. The Wanted

Peak popularity: 2010 – 2013
The Wanted was good, sure, but it had to compete with One Direction which, quite honestly, just made them seem less good. There’s long been dispute over why they broke up (I mean, went on a hiatus): was is because of One Direction? Were they all feuding with each other? Was it because of the reality show? Who knows! All we know is that the boy band made up of Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes didn’t quite have the staying power that 1D did. They did, however, give us the questionably raunchy “Glad You Came,” “All Time Low” and “Chasing the Sun.”

9. 98 Degrees

Peak popularity: Late ’90s
Of all the boy bands from the U.S. in the ‘90s, 98 Degrees really weren’t as hot as their name suggests. Their best song, “True to Your Heart” wasn’t even for their album, it was written for the Mulan soundtrack! We will say, though, that Nick Lachey has stayed somewhat relevant which is no easy feat when you’re from a boy band, plus the band is still touring (with all the OG members) — which is more than we can say for *NSYNC or 1D soooo…

8. O-Town

Peak popularity: Early ’00s
“Liquid Dreams” is one of those songs you sang as a kid and later realized what the hell you were singing. But with hotties like Ashley Parker Angel at the forefront of O-Town in their heydays, we didn’t need to understand the music to sing along.

7. Hanson

Peak popularity: 1997
Hanson is probably the only group that could get away with everyone having such beautiful, long blonde hair. Did we love their hair on them, or did we just want it for ourselves? If only we knew.. “MMMBop” literally makes no sense, but it still is amazing. They’ve also been active for 25 years — so that’s got to count for something on this ranking, right?

6. Jonas Brothers

Peak popularity: Late ’00s
The Jonas Brothers really kicked the most recent boy band pandemic into gear. “Year 3000” was all we needed to fall in love, but Nick J.’s beautiful curls, Joe’s bad boy aesthetic and Kevin’s… idk… really drew us in. Follow-up hits solidified their boy band reign. Not going to lie, Nick was clearly the most talented among the brothers if all his solo success is any proof.

5. New Kids On The Block

Peak popularity: Early ’90s
If we’re talking about lasting success, NKOTB is one of few on this list who’s continued to make fans fawn over there. Many boy bands have reunited over the years, but these guys had just the “Right Stuff” to keep it real for a while (sorry for the terrible pun). They knew what their fans wanted and drew them back in by pairing up with BSB when they came back in full force.

4. The Jackson 5

Peak popularity: ’70s
Way before Hanson and Jonas brothers formed family groups, we had the Jackson 5. The Jackson brothers proved to be instrumental in the music industry. How could they not megastars with young Michael Jackson’s incredible voice leading the way in songs like “I’ll Be There,” “I Want You Back,” and so much more.

3. One Direction

Peak popularity: 2010 – present
Is there a British boy band more beloved than 1D? The sold-out arenas and the insane amount of merchandise purchased by fan girls is proof enough. The growth from pure pop to writing their own songs later on, gave fans plenty of reason to obsess over every lyric to each song. They might all be on the solo route right now, but with hints every day about a reunion, we can only hope and pray. NGL, the band is better without Zayn Malik in it. At least now they all seem like genuine friends.

2. Backstreet Boys

Peak popularity: Late ’90s/early ’00s
Sorry, but it had to be done. Let’s keep in mind that a #2 spot is still really, really good! Let’s also give BSB the credit they are due. Some of their music videos, like “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” are the most iconic videos of the ‘90s — possibly of all time. BSB has been active so many years longer than 90% of the bands on this list and put out a bunch of successful albums. Everyone in the group could sing, as well, which is a quality that some of the other popular groups from the ’80s and ‘90s did not have.


Peak popularity: Late ’90s/early ’00s
BSB might have more albums than *NSYNC, but *NSYNC had their No Strings Attached album AND Justin Timberlake. Combined, this was just too much to compete with for any boy band. Just look at Justin’s solo career. It’s no question why people were so obsessed with him when he was a boy bander (ramen hair, hello!). Plus, no one can ever beat “Bye Bye Bye” even if they tried.

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