The ’90s are best remembered for their music, and you cannot talk about the music of this decade without talking about boy bands. From the Backstreet Boys to the Hanson, they seemed to pop up one after during this period.
The smooth voices and good looks of these male heartthrobs stole the hearts of many fans worldwide. Some only lasted a few years, but others have endured the test of time.
So in this post, let’s go back through memory lane and take a look at 13 of the most famous boy bands of the 1990s. Let’s get started.
Related: For more, see our post on famous boy bands here.
1. Backstreet Boys
When thinking of boy bands, the Backstreet Boys is at the top of the list. They may not be the first boy band to exist, but they are the most iconic, with the sales to prove it.
The Backstreet Boys have sold well over 180 million records, with several well-known songs like “I Want It That Way” that often plays on repeat in your head. Although the group is #1 in sales, they never actually had a number 1 hit song on the US Billboard charts.
Despite not having a #1 single, the Backstreet Boys does have a number of chart-topping albums, including Millennium, Black & Blue, and DNA. They’re also one of the longest-lasting boy bands, still active to this day.
Originating from Orlando, Florida, up next we have NSYNC. As one of the earlier boy bands of the ’90s, this group dominated the air waves with top hits like “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “Bye Bye Bye.”
Their fame followed them into the 2000s, but they went on a hiatus in 2002. However, their plan for a temporary break became permanent, and they never toured or released music again.
Despite their short time as performers, NSYNC has won three American Music Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, and seven MTV Video Music Awards. In 2018, they were honored a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Boyz II Men
Another iconic boyband from the ’90s is Boyz II Men. The raw talent, pure emotion, and sweet harmonies in their music captured the hearts of fans.
In 1994, the group had their biggest break after the release of their third album, II. It featured two tracks that rocked the charts, “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee.” The album won a Grammy for Best R&B Album, while “I’ll Make Love to You” won Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
When Boyz II Men began, they had four members until 2003, when bassist Michael McCary left the group due to health reasons. Although they are down a member, they still continue to perform to this day.
4. 98 Degrees
Boy bands know how to make the ladies swoon, and 98 Degrees did a fantastic job doing that. With their seductively smooth voices and lyrics, they crooned through the ears of fans to their hearts with songs like “Because of You” and “I Do (Cherish You).”
Although they were just starting up during the height of success of most other boy bands in the late 1990s, 98 Degrees still flourished and stood out amongst the rest.
They won a Teen Choice Award in 1999 and continued to record songs until their hiatus on 2003. Almost a decade later, 98 Degrees came back together and has even recently released a new single, “Where Do You Want to Go” (2021).
Boy bands were known for their image of suave men with dreamy voices, and 112 was an epitome of this. They showed excellent sex appeal, vocals, harmony, and lyrics in their R&B blend of songs like “Peaches & Cream” and “Anywhere.”
“Only You” (featuring the Notorious B.I.G. & Mase) in 1996 was their first single released that really put them on the map. The following year, 112 featured in Puff Daddy’s song “I’ll Be Missing You,” which earned them a Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy Award.
112 had songs ranking in charts for ten years before separating in 2005. Members soon after followed solo careers.
6. Dru Hill
Another boy band that has lasted decades is Dru Hill. The group is a band of high school friends who came together to create music in 1992. They have a similar sound to Boyz II Men but with a mix of other musical styles such as R&B, hip-hop, soul, and even gospel.
They got their start through talent shows both locally and regionally and even played at their local fudge shop. Their songs “In My Bed,” “Never Make a Promise,” and “How Deep Is Your Love” are among their best hits of the time.
Over the years, Dru Hill has switched up members periodically, but they are still creating and performing today.
7. Take That
Formed in 1990, Take That became the biggest boy band in the UK and had sold more records than other bands from England since the Beatles, selling over 45 million albums worldwide.
Their career started by playing in clubs across the UK. In 1992, Take That had their breakthrough with the release of “It Only Takes a Minute.” It ranked at #7, but by this time, they had started their rise to fame. Another of their greatest hit is the soft ballad “Back for Good.”
From 1993 up to 2014, the group dropped chart-topping albums and performed on sold-out tours worldwide. And despite Robbie Williams leaving the team in 1995, they have continued to release hit albums and songs.
8. New Kids On The Block
Before NSYNC and Backstreet Boys even made their debut, New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were already rocking the charts. Their fame started in the early mid-1980s and went on through the ’90s with songs like “Step by Step” and “Tonight.”
They’ve earned their popular boyband status by selling over 70 million albums and earning several awards. They received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and even had dolls made after them.
But kids can’t remain kids forever. The group split up in 1996, and the members went on to pursue personal interests, though every now and then, they reunite to make music.
With 25 songs making the top-10 list and 14 singles becoming #1 hits in the UK, it’s no wonder Westlife, which formed in 1998, is one of the most popular groups in the UK.
Even years later, their songs still hit you with the same goosebumps and awe as when they first came out, like “Swear It Again” and “If I Let You Go” back in 1999.
Although Westlife doesn’t have the fancy dance moves traditionally seen with boy bands—they’re known to perform while sitting on stools—their voices are just as smooth and entrancing.
With their romantic R&B ballads, fans fell head over heels for All-4-One during the ’90s. This boy band is popular for their hit singles “I Can Love You Like That” and “I Swear.”
The latter song stayed on top of the Hot 100 chart for 11 weeks and earned All-4-One a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The group also recorded “Someday” for Disney’s animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Many of All-4-One’s best-known hits are from the ’90s, but they have continued to release music over the years, although not with the same success. Their last studio album release was in 2015.
Consisting of three brothers—Isaac, Taylor, and Zac, the Hanson was a popular band back in the ’90s. They are most famous for their hit “MMMBop,” in 1997, which sold over 1.5 million units in the US alone.
Hanson had quite the success with their debut album, Middle of Nowhere. However, when their label, Mercury Records, was eliminated after a merger, the group suffered the consequences and eventually created their own label.
They’ve since continued to release albums, with a new one back in 2020, but sadly, Hanson was never able to gain the same success as that of their earlier years.
Related: Check out our article on other singing brothers here.
Sometimes referred to as the male version of the Spice Girls, 5ive was a British boy band from London formed in 1997. They had the expected boy band sound but managed to bring a different vibe and high spirits on some of their songs, like “Everybody Get Up” and their rendition of “We Will Rock You.”
Though 5ive didn’t last very long, they accomplished a lot in a short time. They had ten songs hit the top 10 charts of the UK, three of which were #1. Altogether, they sold over 20 million copies of their albums worldwide.
5ive disbanded in 2001 after members decided to leave. They’ve tried getting back together a few times over the years, but currently, they’re only a band of three.
13. Michael Learns To Rock
Our final boy band has roots in Denmark. Danish group Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) was formed in 1988 and had great local and international success throughout the 1990s.
Their second album, Colours, received a Best Performing Act of the Year at the 1994 SEA Grammy Awards. The following year, MLTR released their best single, “That’s Why (You Go Away).” It topped Denmark’s charts and ranked in France, Germany, and Switzerland.
MLTR had a brief hiatus after one of their members left. They came back together in 2004, though their popularity had waned by then.
Summing Up Our List Of Popular Boy Bands From The 1990s
The ’90s were one of the best of times. Life was simpler, and the music was amazing, as you can tell from the list of famous boy bands you’ve just gone through.
From rock to romantic ballads, we’ve enjoyed the classic songs these men have created, and although not all of these bands still perform today, they continuously impact the world with their ’90s beats.
Still, these are just 13 of the many boy band groups of the ’90s. Who have we left off that should be on this list? Let us know and we’ll add them!