Music has definitely played an impactful role in everyone’s life. Listeners would resonate with most, if not all aspects of the song be it, the lyrics, the tune or the depth of emotions portrayed within the song. Albeit the presence of solo singers, the existence of bands has definitely evolved over time. The best thing about bands is the fact that they have an almost cult-like fan base where people would bond over their favourite bands instead of the latest movies. It has always been a uniting factor, nevertheless.
Current bands such as BTS, Coldplay, Little Mix and BLACKPINK are all the rage now. But, let’s take a step down memory lane and look at some of the most popular boy bands and girl bands in the ’90s. Yes, the era where FRIENDS debuted on NBC! We’ll also be having a look at their latest projects and work.
This famed boy band was known for their good looks and their good music. The group comprising of AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, was the brainchild of Lou Pearlman. Pearlman placed an ad in an Orlando newspaper in 1992 looking for singers to form this band, which then continued to make waves in the music industry with the release of their debut international album, “Backstreet Boys” in 1996. Their third studio album “Millennium” was the breakthrough they needed to rise to ultimate fame. However, Richardson left the group in 2006, to pursue other interests only to rejoin the band back in 2012.
In 2019, their album, “DNA” debuted at number one, more than 2 decades after the formation of the group. This was the first boy band to top the U.S. album charts in 3 decades. With a total of 100 million records sold worldwide, The Backstreet Boys are the first group since Led Zeppelin to have their first 10 albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200. That’s not all! The albums “Backstreet Boys” and “Millennium” were both certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2013.
After breaking records, touring, winning Grammys, struggling with addiction, becoming fathers, pursuing solo careers and dealing with the paparazzi, the band is still continuing what they do best; MORE MUSIC! Last year, in 2020, this band celebrated their 27th anniversary, launched an Apple Music radio show called “All I Have to Give Radio”, performed on Jimmy Fallon and released a new song with Steve Aoki called “Let It Be Me”. Wait, there’s more! This group has also completed a successful 2 year Las Vegas residency, had their own “Backstreet Boys: The Experience” exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. They’re still touring too.
This group was started by twin brothers Benji and Joel Madden, and it then, included Paul Thomas, Billy Martin and later, Dean Butterworth. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2002 and received largely positive reviews. They received major success after their second album, “The Young and the Hopeless” which sold 3.5 million copies worldwide. They then produced a darker album both musically and lyrically — “The Chronicles of Life and Death” in 2004. This album was then certified platinum by the RIAA, and sold over 1 million copies in the US alone. After the release of their dance-punk inspired album “Good Morning RevivaL”, they proceeded to go back to their pop-punk roots with the album “Cardiology” in 2010.
On the music spectrum of things, this rock band continued to soar through the years with the release of their album, “Authority” in 2016 after a 4 year long hiatus and the subsequent release of “Generation Rx” in 2018. Apart from their music, Joel became a coach on “The Voice Australia” along with his brother Benji and is now, married to Nicole Richie. They share 2 children, Harlow and Sparrow. Benji is now married to Cameron Diaz and the couple welcomed their first child, Raddix in 2020.
From releasing hit albums such as “Coast to Coast” and “World of Our Own”, Westlife is definitely a hit in their times. This Irish boy band was formed in 1998 in Sligo, Ireland and was originally signed by Simon Cowell in the UK, Clive Davis in the US and managed by Louis Walsh and Sonny Takhar. Consisting of Shane Filan, Markus Feehily, Kian Egan and Nick Byrne, this group rose to stardom with their debut international self-titled studio album, “Westlife”, followed by “Coast to Coast”, “World of Our Own”, “Unbreakable – The Greatest Hits Vol.1” and “Turnaround”.
Prior to their Turnaround Tour in 2004, one of the original members, Brian McFadden departed from the band. However, this did not stop the remaining 4 members from continuing to make more music with the release of their albums, “Allow Us To Be Frank”, “The Love Album”, “Face to Face” and “Back Home”. This band has the second most certifications for a boy band in the UK Singles Chart after “Take That” and the most singles certifications for a pop band on the UK number-one singles artists chart since The Beatles.
After winning numerous awards, the band took a hiatus for 8 years and came back with their eleventh studio album, “Spectrum” in 2019. This was an absolute joy to their fans! Previously, lead vocalist Shane was declared a bankrupt days before their final gig in 2012. This happened after a property venture he had entered into with his brother, was a failure. He then turned his life back around and released 3 solo albums. Nick has had a successful career as a TV and radio presenter and is also a big supporter of Unicef, taking part in several campaigns for the charity. Mark, owns a catering business now, selling coffee and crepes at various festivals. He has also released a solo album in 2015, “Fire”. Kian Egan was crowned King of the Jungle after winning the 2013 edition of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” and he’s also a presenter on the Irish version of “The Voice”.
This American pop and R&B vocal group consisting of 4 vocalists, Jeff Timmons, Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre and is quite different in comparison to the rest of the boy bands due to the fact that they were formed independently by Timmons. Then, they were picked up by a record label. Achieving a total of eight top 40 singles in the US, this boy band sold over 30 million records worldwide. The group decided to take a break to fulfil other ambitions and opportunities in 2003 right up to 2012. This was an extended hiatus. However, the group came together in 2004 to sing on “Nick and Jessica’s Family Christmas TV Special” and again in 2005 to support Jeffre in his candidacy for mayor of Cincinnati.
As of now, the band members lead their separate lives but they would still meet up to play shows, record new music and make silly videos. Therefore, the band has not been disbanded, yet! Nick Lachey is married to TV host and former TRL VJ Vanessa Minnillo and the couple has 3 children, Phoenix, Camden and Brooklyn. Lachey won Season 5 of “The Masked Singer”. Drew Lachey competed on Season 2 of “Dancing with the Stars” and won with dance partner, Cheryl Burke in 2006. He also appeared on HGTV and “American Ninja Warrior”. Jeff Timmons joined the Chippendales for a limited run in 2011 and starred in the E! reality series “Men of the Strip”. Justin Jeffre made a progress up the ladder from music to politics and ran for the mayor of Cincinnati in 2005.
This American boy band was a favourite one especially, among the girls! Formed in Orlando, Florida in 1995, N’Sync was launched in Germany by BMG Ariola Munich. This famed group consisted of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass. They propelled to fame after their self-titled debut album was successfully released to European countries. Shortly after that, they debuted in the US market with their single, “I Want You Back”. Their first 2 studio albums, which also comprises “No Strings Attached”, were both certified Diamond by the RIAA. Not only that, their singles such as “Bye Bye Bye”, “This I Promise You”, “Girlfriend”, “Pop” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” reached the top 10 in several international charts, with the last being a US Billboard Hot 100 number one.
Sadly, the last time they recorded a new material was in 2002. However, the band has reunited for various events such as the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The band members are still on good terms with one another. However, they’ve gone ahead to lead their separate lives. Lance Bass, made a bid to become the youngest person in space at the age of 23 but sadly, producers have failed to raise the $20 million fees needed for him to blast him off from Kazakhstan. In 2006, he came out as gay and his wedding to Michael Turchin was the first gay wedding televised in America. JC Chasez pursued a solo career with his single “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)” and his 2004 album “Schizophrenic”. He has also worked as a songwriter for artists such as David Archuleta and the Backstreet Boys. Joey Fatone has had roles in “Kim Possible”, “Hannah Montana”, “Jersey Shore Attack”, “Army of the Damned”, “Dead 7” and “Izzie’s Way Home”. He was also seen on Season 4 of “Dancing with the Stars”. Chris Kirkpatrick appeared in 2008’s “Gone Country 2” on CMT and “Stripperella”, “The Fairly OddParents”, “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!”, “Dead 7” and “Angie Tribeca”. He married Karly Skladany in 2013.
Justin Timberlake needs no introduction to his post- N’Sync work! His solo albums “Justified”, “Futuresex/Lovesounds” and “The 20/20 Experience” were all great hits!
With 90 million records sold worldwide, the Spice Girls have definitely revolutionised music and catalysed the emergence of successful girl-bands. This British pop girl group was formed in 1994 comprising Melanie Brown also known as Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chrisholm or Mel C (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice). They exuberated a girl-power mantra and targeted a young female fan base instead of a male audience. They were dubbed as the pop culture icons of the decade. With the release of the debut single, “Wannabe” in 1996, which hit number one in 37 countries, this marked their global success. Their debut album, “Spice” sold more than 23 million copies worldwide, hence, becoming the best selling album by a female group in history! Their albums, which often had the theme of female empowerment, were major bestsellers worldwide — selling 90 million records worldwide. The group decided to focus on their solo careers at the end of 2000 but they insisted that they were not splitting up. Their words were proven to be true when they reunited for two concert tours, the Return of the Spice Girls and Spice World.
The group recently shared a previously unreleased song, “Feed Your Love” to mark 25 years of “Wannabe”. But what are these women actually up to? Emma Bunton most recently served as an “architect” on the reality competition series “Boy Band” on ABC where she advised wannabe boy band members. She has 2 children. Beau and Tate with her longtime partner, Jade Jones. Halliwell released a new single in 2017 in memory of a friend George Michael and has 2 children, Bluebell and Montague. Mel B is now a judge on “America’s Got Talent” alongside Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. Holding on to that seat since 2011, Mel B is a proud mom to daughters Madison, Angel and Phoenix. Mel C is now a solo singer-songwriter and a mother to Scarlet with her ex, Thomas Starr. Victoria Beckham is fully involved in the fashion field and is now married to former soccer star, David Beckham. She did give a glimpse of returning to singing when she talked to host, James Corden in the “Late Late Show”.
Nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, Destiny’s Child was an American girl group comprised of Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett. In early 2000, both Roberson and Luckett were replaced with Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin; however, Franklin quit after five months, leaving the group as a trio.
They propelled into mainstream recognition after their song “No, No, No” and their best-selling second album, “The Writing’s on the Wall” (1999), which contained the number-one singles “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name”. Their third album, “Survivor” produced the hits, “Independent Women”, “Survivor” and “Bootylicious”. Although we haven’t had a Destiny’s Child’s record since 2004’s “Destiny Fulfilled”, they’ve remained close friends and have appeared on each other’s projects, including Beyonce’s Superbowl and Coachella events.
The band members of Destiny’s Child have definitely made groundbreaking achievements. Beyonce is no stranger to achievements as such. She has dropped 6 albums and has won the most Grammys to date. Beyonce and Jay Z share daughters, Blue Ivy and twins, Rumi and Star. The icon is more family-focused these days and rarely gives interviews anymore.
Kelly Rowland has released 4 solo albums and became a judge for “The X Factor UK” in 2011, “The X Factor USA” in 2013 and “The Voice Australia” since 2017. Michelle Williams has released 4 albums and 3 of them are in the gospel genre. She ventured into acting in 2003 and has had leading roles in “The Color Purple”, “Chicago”, “What My Husband Doesn’t Know”, “Fela!” and “A Snow White Christmas”. LaTavia Robertson and LeToya Luckett formed a group called Anjel with Naty Quinones and Tiffany Beaudoin after leaving Destiny’s Child. They split up in 2013 without releasing an album.
This Irish girl group consisting of twin sisters, Edele Lynch and Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou and Sinead O’Carroll, enjoyed success in both Europe and North America between 1998 to 2000 with a total release of 2 albums and 8 singles. All of their singles have made it to the UK Top 20. B*Witched was unfortunately dropped by their record company after having sold 3 million albums worldwide in 2002. The group split up when O’Carroll decided to leave. In 2006, the Lynch sisters formed a group, Ms. Lynch which frequently performed B*Witched material at live shows. In May 2013 they unveiled a new song called “Love and Money” and on 28 September 2014, they released an EP, entitled “Champagne” or “Guinness”.
Edele turned her talents to songwriting for other girl groups, involved in “Sound of the Underground” for Girls Aloud and “Twisted” for Sugababes. She also starred in a couple of reality series including “Celebrity Apprentice Ireland” in 2013 and “Big Brother” in 2014. She’s now a mother of 3. Keavy has had a few stints on stage in pantomimes and starred as a forest sprite in “Robin Hood” and “The Babes In The Wood at Woodville Halls Theatre, Gravesend”. She retrained as a humanistic counsellor and opened a practice in southwest London after suffering from depression following the breakdown of the band. Sinead tried managing a girl group, Minx in 2004 but didn’t manage to get them signed to a record label. In 2019, she competed in Ireland’s answer to “Strictly, Dancing with the Stars”. Lindsay currently lives in Manchester with her husband, director Indi Pahl, two kids and a cavalier king spaniel. She had a short-acting career between 2008 and 2011 and starred in a film called “Two Days in the Smoke”.
Manchester-based girl group, Cleopatra, comprised of sisters, Cleo, Yonah and Zainam Higgins. They started off as Cleopatra and the Attractions but soon dropped that name and it became Cleopatra. Their debut single was “Cleopatra’s Theme” which was taken from their debut album, “Comin’ Atcha!”. It entered the UK Singles Chart at #3 giving them their first Top 5 hit single. Their next 3 singles also reached the top 5 winning this famed girl group, the BRIT Awards and MOBO Awards nominations. Cleopatra was then introduced to the United States by Madonna and their song, Cleopatra’s Theme reached number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 16 on the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs Chart. The group also filmed a live show for a 60-minute Disney Channel special, “Cleopatra in Concert”, where they performed their biggest hits aboard the Disney cruise ship, Disney Magic.
Cleo turned into a Bond girl in 2002 and covered “For Your Eyes Only” on ITV’s tribute show “Songs of Bond”. She then released a proper solo single titled “Feelin’ Like This”, followed 5 years later. In 2013, she made her mainstream return on “The Voice UK” — coached by will.i.am after belting out a rendition of Beyonce’s “Love on Top” and was eliminated in the semi-final stages of the competition. Zainam kept a low profile after Cleopatra was dropped by their Warner Music record label in 2001 and made a brief appearance as the mystery guest on BBC Two’s “Never Mind The Buzzcocks” in 2007. Yonah, however, turned her attention to teaching street dance and cheerleading in the deprived areas of Manchester. In 2012, she obtained a diploma in health and social care.
With an original lineup consisting of Tionne T-Boz Watkins and Lisa Left Eye Lopes, this girl group was formed in Atlanta, Georgia and with the addition of Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, they scored nine top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including four number-one singles “Creep”, “Waterfalls”, “No Scrubs”, and “Unpretty”. TLC also became the first R&B group in history to receive the Million certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for “FanMail”. With over 65 million records sold worldwide, TLC is the best-selling American girl group in their era. Adding on to their achievements, they’ve also won four career Grammy Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards, and five Soul Train Music Awards. The band’s legacy included spreading awareness about safe sex.
Lisa’s life tragically ended in a car accident on 5th April 2002. Chilli and T-Boz occasionally reunited to sing together and performed as a duo for a series of concerts in Asia in 2009. After joining Agouron Pharmaceuticals in 2003, to launch a national HIV/AIDS educational program, a VH1 reality series called “What Chilli Wants” was launched. Besides that, she’s also been on several shows including Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” and on an episode of “WWE Countdown”. Chilli also released a new single called “Body” in 2016. Tionne released a semi-autobiographical poetry book in 1998 called “Thoughts” regarding her time with the band. In 2009, she revealed her battle with a potentially fatal brain tumour for 3 years. Despite the fact that many doctors had refused to operate in case of potential complications relating to sickle cell anaemia, she was later able to undergo surgery at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
With some bands being disbanded, while others coming together occasionally to give their fans good music, it is no doubt that these talented musicians of the yesteryears should definitely be celebrated at all times.
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