There weren’t any boy bands when I was young. I was slightly too young for The Osmonds. After them we had to wait until the end of the eighties when boy bands became popular starting with New Kids on the Block. The British answer to their success was Take That and the rest is history.
It depends how you define a boy band. Nowadays it’s mostly five goodlooking young guys with different styles (to attract as much fans as possible) who are mostly singing and dancing together. In this definition The Osmonds, or The Jackson Five weren’t real boy bands. Their members played different instruments and they had one particular lead singer (Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson). So if we stretch this definition slightly there were some boy bands in my youth: Wham!, Bros, Duran Duran and one-hit-wonder The Pasadenas.
But in the nineties the golden age of boy bands started. Take That took it to a whole new level. What caused this? Were it the energetic dance moves and the close harmony singing? Or was it the combination of seventies covers and self-written hits (by Gary Barlow). Or just the five fresh faces who were eager to show their bare torsos in soft-erotic video clips? Anyway it brought them a lot of young fans and also in the gay scene they were very popular. Although I was too old to be a devoted fan I silenty liked them for all the good reasons. But it only lasted three albums and a greatest hits. Robbie Williams left the band shortly after the release of their third album. The rest of the guys stopped because the pressure of their massive success became too much.
Other boy bands like Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Five, N’ Sync, Blue and nowadays One Direction followed. Some functioned as a stepping stone for solo careers, but only Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake were really successful. Take That reunited in 2006 with the four remaining members. Robbie Williams was still being very condescending about his old mates, especially Gary Barlow. But miracles still happen. Robbies career waned, mostly because he split up with his genious song writer Guy Chambers. That almost ruined his career. And Gary Barlow always was a good song writer. So Take That kickstarted their career with Beautiful World, which includes my favorite Take That song ever: Shine.
Especially in their home country they became again massively popular. Two albums followed, the latest Progress with a temporary reunion of the original band members. It was their best album so far and surprisingly jumpstarted the solo career of Robbie Williams. Lately Jason Orange announced his departure of the band. To be honest he was there mostly for the dancing, and the men are getting too old for that! So now there’s three members left and a new album is announced. Listen to the first single These Days and judge for yourself: they may get older, but they’re still going strong. Like they say: Old Love Never Dies.