The boy band phenomenon seems to be on the comeback with groups like The Wanted and Hot Chelle Rae making waves. But One Direction quickly has risen to the top of the heap causing a new British Invasion among mobs of teenage girls waiting to marry any one of the five singers. Cute boys. Pop songs. Big sellers. They have all the makings of hit makers following in the footsteps of ‘N Sync. Now we’re just wondering who will be the next Lance Bass. Some people have already been asking, anyway, so why can’t we?
These boy bands have all had members come out later in their career and for that we are thankful. So Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry or Louis, if any of you taste the rainbow down the road, you’ll be in pretty good company.
‘N Sync — Probably the biggest of them all in recent history, ‘N Sync overtook the boy band title from then music rivals Backstreet Boys with gigantic albums. Their 1998 self-title debut and 2000’s No Strings Attached both reached diamond status (or 10x platinum) with hits “I Want You Back” and “Bye Bye Bye.” Their third album Celebrity was a minor hit, but by then Justin Timberlake was making his move to get justified and bring sexy back. Lance Bass came out in People magazine in 2006, well after the group had unofficially disbanded.
Boyzone — Barely known on this side of the pond, this group is freaking major in U.K. and Ireland with all four of their studio albums hitting No. 1. since their 1994 debut Said and Done. Co-lead singer Stephen Gately came out in 1999 and went on to release the solo album New Beginning in 2000. He married his partner in 2006, but sadly, in 2009, he passed away suddenly while in Spain due to a heart condition.
New Kids on the Block — Founded by ‘N Sync creator Maurice Starr, NKOTB landed with a thud in it’s 1986 self-titled debut, but 1988’s Hangin’ Tough put the boy band on the map and the charts. They rode the tide of monstrous popularity only to be met by the rise of grunge. Jonathan Knight confirmed his orientation when former girlfriend and singer Tiffany thought she outed him in an interview. He went on the record to say that he has lived openly as a gay man for 20 years. He now works in real estate.
Menudo — For me, this band’s name was gross because when mom made the traditional Mexican soup at home, it would stink up the house to no end. But the Puerto Rican product started making its rounds in 1977. The premise was that once a member outgrew the band’s youthful look, he’d be replaced. Ricky Martin didn’t enter the picture until 1984 and stayed with Menudo until 1989. Martin garnered major success in Latin America, but broke through to American audiences big time with his legendary performance at the 1997 Grammy Awards. He came out rather elegantly in 2010.