A boy band (or boyband) is defined as a vocal group consisting of between 3 and 5 young male singers, usually in their teenage years or in their twenties at the time of formation. Most boyband members do not play musical instruments, although there are exceptions. Most boy bands dance as well as sing, usually giving highly choreographed performances.

Boybands are often created by talent managers or record producers who hold auditions and are usually targeted towards a female audience of teens.

Although the term "boy band" is mostly associated with groups from the 1990s onwards, the earliest predecessors of this format were groups such as The Osmonds, the Jackson 5, and the Monkees, which helped form the template for boy bands. 

Other antecedents (apart from those already mentioned) exist throughout the history of pop music. The genre has been copied into languages and cultures other than the Anglo-American. The Puerto Rican boy band Menudo was founded in 1977. Menudo had a convention unique among boy bands: when a member turned 16, became too tall, or their voice changed, they were replaced.

New Kids on the Block, created in the mid-80s by American producer Maurice Starr, is often considered the first boy band to be recognized as such, but, as we mentioned before, the trend is actually older. Besides the aforementioned NKOTB, Brother Beyond, Bros and Big Fun are three other bands who rose to fame in the late 80s.

In 1991 Take That, one of the greatest boybands of all times was formed by manager Nigel Martin-Smith. They had a string of number ones all over Europe before Robbie Williams left the band and their split in 1996. To date, they are one of the most successful groups in British music chart history and the inspiration for most boybands ever since.

In the 90s in Great Britain there was a rivalry between Take That and East 17, who had a harsher attitude, style and sound. Other British boybands from the 90s include 911, Let Loose, Ultra, Another Level, Code Red, Bad Boys Inc., Upside Down, 5ive, or MN8. In the neighbouring country of Ireland, the most important boybands from the 90s include OTT, Mytown and, of course, Boyzone and Westlife.

Mainland Europe also saw the birth of some boybands who made quite an impact in their territories. Worlds Apart, a boyband created in the mid-90s in the UK found fame in France and other European countries with their second and third line-ups. Dutch-English band Caught In The Act had some very successful singles in Germany and other neighbouring countries. Other European boybands are The Boyz, Touché or Bed & Breakfast, all of them from Germany.

From the other side of the Atlantic the Backstreet Boys and NSync  found worldwide fame and sold several million CDs. Other North American bands include 98º, LFO or Hanson. 

The 2000s was a period of time where only some of the big bands from the 90s survived (BSB & Westlife (until they dissolved in 2012)) and some others made successful comebacks such as Take That in 2005, Boyzone in 2007 or New Kids On The Block in 2008. New bands such as V and Blue, O-Town, or a1 had quite a big success during the beginning of this decade.

In the early 2010s, there was somewhat of a resurgence of boy band popularity in countries where the trend had not maintained, with the emergence of new boy bands like Big Time Rush, The Wanted, and One Direction and the formation of supergroup NKOTBSB which comprised New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys. NKOTBSB's success inspired boy bands who were fairly popular during the 1990s and 2000s to make a comeback, such as Blue, 98 Degrees, Five, and 911.

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