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10 Boy Bands You Probably Forgot About

'90s Boy Bands - 98 Degrees, LFO, O-Town
Motown Record/Nick Elgar, ImageDirect via Getty Images/J Records

Boy bands are back. With One Direction’s much buzzed-about performance on ‘Saturday Night Live‘ last weekend and the new hotness of The Wanted, the boy band is definitely a thing again. But before we get too excited, let us not forget where they came from. Is the return of the boy band a good thing?

If we forget about our history, we are doomed to repeat it. So before we get all gaga over these sizzling young gents, we should take a trip in our way-back machines and remember the boy bands of old.

Sure, Justin Timberlake continues to release fresh hits, so ‘N Sync has not been forgotten. And, Ricky Martin pops up every once in a while, reminding us of the delicious Menudo of the 1980s. These guys are not who we’re worried about. We’re talking about the formerly swoon-worthy (and sometimes gag-worthy) guy groups that wouldn’t stop cropping up in the ’90s. The ones that maybe we were all too eager to forget.

We remember them. You can thank us later. (Warning: frequent shirtlessness, puffy jackets and white boy swagger ahead.)

98 Degrees

98 Degrees
Universal

Nick Lachey has brilliantly managed to stay in the limelight, mostly by getting married to the delightfully ditzy Jessica Simpson and making us all suffer through their torturously ignorant daily life. And sure, maybe you remember his brother Drew from his stint on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ But raise your hand if you can remember the other members of 98 Degrees? The good news is there are rumors of a reunion tour this summer. Practice your tween scream now. (Nick Lachey and the gang get soulful in the video for ‘Because of You’ below.)

B2K

B2K
Epic

First of all, do not get them confused with the famous BTK killer from Kansas. Totally different thing. Second, if you were trying to imagine something that was more hyped than Y2K, look no further than B2K. Their biggest song, ‘Bump, Bump, Bump,’ featured their own exec P. Diddy. This gave them a shot, but all the P. Diddys and magazine covers in the world couldn’t put B2K together again when the infighting finally split them up in 2004. (B2k gets a bump from Diddy in the ‘Bump Bump Bump’ video below.)

Dream Street

Dream Street
Atlantic Records

This boy band was rather short-lived at the very end of the ’90s. (Fun/creepy fact: their original name was “Boy Wonder.”) We’re guessing because the guys all had homework to get done. These prepubescent crooners were on the way to the top when a dispute between their parents and the group’s management forced a break-up. Parents are always making you break up, dude. Today the group is mostly notable for giving actor/singer Jesse McCartney his start. (Watch the girls go wild for Dream Street in the video for ‘It Happens Everytime.’)

5ive

5ive
RCA/Arista

Substituting numbers for letters — both in your band name and in songs — was a common practice during the ’90s. (In a way, this tween-friendly shorthand predicted texting.) Created by the geniuses who later spawned the far more successful Spice Girls, 5ive had some success in the UK and Europe and then started to bleed into the US boy band scene.

Our favorite cranky judge Simon Cowell thought enough of them to sign them to his label, but even he couldn’t keep them together. They tried to come back a few years ago, but nobody wanted to fork over the cash to help make their album and now are sadly 4gotten. (Find out what happens ‘When the Lights Go Out’ in the video below.)

O-Town

O-Town
Sony

Cut from the same cookie dough as the rest of the boy bands from the time, O-Town were five good-looking guys with some mushy ballads. The difference was, they were spawned on the MTV reality show ‘Making the Band.’ The “O” in the band’s name represented Orlando, FL, even though none of the members were from that city. However, it was the name of the dance studio owned by the band’s one-time manager, notorious boy band impresario Lou Pearlman.

While there was talk of a reunion in 2011, member Ashley Parker Angel opted out to focus on his acting career. Since he was basically the poor-man’s Justin Timberlake of the group, an O-Town reunion without Ashley Parker Angel would probably make many a fan rip up their ‘Tiger Beat’ posters. (Take a trip to O-Town with the ‘All or Nothing’ video below.)

C-Note

C-Note
Epic

Now here’s a boy band that was actually from Orlando. Bursting briefly on the US scene in 1999, C-Note’s name was an acronym for the hilariously boastful phrase “Creating Nothing Other Than Excellence.” Basically a Menudo retread, the group infused Latin elements into their sound and scored the moderate hit ‘Wait Till I Get Home.’ After vanishing for most of the ’00s, they returned in 2008 with the English-language album ‘Chivalry’ in 2008. Whether or not they’re still creating excellence is another discussion entirely. (Watch C-Note create nothing but excellence on the amazing track ‘Wait Till I Get Home’ below.)

LFO

LFO
Arista

We can’t leave out the Lyte Funky Ones. As their hit ‘Summer Girls’ told us, LFO were known for their fondness for girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch and a general feeling of queasiness when it comes to Chinese food. (They also got meta by referencing boy band godfathers New Kids on the Block.) While that song–and to a lesser extent ‘Girl on TV,’ which featured Jennifer Love Hewitt in the video as the, well, girl on TV–has lingered in the public consciousness, the band members have mostly faded into obscurity.

The Lyte Funky Ones were all working on side projects by the early 2000s and officially broke up, after years of silence, in 2009. Tragically, member Rich Cronin passed away in 2010 after a long battle with leukemia. (Watch LFO reference everything from Larry Bird to Alex P. Keaton in the ‘Summer Girls’ video below.)

BBMak

BBMak
Telstar

We’re guessing these guys had a difficult time settling on the perfect, crushable boy band name and just made a name out of their last names Barry, Burns and McNally. (Bell Biv Devoe they were not.) Like the grandfathers of all boy bands, they got their start in the UK and then crossed the pond to make it big in the US. (They even appeared on ‘Even Stevens’ opposite a young Shia LaBeouf.)

The group disbanded in 2003 when they looked around and realized they were doing pretty much what everyone else was doing. They all went on to attempt solo careers, with Burns working with DJ Tiesto as well as forming the bands Inhaler and The Bleach Works. Still not so great with the whole naming thing, we see. (Get mellow with the ‘Back Here’ video below.)

3T

3T
Columbia

Before there were boy bands, there was a band of boys known as The Jackson 5. Aside from the ever popular Michael, everyone’s second favorite Jackson was Tito. (Well, he’s our second favorite.) How can you not love Tito? Okay, so he did let his three sons Taj, Taryll and Tito Jr. form their own boy band during the mid-’90s. Luckily they were smart enough to have their uber-famous uncle Michael perform on their hit song ‘Why.’ (Unfortunately, they also wore as much make-up as their uncle in the video.) They were last seen performing at the 2011 ‘Michael Forever’ tribute concert. Like LaToya, it seems we’re stuck with 3T for a while. (Hear MJ lay down some smooth grooves with his nephews in the video for ‘Why’ below.)

2GE+HER

The ’60s had The Monkees, so the ’90s needed 2GE+HER. Mostly, there had to be some way to mock the ridiculous number of cheesy boy bands that cropped up back in the day or our heads would have collectively exploded. MTV eased our boy band pain by giving us this funny fake band in movie and TV form. They actually make the whole boy band craze worthwhile.

Recent news that MTV could be bringing back 2gether (or 2GE+HER) for a new series couldn’t come at a better time. Sadly, original member Michael Cuccione passed away from Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2001. Remember him (and the band) below with the video for their awesome song ‘U+Me= Us (Calculus)’

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