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#VanTukkaFriday Icon of the Week: The Boy Band

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment: flawless harmonies, perfectly synchronised dance routines and the deafening sound of screaming girls and women. Only two words could possibly come to mind – ‘boy band’.

The imagery is unmistakable even though so very many examples exist… from the cheesy likes of New Kids on the Block to the powerhouses like Boyz II Men. Yes, I’ve heard the argument that The Beatles and the Jackson 5 were boy bands in their own right. I don’t buy it.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the term even came into use (although some sources do credit New Edition with having pioneering the trend in the 80s). What distinguishes the boy band as we know it from groups like the Beatles is the originating concept of applying an R&B sensibility to a pop genre.

The days of cute or awkward-looking siblings harmonising to cutsie love songs had come and gone. Boy bands took the soul and beauty of RnB – in its melodies and clean-cut slickness – and combined it with the flash and showmanship of pop. Add to that some straight-up sex in the form of a group of talented, good-looking, virile young males and you’ve got a phenomenon on your hands!

Those boys would strut around the stage performing awe-inspiring choreographed moves while belting out all the songs you love. Damn near singing them right to you! Every now and then a shirt would come off and the panties wouldn’t be far behind. Or the volume would decrease and a scorcher of an acapella would send the ladies into heat stroke.

They played no instruments. No distractions – it was just their voices, their bodies… and you. Has there ever been anything hotter?

So, here’s to the boy band…! From every teenage girl who ever stuck a poster up on her wall, every grown woman who made it her business to know everything about her one favourite band member. From all of us, we salute you and your fine selves!

Image: Boyz II Men (c)

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