Harry Styles, Nick Carter, Mark Owen, Joey McIntyre. All boybands have a cute, small one who does most of the dancing, is the owner of particularly cool hair, and smiles a lot.
One Direction does. Take That did. Backstreet Boys did. And now, as NKOTB (formerly known as New Kids on the Block and arguably the first boyband back in the late eighties. Google them if you’re under 30) complete their Vegas residency, we look back at the evolution of the boyband and realise… not much has really changed to be honest.
Hair is important
Imagine for a moment, Harry Styles without the curls… we know, it’s like Ant without Dec. Similarly, if it wasn’t for Mark Owen’s ‘curtains’ hair, would he have still been our favourite? Looking back at retro New Kids on the Block pictures, the curly ‘Styles’ do isn’t that dissimilar to little Joey McIntyre’s mop. Word is, they’ve never been seen in the same room…
So is a song about beautiful women
For One Direction it was the singalong What Makes You Beautiful that melted a thousand teenage hearts. That was the tune we all turned up loudly at the end of a party because, it’s was a pretty good pop sing, no? No? Okay. For New Kids, it was the ode to magazine cover stars, Cover Girl, sung by bad boy Donnie Wahlberg (actor Mark’s brother, no less). Either way, we swooned. Hard.
They’re watching their figures
Sums matter in the pop business, and for these guys, NKOTB sold 80 million records (and they were probably ACTUAL vinyl records back then. It was the 80s). Meanwhile, back in 2014, One Direction have racked up 36 million sales worldwide but given they’ve been around just a fraction of the time that New Kids have – and they have already broken the Guinness World Record for being the only UK band to debut at number one in America – it’s pretty likely they’ll catch up.
It’s all about the fans
In July, New Kids on the Block invited a dozen fans to hang tough (lyric-based in-joke alert) with the band at 30,000 feet on the NKOTB Party Plane bound for Vegas. That pretty much trumped the average backstage pass. But not to be outdone, One Direction prefer the personal touch. In spring 2014, Harry Styles surprised an 18-year-old fan by leaving her voicemail on her mobile after meeting her stepdad over lunch.
At any one time, one of the band will likely be wearing a hat.
We don’t know why, it just seems to be part of the Boyband Code of Conduct (or something).