One Direction

Boy Bands: The Way They Were

Let's go back to a simpler time: when bandannas were bedazzled, tribal tattoos were hot, and boy bands ruled the world


Who? Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean
Known for: restarting the boy band craze in the late '90s with their No. 2 single, "Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)" – and going on to set records with Millennium, which sold 1.13 million copies during its first week of release in 1999.
They had all the essential elements: A cute one (Nick), a bad one (A.J.) – even a sensitive one (Brian), etc. Add that to infectious pop music confections helmed by Swedish impresario Max Martin, and the Backstreet Boys sold out arenas in the late '90s.