Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

10 Best Boy Band Songs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

10 Best Boy Band Songs

Article excerpt

Boy bands aren't really bands. It just has a better ring than "boy groups."

When we think of "bands," we think of self-contained units that play all their own instruments -- like the Beatles ... or Hanson, to use them in the same sentence -- and don't have three or four of the core members dancing at a mic.

Although the boy groups often feel prefabricated with slick, packaged songs geared to the right-now, some of the tunes have held up over decades.

The list starts with the best boy band of all -- The Jackson 5 -- which had two members playing instruments (sometimes), and at least three dancing. Because the Jacksons could take up at least half the slots here, the rule is a maximum of three songs by one group.

1) The Jackson 5, "I Want You Back" (1969): Co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy, it's not just a great boy band song, it's one of the most vibrant pop songs ever. It has it all: scratch-funk guitar, snaky Motown bassline, boogie piano, tasteful strings, soulful backing vocals and young Michael doing his best Diana Ross.

2) The Jackson 5, "ABC" (1970): The Jacksons went back to the same formula a year later, and simple as do-re-mi, it was another infectious classic.

3) The Jackson 5, "I'll Be There" (1970): After three rockers, including "The Love You Save" (which would also be on this list), Mr. Gordy wrote the Jacksons a ballad, and it's a timeless beauty, sung by boy-ish Michael and warmer-voiced brother Jermaine.

4) Boyz II Men, "End of the Road" (1992): This ballad co-written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds for the "Boomerang" soundtrack is a heartbreaker, dripping with emotion, desperation and echoes of classic Motown soul. Midway through, we get a Barry White-style voiceover with a rare sentiment: "I'm not out to go out and cheat on you all night/Just like you did, baby, but that's all right/Hey, I love you anyway. …

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