In a day and age where we live for accolades and notability particularly in the world of music, I often come across the debate of who is the greatest boyband of all time? and the first band from most lips will be The Beatles, but are they really? or were they the greatest boyband of a generation? Musicvein would argue the latter.
There’s no disputing the accolades for their contribution to music, The Beatles were a global phenomenon, breaking records, winning Grammys and Ivor Novellos (McCartney/Lennon) and they were the birth of the boyband concept we see replicated today, but to categorize them as the greatest boyband of all time is a little over-rated.
For the six year period where they created the pandemonium – 1964 to 1970, yes The Beatles ruled the world and it seemed another boyband wouldn’t come close to the success they brought about until the late 80’s/early 90’s when New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) hit the scene, hotly followed by Take That 90-96, One Direction 2010-16 and now BTS 2013-present.
If you talk statistics, The Beatles are way ahead of others selling a whopping 183 million units to date, but did you know that BTS were the only boyband to rival The Beatles in the first half of 2020 where both groups were the only ones to sell over 1 million units! And BTS haven’t had the longevity The Beatles have enjoyed.
The Beatles in the UK charts have racked up 17 number 1 singles and 16 number 1 albums, compared to Take That who have enjoyed 12 number 1 singles and 8 number 1 albums.
Lennon and McCartney both went on to become huge successes but so have Barlow and Williams. Gary Barlow winning Ivor Novello’s for his contributions to song writing and Robbie Williams the most successful male artist to date, winning a total of 18 Brit Awards (13 himself and 5 with Take That).
The fact is, there haven’t been a great many more ‘boybands’ created which makes the greatest boyband category a hot topic of conversation and greatly debatable. Whereas if you were to ask if The Beatles were the greatest band of all time? that would open up a whole new can of worms, because music is and always will be subjective and the only way we can argue a ‘for’ or ‘against’ is by quantifying.
Take That created a fever in music history which rivaled The Beatles, with sell-out tours the marketing machine was hot and non-stop. The same cycle would be repeated for One Direction and now we have BTS who are constantly breaking streaming records.
But for Musicvein, the answer to the question posed is; “The Beatles were the greatest band of a generation”, and their contributions to music should never be swept under the carpet of time.