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N'Sync made headlines this week when they revived their late '90s tradition of playing a round of hacky-sack before going on stage at the VMA awards. This news was remarkable enough to play (on some stations) before the debate over military action in Syria or the unveiling of the latest iPhone (you can see video here.).

This got me thinking about when I bought a Justin Timberlake pillowcase as a gift for my friend's pre-pubescent daughter. The memory was followed by shock at the realization that said pre-teen is now in her second year of law school. And, while she was growing up, so was Justin. And Lance, Chris, Joey and J.C.

I don't include groups like The Beatles (then) or The Jonas Brothers (now) in the list of boy bands, because they are actual bands. Boy bands have bands. Other than a little ceremonial guitar strumming or keyboard tapping, these guys arrange themselves in front of a group of nameless musicians and just 1)sing, 2)dance and 3)look good. I'm not for a moment implying that they're not talented at all three--it's just the criteria I used to include a band in the following list. I excluded doo-wop bands, because they weren't, as a general rule, pre-teen heartthrobs.

The Thing About Boy Bands is That They Don't Stay Boys

Yes, I was a pre-teen when Donny joined his older brothers on The Osmonds, and when Michael Jackson and I both sang soprano. I grew up and so did they, requiring a new group to arise to create fodder for the dreams of another generation of star-struck girls. And another. And another. And...

You get the idea.

The point is, no matter your age, there's a boy band out there that's appropriate for you. Pretty much all of them, or at least former members, are still performing. When New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men toured together, it was a popular mother and daughter event. Well, older and younger sister, maybe.

Who's your favorite boy band? Or did I leave someone out?

Boy Band Facts

Average number of band members: 4.8
Five seems to be the magic number for boy bands.
Most common first name: Michael (although if you consider "Joe" and "Joey" the same name, it's a tie). Life Expectancy: ???
All but one of the 48 members of the bands featured here are still alive. Much better than average for rock stars, as shown in The Music Industry's Riskiest Jobs.
The Osmonds Average Age: 59.8 years

Photo Credit: S. Bukley/

Hey, how did Marie sneak in there?

The only non-surviving boy band member.

The Jackson 5 Average Age: 58
(Or it would be if Michael was alive)
Average Age: 47.6*
*Average of the original five members. A lot of musicians have passed through the Menudo ranks, because a member was replaced if he reached his 16th birthday, his voice changed, he grew facial hair, or just got too tall compared to other members.

Named after a bowl of soup that's supposed to cure hangovers.

New Edition Average Age: 44.8

Photo Credit: S. Bukley/

I swear, Bobby Brown used to be cute.Really.

Still adorable. In my totally biased opinion.Photo Credit:Debby Wong/

New Kids on the Block Average Age: 43

Photo Credit: Benoit Daoust/Shutterstock.comPhoto Credit: Benoit Daoust/

Both bravely doin' it without the magic of five!

Average Age: 40.75 Boyz II Men
98 Degrees Average Age: 39
Backstreet Boys Average Age: 37.4

Photo Credit: Adam J. Sablich/

Gee, I hope all those hats don't mean hair loss...

Average Age:36

I prefer Justin's other boy band...

'N Sync

Photo Credit: Featureflash/

This much cuteness oughta be illegal.

One Direction Average Age: 19.8
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