15 Pop Bands That Made Music History

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Music history is filled with iconic pop bands that have left a lasting impact on generations. Pop music has always been at the forefront of the music industry. Throughout the decades, there have been standout bands that have not only dominated the charts but have also altered the course of musical history. The following 15 pop bands have set the standard for what it means to be a musical powerhouse.

The Ronettes 

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We’re now going far back to the late 1950s when The Ronettes started their iconic pop group. The trio included sisters Ronnie and Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley. They gained fame with hits like “Be My Baby,” produced by Phil Spector. They are recognized for their significant impact on pop music and their enduring legacy.

Duran Duran

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Duran Duran, a British pop band, was formed in Birmingham in 1978. Known for their new wave and synth-pop style, they gained immense popularity in the 1980s. Some of their most iconic songs include “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “Girls on Film,” and “A View to a Kill,” which remain fan favorites. By 1984, the band had achieved fame similar to Beatlemania. 

The Revolution 

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Most people know the late Prince as a solo artist with songs like “When Doves Cry.” However, this famous pop artist also had a band called The Revolution, which was formed in 1979 by the artist—their music blended rock, pop, R&B, funk, new wave, and psychedelic styles. The Revolution and Prince’s other projects were instrumental in developing the distinctive Minneapolis sound.

Petshop Boys 

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Over the years, the Petshop Boys have maintained a strong presence in the music industry with a dedicated global fanbase. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe formed the pop band in 1981 and began creating music with catchy melodies and witty lyrics. The duo is also recognized for their innovative music videos and theatrical live performances. 

Wham!

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Wham! was a band formed in 1981 by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They became a global sensation in the mid-1980s with their catchy pop tunes and stylish image. Hits like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper,” and “Last Christmas” propelled them to international fame, defining the sound of 1980s pop music.

Tears for Fears 

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Tears for Fears was formed in 1981 in Bath, England. The band, originally a duo consisting of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, later expanded its lineup. It became prominent in the 1980s with its distinctive blend of new wave and pop rock, producing hits like “Shout,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Mad World.” 

New Kids on the Block 

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It all began when Alford discovered 14-year-old Donnie Wahlberg, who impressed producer Maurice Starr with an exceptional spontaneous rap. Donnie became the first member of the group, soon followed by his 13-year-old brother, Mark Wahlberg. The band included Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, and his brother Jonathan Knight. Mark Wahlberg eventually left the group, and Joey McIntyre was added as the final member.

Backstreet Boys 

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Every ’90s kid will remember the Backstreet Boys. They were an American vocal group consisting of Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, and cousins Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson. They formed 1993 in Orlando, Florida, skyrocketed to fame with their international debut album, “Backstreet Boys.” They quickly became one of the most successful pop groups, selling over 100 million records worldwide. 

Spice Girls 

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We’ve mentioned many boy groups on this list so far. However, when the Spice Girls group formed in 1994, their brand was centralized around girl power. They became a global phenomenon with their catchy songs and distinct personas, and they even went on to make merchandise like Spice Girl shoes, which every 90s girl dreamed of having. Their debut single, “Wannabe,” topped charts worldwide.

The Black Eyed Peas

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The Black Eyed Peas was a group formed in 1995 but only became widely recognized and achieved mainstream fame in the early 2000s. Their third album, “Elephunk,” released in 2003, marked a significant turning point for the group with hits like “Where Is the Love?” and “Let’s Get It Started.” These songs propelled them to international success, and they became prominent figures in pop and hip-hop music.

Nsync 

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NSYNC was an American band created in 1995 with five members: Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Lance Bass. They gained massive popularity with hits like “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.” The pop group broke up in 2004 and reunited in early 2024. 

The Pussycat Dolls 

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The Pussycat Dolls were originally a burlesque group formed by a choreographer named Robin Antin in 1995. At the time, actor Johnny Depp owned a bar in Los Angeles called the Viper Room, where the Pussycat Dolls would perform weekly. At the request of Jimmy Iovine (record executive), Robin decided to make the group a mainstream pop band in 2005. 

Sugababes

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Originally comprising members Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan, and Siobhán Donaghy, the Sugababes gained popularity for their R&B-infused pop sound. Known for their lineup changes, the group’s classic hits include “Overload” and “Freak Like Me.” They’ve maintained relevance in the UK pop scene with their distinctive vocals and chart success.

Jonas Brothers

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The Jonas Brothers formed in 2005 as a trio of three brothers. They gained initial fame through appearances on the Disney Channel, including the TV movie Camp Rock. Their catchy pop-rock sound and wholesome image appealed to a young audience, leading to chart-topping albums and sold-out tours, making them teen idols worldwide.

One Direction

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Initially auditioning as solo contestants, Harry Styles, Zayne Malik, Louis Tomlinson, along with Liame Payne and Niall Horan were brought together by X Factor judge Simon Cowell to form a boy band. Despite finishing third, they signed a record deal and quickly rose to global fame under the name One Direction. The boy group has since broken up, but Harry Styles and Zayn Malik have had successful solo careers. 

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