My recent obsession with Menudo has me thinking about boy bands from the 80s this week…

When I was a teenager, I wasn’t into boy bands. I liked what was then called classic rock, music that is way older than I am. Back in my day, we had our share of boy bands. The New Kids On The Block were a big hit, as were New Edition. I preferred New Edition to New Kids, but I know a lot of my friends were fans of the slick dancing moves and silky harmonies both boy bands offered.

New Kids On The Block’s big hit, “Please Don’t Go Girl”.

Watching that video makes me suddenly feel ancient. It doesn’t seem like high school was that long ago, but it really was. The woman in the video looks a little too mature for the boys in New Kids On The Block, anyway. After “Please Don’t Go Girl” became a hit, New Kids On The Block became very popular. For awhile, they could do nothing wrong. But then they started to grow up and so did their audience. By the 1990s, they had become decidedly uncool. They changed their name to NKOTB, probably because New Men On The Block didn’t seem very catchy.

New Kids gets edgy with “Hangin’ Tough.

“Candy Girl” came out in 1983. I think I might have liked New Edition more because I was a lot younger when they made it big.

A live performance of “Mr. Telephone Man”.

Menudo was another boy band that was big in the 80s. I was first introduced to their very Latin sound when I was taking Spanish in school. My teacher was from Cuba and loved their music, so she shared it with the class.

Here’s a video that features a very young Ricky Martin. I watch him wagging his ass and want to say, “Get it, boy!”

Ricky Martin when he was brand new to Menudo… He was about 13 here.

I didn’t like Menudo’s music that much back then, but I must admit I’ve been watching their old videos over the past few days. I can see why they were such a popular boy band back in the day. And Menudo avoided the problems associated aging bands. In most cases, members of Menudo were forced into retirement when they turned 16 or, in Ray Reyes’ case, when they grew too tall for the band.

Menudo sings at a pool party in 1987. Check out the biker shorts!

I suppose I could add other bands to this post. The Jacksons and The Osmonds could probably be considered boy bands, except they came from large singing families. And by the 80s, they were men, not boys. Watching these videos, I can’t help but wonder how these guys feel when they see themselves decked out in matching outfits, dancing and singing in front of a bunch of screaming girls. I think about the hours of rehearsals they must have endured to perfect those dance steps. And now, thirty years later, I wonder if the experience of being in a boy band was worth it to them. Money, fame, boyish good looks, and slick dance moves… who wouldn’t want to have those things going for them?

I can’t help but remember South Park’s hit song…

Watching boy bands makes me feel like a good finger bang…