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19th Jul 2018

What makes a boy band? The Vamps debate the best boy bands ever

Will Lavin

The Vamps are a boy band, are they not?

“It depends on what you clarify as a boy band,” says Brad Simpson, the band’s lead singer and guitarist.

When you Google the term boy band you often come up with bands such as The Jacksons, The Osmonds and then of course Take That, Backstreet Boys, Westlife and NSYNC.

“They’re mostly vocal groups though whereas we’re not,” Brad continues.

“I guess that’s what people have made it out to be,” says Vamps drummer Tristan. “A boy band is a band of boys and people have then stereotyped a boy band as a singing group.”

He then asks: “Does it come down to age?”

According to Brad a “boy band feels like it has connotations to being young. For me boy bands are dancers. They have head mics and are all singers.”

“But I guess when we came out we were a boy band because we were so young, because we were 17,” says Tristan. “Anything under 18 I guess is considered a boy band.”

“When the Rolling Stones first came out were they considered a boy band?” asks the band’s lead guitarist, James.

“The rules are clouded,” according to Tristan.

“We won’t remember but I bet they got classified as a boy band back then. People are like ‘it’s okay, it’s fine now, it’s all credible now’ but I bet back in the day… like Justin Bieber. Do you remember when he started he was getting all this grief but then he kept on doing it with repetition and has had longevity with his career and now he’s one of the most established artists in the world, most respected I think.”

According to Google a boy band is:

“A pop group composed of attractive young men, whose music and image are designed to appeal primarily to a young teenage audience.”

So while the debate rages on about what actually warrants a boy band being a boy band with the guys not really coming to a solid conclusion, The Vamps (minus Connor who couldn’t be with us on this particular day) break down their Top 5 favourite boy bands.

5. One Direction

James: “1D have got to be on the list.”

Tristan: “I think they made such an impact that they can’t not be on this list.”

Brad: “Harry’s album is really good, it has this David Bowie feel to it. There’s a bit of Stones in there too.”

Tristan: “He’s dressing like them now isn’t he?”

James: “His trousers are crazy.”

Brad: “We need someone like him though because his demographic and fans wouldn’t have been introduced to Mick [Jagger] or David Bowie until now.”

Tristan: “And that could have been the music that they actually love and they’ve now discovered it through Harry because they’re so young.”

Brad: “He’s their Mick.”

JOE: Best One Direction song?

Tristan: “‘Little Things’.”

James: “Aw, ‘Little Things’ is a tune.”

Brad: “‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is just…”

James: “One of the best pop songs of all-time, yeah?”

Brad: “Yeah. And I like some of their newer songs too. ‘History’ is really good.”

James: “Yeah, ‘History’ is a tune.”

Brad: “We know the guys they wrote that with. Let’s go with ‘History’.”


BEST SONG: “History”

4. Backstreet Boys / NSYNC

Tristan: “Backstreet boys are apparently really good dancers.”

Brad: “No, NSYNC are really good dancers.”

Tristan: “Oh yeah, they had Justin Timberlake.”

Brad: “NSYNC and Backstreet Boys both had some really good songs as well. They had ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’, ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’…”

Tristan: “(Singing) It’s gonna be Mayyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”

Brad: “‘I Want It That Way’. NSYNC’s ‘Girlfriend’ was sick!”

Tristan: “Hang on, can we put N.W.A. on this list?”

JOE: They weren’t really a boy band and I’m pretty sure they might take offence to that.

Brad: “I wouldn’t put them in there.”

James: “I’ve never heard of N.W.A.”

Brad: “What?”

Tristan: “Dr. Dre!”

James: “Dr. Dre was in a boy band?”

Brad: “No, they were a rap group.”

James: “What’s their name?”

Brad: “N.W.A.”

James: “Nope, never heard of them.”


BEST SONGS: “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” / “Girlfriend”

3. The Jacksons

Brad: “The Jacksons would be in my Top 5.”

James: “Yeah, they’re well good.”

Brad: “‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’…”

James: “Aw yeah, ‘ABC’, what a tune.”

JOE: What about ‘Blame It On The Boogie’?

Brad: “Wasn’t that a Michael song?”

JOE: No, it was The Jacksons.

Tristan: “(Singing) Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight.”

JOE: Do you remember 3T? They were the band made up of Tito Jackson’s kids?

Brad: “No I don’t, but I met Tito a couple of months ago, nice guy. The Jackson’s best song is definitely ‘I Want You Back’ just for the bassline alone.”

James: “Then as a solo artist Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, need we say more?”


BEST SONG: “I Want You Back”

2. Take That

Brad: “They’re definitely in the Top 5. As they’re such strong songwriters as well that bumps them up to top two for me.”

James: “Take That have had a long career. They’ve been going for like 20 years, maybe longer. So you’ve got to factor these things in when compiling the list.”

Tristan: “I’d put Take That pretty high but I’m up for debate.”

JOE: So what’s their best song?

Brad: “‘Patience’ for me.”

James: “Oh my god, yes! Or um… no, ‘Patience’ definitely.”

Tristan: “(Singing) We can rullllllllllle the worrrrrrrrrrrrrld.”

Brad: “What a tune but it’s still ‘Patience’ for me.”

James: “Agreed.”


BEST SONG: “Patience”

1. The Beatles

Brad: “The Beatles broke the mould and their music was so ahead of the curve, so if we’re categorising them as a boy band then they’re up there.”

James: “Yeah, they’ve got to be top.”

Tristan: “Their influence alone puts them up there.”

JOE: Who was there most successful solo artist?

Brad: “It’s got to be Paul McCartney, surely?

James: “I’d go with Paul.”

Tristan: “I can’t remember as I wasn’t alive.”

Brad: “Then it’s got to be John. In fact, can we put John and Paul in the same spot together?”

JOE: I suppose we can. Here’s a tough one for you, what’s their best song?

Tristan: “I can’t say.”

James: “‘Let It Be’ for me, absolutely.”

Brad: “‘Come Together’.”

James: “Oh, God, yes.”

Brad: “‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.”

James: “That was a tune.”

Brad: “There’s so many that it’s so hard to pick one, it’s ridiculous.”

James: “What did you say?”

Brad: “I say ‘Come Together’.”

James: “I say ‘Let I Be’.”

Brad: “Aw man, what about ‘Hey Jude’?”

James: “Oh, my God!”

Brad: “‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’? It’s really hard because they’re like a different band with each album so which era do you go for?”

JOE: You’ve got to pick one.

Brad: “Okay, shall we go with ‘Hey Jude’?”

James: “Yes, I”m good with ‘Hey Jude’.”


BEST SONG: “Hey Jude”

The Vamps new album Night & Day (Day Edition) is out now and can be purchased/streamed here.