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The Beatles

Beatlemania: “a term that originated during the 1960s to describe the intense fan frenzy directed towards The Beatles during the early years of their success, particularly by teenage girls”. Beatlemania was especially characterized by intense levels of hysteria from adoring fans at both concerts and during their travels to new venues. Never before The Beatles had there been so much mass hysteria over a musical band and to this day there are a very few select who could even be comparable in popularity.

The Beatles – I Wanna Hold Your Hand

*NSYNC

However, with the emergence of pop music, and in particular the boy band movement of the 1990s, a similar craze to Beatlemania arose. A boy band is defined as a group of several young male singers who are expected to perform as dancers as well. *NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and the Jonas Brothers are three of the leading boy bands that rose to superstardom and were adored by massive amounts of frenzied fans in the United States. The Beatlemania movement of the 1960s is comparable to many boy band crazes of the 1990s and today.

It seems that Beatlemania and the boy band revolution stem from a reoccurring model of musical success. Both are based off of an all male singing group that was manufactured and destined for commercial success. Via the television, the Beatles were able to promote themselves, their music, their look, and their style to allow people to put faces to the sounds they heard on the records. Similarly, music videos did the same for boy bands of the 1990s. According to Professor Gayle Ward of George Washington University, seeing the faces that produced the music “emphasized the importance of visual spectacle to the communicative pacts between boy band performers and their audiences” . The young audience witnessed the aesthetically appealing appearance and reacted with intense near-hysteria. The pattern seems to be cyclical as the boy band fad seems to come and go over time.

*NSYNC – It’s Gonna Be Me

The Beatles set a precedent that many boy bands acknowledge through marketing to young girls and aesthetic and musical conventions. Merchandising is an extremely essential part to marketing the boy band image as well as making tremendous profits off their success. Merchandise for boy bands was mainly directed towards the demographic of girls ages 10-16. In terms of musical conventions, boy bands adopted less technical proficiency and more catchy pop hooks, melodies, and harmonies from The Beatles.  In addition, boy bands implemented the Beatles’ concept of marketability. This marketability was based on the fact that they appealed to everyone, whether it was due to the music, the personalities of individual members, or their sexual appeal. In particular, the Jonas Brothers are seemingly very influenced by The Beatles due to their rock band instrumentation and power pop feel.

Jonas Brothers – Burnin’ Up

Ali Armour

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