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The Beatles are NOT a Boy Band! — So Who Is?

The Beatles
The Beatles, Facebook

If you’re a ’90s kid like myself, chances are, you spent your childhood getting your fill of so-called “boy bands.” They weren’t the first — oh, hey, NKOTB — or the last — apparently there’s something called a One Direction that’s all the rage right now? — but with groups like 98 Degrees, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, O-Town and even the MTV-made, fake-but-not-really 2gether, the late ’90s were basically the heyday of boy bands.

Or were they? After all, has anyone actually determined what, exactly, constitutes a “boy band”?

Evidently, they haven’t. After Thought Catalog posted about “9 Songs That Redeem All Boy Bands,” Joe DiNardo and I couldn’t help but start debating…and then dragging a few Twitter followers into it, too.

What Do You Consider a "Boy Band"?

An office debate about what constitutes a boy band turned into a Twitter discussion debating the same. Many, many @replies and some yelling later, we’re still no closer to figuring out the answer — but it sure was entertaining!

Storified by Angela Stefano · Thu, Jul 05 2012 11:32:14

Do you consider The Beatles a "boy band"? What, exactly, constitutes a "boy band"? @joedinardo and I are debating.Angela Stefano
Gonna argue that "boy band" has evolved through the years, but Beatles/Monkees/etc. are deff. early forerunners.Angela Stefano
@Bflo_girl @amstefano988 The Beatles are absolutely NOT a boy band. Unless N’Sync released a Sargent Pepper’s I’m unaware ofJoe DiNardo
@amstefano988 They were a boyband at the start, but they kind of transcended that later in their career because their sound matured.Caitlin Tremblay
@amstefano988 @ctrembz @joedinardo it shouldn’t even be a debate? Girls passing out in airports? Catchy pop tunes? Boy band.Elizabeth Callahan
Rare Beatlemania Footage!nocovercharge
@joedinardo @bflo_girl @amstefano988 @ctrembz The Beatles were a rock band. And that is that.Stephanie
@Bflo_girl @amstefano988 @ctrembz BOY BANDS DON’T PLAY THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS OR WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS. They sing and dance. /finJoe DiNardo
@buttrfly20sl @joedinardo @amstefano988 You’re going to tell me Hold Your Hand isn’t a pop song? She loves you….yeah yeah yeah.Elizabeth Callahan
The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Handtooshortxdanao
@Bflo_girl @joedinardo @amstefano988 they can have pop music and still not be a boy band. It’s almost an insult to their musical talent.Stephanie
@Bflo_girl @buttrfly20sl @amstefano988 Just because a band has all dudes and sings pop music doesn’t make them a boy band!!!!Joe DiNardo
@joedinardo @buttrfly20sl @amstefano988 so what is a boy band?Elizabeth Callahan
@amstefano988 @joedinardo @bflo_girl Music type and the shrieking age demographic of the female fans.Caitlin Tremblay
@joedinardo @Bflo_girl @buttrfly20sl @amstefano988 I think the key difference is that the beatles wrote their own music, boy bands don’tAngela K
@akepps @joedinardo @Bflo_girl @buttrfly20sl But it’s bc they were manufactured, not that they didn’t have the talent (although some didn’t)Angela Stefano
@buttrfly20sl @joedinardo @amstefano988 JC and Justin wrote and produced many of the tracks on Celebrity.Elizabeth Callahan
N Sync – Girlfriendnsyncvevo
@buttrfly20sl @joedinardo @bflo_girl @amstefano988 I’m going to be nosy and butt in. Beatles, not a boy band. Heart throbs early on? Yes.bryan
@buttrfly20sl @joedinardo @amstefano988 the beatles: Moulded into a professional act by manager Brian EpsteinElizabeth Callahan
@amstefano988 @ctrembz @bflo_girl Boy Bands are created as products. The Beatles were a band that was cleaned up to be more appealing. FACTSJoe DiNardo
@joedinardo @ctrembz @bflo_girl There are plenty of groups that had a member or two brought in, not just formed organically.Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 @ctrembz @bflo_girl Not by "marketing"\Joe DiNardo
@joedinardo @ctrembz @bflo_girl How is an agent/manager advertising for members any different than the band doing so?Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 @ctrembz @bflo_girl Talent vs. ProductJoe DiNardo
@joedinardo @ctrembz @bflo_girl Both looking for a specific outcome that’s somehow product-related.Angela Stefano
Now @joedinardo is trying to classify @springsteen and the Rolling Stones as boy bands.Angela Stefano
Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter 1970nickyr2
@amstefano988 by your and @ctrembz ‘s definition they are.Joe DiNardo
@joedinardo @ctrembz Rolling Stones were rock, not pop. Would you call The Ramones or Sex Pistols a boy band? (No.)Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 @joedinardo @springsteen Springsteen no, Stones yeah. Dirty boy band, but still kind of a boy band.Elizabeth Callahan
@Bflo_girl @joedinardo @ctrembz That’s why I don’t think that’s logical reasoning. It’s something other than created v. organic formation.Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 @joedinardo there’s no right answer or right way to classify any one band which is why such debates are so interesting.Caitlin Tremblay
And while we’re on the topic — How, then, do we define a "girl group"?Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 bands consisting of 100% females. Destiny’s Child, the Donnas….bryan
The Donnas – Take It Off (Video) Album Version audioatlanticvideos
@alifeinwords So with girl groups, the musical talent doesn’t matter? They’re all just in that category?Angela Stefano
@amstefano988 I guess. I don’t mean "girl group" as a knock or as sexist. Hell, most girl groups market themselves as so.bryan
I call an end to this debate. Need to cull this into a post, and my head is spinning! @joedinardo @Bflo_girl @ctrembz @alifeinwordsAngela Stefano
@amstefano988 @joedinardo @ctrembz @alifeinwords ha! And we didn’t even touch "girl groups/bands" #SpiceGirlsForLifeElizabeth Callahan
@Bflo_girl @amstefano988 and Destiny’s Child #bootylicious and Salt N Pepa #yoyoyoyobabypopsyeahyoucomeheregivemeakissCaitlin Tremblay
@ctrembz @amstefano988 only if we can also tackle En Vouge #YouHaveTheRightToLoseControlElizabeth Callahan

A flurry of @replies and some yelling later, we’re not any closer to figuring out the answer to this question. So, what do you think: What makes a “boy band” a boy band?

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