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  • 1. The dilemma of Boy-bands The dawn of Social responsibility Hector Chapa Sikazwe 1
  • 2. The dilemma of Boy-bands The dawn of Social responsibility Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010 Hector Chapa SikazweKeywords: Boy-bands, girl-bands, Take that, Destiny child, Westlife, Social responsibility, UKmusic industry, Ex-factor series, Drugs, paparazzi, autographs, moneyDisclaimer: The articles cited and included in this discourse are a compilation of several internetpositing‟s from blogs, newspaper articles, unqualified interviews and comments from personalities inthe industry and as such cannot be used for legal purposes.Table of ContentsAbstract................................................................................................................................................. 41.0 Introduction to Manufactured boy bands................................................................................... 52.0 Evolution of boy-bands ............................................................................................................. 7 A BRIEF LESSON IN MUSICAL HISTORY: ............................................................................ 9 THE 1960s & THE BIRTH OF THE PROTO-BOYBAND: ..................................................... 10 THE 1970s KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: ............................................................................ 11 THE 1980s, ME FIRST MUSIC FOR THE ME FIRST DECADE: .......................................... 12 THE 1990s, THE DECADE OF THE BOY BAND: .................................................................. 13 2000 AND BEYOND, A BRAVE NEW MILLENIUM: ............................................................ 14 2.1 Boy Bands ........................................................................................................................... 16 2.2 Girl Bands ........................................................................................................................... 16 2.3 Mixed Bands ....................................................................................................................... 163.0 Abridged History - Key Events by Decade ............................................................................. 17 1960s............................................................................................................................................... 17 1970s............................................................................................................................................... 17 1980s............................................................................................................................................... 17 1990s and beyond ........................................................................................................................... 174.0 How to Spot a Manufactured Band ......................................................................................... 185.0 How to Spot a Boy Band ......................................................................................................... 186.0 Basic Anatomy of a boy band ................................................................................................. 197.0 Basic Anatomy of a Girl Band ................................................................................................ 19 2
  • 3. 8.0 The Death of a Manufactured Band ........................................................................................ 20 8.1 How to avoid Manufactured Bands ..................................................................................... 20 8.2 Should music organisations have a social responsibility? ................................................... 21 8.3 Problems and good example of typical Band issues- Destiny‟s Child ................................. 229.0 Typical problems in boy bands ............................................................................................... 2510.0 Conclusions about Boy-bands ................................................................................................. 3011.0 Bibliography and material used ............................................................................................... 34 3
  • 4. AbstractManufactured bands have been the way recording and music management organisations make money.Boys and girls have dreams of becoming pop stars overnight and this arrangement seems to bemutually beneficial. Several types of business models have been used to marry these two camps. Themost common one is where members of a recording team scout for raw talent and introduce the ideaof fame, money, bright lights and Cinderella type of conclusion to future dealings with starved musicenthusiast who might not necessarily have talent but have looks, sex appeal and seeminglymarketable. These young boys and girls are offered social advantages that only dreams are made offand in no time at all, they are co-opted into music groups called “bands” and recording contracts arehanded out. For a period of approximately 12 months, these young enthusiasts are made famous, richand of course have their lives changed forever.Those youths who have talent and continue being commercially viable will have everlasting benefitsthat can lead to impossible heights of importance in the community. Unfortunately, those youths whotend to address the new-found-fame with unsettledness lose their innocence and collapse sociallyleading to depressions, psychological and mental depravity. These simply become by-products ofmanufacturing process of the music industry. They are forgotten and left to find redress elsewherewhilst the recording companies move on to select and manufacture new future music icons.The music industry today is primarily for creating wealth and power for those who know the power-points of the industry, leaving the weak and unassuming damaged for life. Centuries ago, music wasmeant for entertainment and was a cultural asset for different civilisations when applied in the correctsequence. This has now been lost and there are serious repercussions in today‟s communities, thusrequiring serious attention to recapture the magic that music once provided for the world.Stakeholders and the artists alike have an obligation to become socially responsible to arrest thecurrent trend by repositioning and redefining the impact of this industry on society. Organisationsresident in the industry have recently commenced to address this phenomenon through corporatesocial responsibility as seen in the various programmes and operations employed. 4
  • 5. 1.0 Introduction to Manufactured boy bandsIn the 1990s boy band fever took the United Kingdom by storm as group after group ofyoung men danced and sang their way into the hearts of millions of teenage girls and morethan a few boys! Entertainment took on a different definition as millions of pounds werespent in manufacturing the new commodity that was selling as hot cakes: The boy-band.The 1980s saw the rise of the manufactured boy band and the man that started it all, MauriceStarr aka „The General, the emancipator, creator, dominator, the innovator and the originatorof the boy band.‟ Maurice formed New Kids on the Block, a band widely acclaimed as thefirst ever manufactured boy band.Taking his inspiration from three highly successful bands from the 1960s and 70s - TheMonkees, The Jacksons and The Osmonds, Maurice drew magic elements from the threebands to form the unstoppable New Kids on the Block, taking the boy band to anotherdimension. Prolific dancers combined with edgy lyrics, made a cocktail that quenched thethirst of the new MTV generation and made house-wives and those in unemployment havesomething to look for when turning the small tube on.Moving away from the innocence of The Osmonds and The Jacksons to produce what hedescribed as „definitely, the hugest boy band of all time‟, New Kids On The Block captivatedgirls worldwide, paving the way for the boy bands of the future. That was the birth of thecurrent furore that is the concentration of the entertainment industry in the world.Across the pond in Blighty, Mancunian Nigel Martin-Smith cottoned on to the ideadiscovering five guys whose anonymous faces soon became a band known to the world asTake That. Nigel believed in finding that something special: “These days it‟s all about, can you sing a couple of bars in tune, what‟s that got to do with finding the next big thing? Most people can sing to some degree and there‟s this button that they have in studios these days called auto tune. The most important thing is that they have got star quality.” Nigel Martin-SmithIt is without doubt that Take That emerged to become the first British manufactured boyband and the most successful British band since the Beatles, selling over 19 million records to 5
  • 6. date. With amazing charisma and chemistry on stage, music mogul Pete Waterman describesthem as „One of the greatest boy bands of all time‟.Take That ticked the boxes when it came to personality and looks, a combination that causedobsessive hysteria among the fans. They were the all-important “pound generating” factorythat was unstoppable as they evaded even the most conservative homes in the UnitedKingdom.Similarly, East 17 became the perfect antidote, attracting those fans who were tired of TakeThat’s squeaky clean façade and fancied a bit of rough. This was facilitated by four verycheeky, sexy young men from East London who joined forces creating great pop rivalry inthe new era of the manufactured boy band. Antony Costa from boy band Blue remembers thedays well: “I was East 17 at school because it was the cool band but I used to listen to Take That at home.” Antony Costa from Blue.Much of the rivalry was between the managers rather than the band members but despite thesuccess of East 17, nothing could eclipse what Take That had achieved. By 1993 Take Thatwere the blue print for all the elements of “how to construct the perfect boy band” manual forall would-be boy-band owners. Their success goaded US bands who thought they could showUK bands a thing or two. Slick American boy bands, N Sync and Backstreet Boys were ableto bust out a capella with their hot dance moves at the drop of a hat and started a ripple affectforcing existing groups to step up or step out. Music manager Louis Walsh said:“American bands have better production but I think Irish and English boy bands have better looks and personalities, and better managers!” Louis WalshIn 1996 Walsh followed suit with Boyzone and admits when it came to creating them hebasically copied Take That. A boy for every type, with the added touch of some Irish charm,Boyzone became the most popular Irish boy band of the 1990s.It is ironical that here we are today; almost 20 years post Take That…………or are we? 6
  • 7. So just what happened to all the boy band superstars that fell by the wayside? Where are theynow? Did being in a boy band live up to all they imagined? Management companies haverealised that it is not enough to simply “manufacture” a band and hope it will out-lastcompeting bands in the arena without the introduction of a social responsibility aspect to thearrangement. A look at the evolution of the “boy-band” concept would help to bring intoperspective the issues that surround boy-bands.2.0 Evolution of boy-bandsBy simple definition, a “manufactured band” is a group of people who are put together by arecord company in order to make a profit. These people have almost certainly never metbefore, have good looks and unfortunately musical talent is very often not a serious concern.They are usually selected on looks over talent, as this seems to be the only way to tap into ayoung market that has little musical interest. It seems to be a case of “who cares about music,we can sell records with sex!” and this has gripped the industry like a vice.With the dawn of the industrial age the skills of the individual craftsman became obsolete inthe face as mechanisation and mass-production. The invention of the television nearly wipedout the ancient institution of the theatre and the dominant studios of Hollywood smotheredtheir independent competition to flood the nascent cinema halls with their formulaic tales ofmaterialism, a concept glossed over by the generals in the entertainment industry!In the disorienting cyclone of change that was the twentieth century it seemed that the onecultural pillar that would withstand the relentless march of capitalist progress was that ofmusic. Perhaps the oldest of human achievements, music had been lauded as the language oflove and the bodily expulsions of the gods themselves. This was a concept well imbibed byall entertainment organisations that control the selling of these ideas. Some examples of boy-bands that came to prominence but disappeared as fast as they came are as follows:After 7 – can‟t stopThe band had slightly girly vocals, but they were a quality group that reigned briefly and thendisappeared into peak darkness. They never quite bettered this, their first hit. There is a reallyfunny old skool bootleg of this that speeds the vocals up to helium balloon proportions, called“cooking with delia”. 7
  • 8. Damage – love to loveYoung British band from the mid-90s who were intermittently successful. Everyone fanciedbad boy coree, who has since been in prison. Lead singer jade jones has been going out withspice girl Emma Bunton for about ten years, and they recently had a new baby.Dru hill – you are everythingI never really got the whole “Dru hill thing and sisqo”, to me, is not attractive and i don‟teven think he can sing. That whole thong song thing was ridiculous but did rule the summerof 2000, especially the garage remix.Intro – let me be the oneFairly successful band in the early 90s, but not as successful as blackstreet, not as sugary asboyz ii men and just kind of…. which was a problem for pretty much all of the groups on thislist. They just did not have what it takes to continue being a selling label.Next – butta loveThey did the whole “bad boy” thing far more convincingly than Dru hill. „too close‟ was ofcourse huge, and then… not sure if they still record or where they are.Shai – if i everThey were hailed as the new boyz ii men, when they came out with this track. Volume ofmaterial appeared to be a problem as this was remixed and released many times.Silk – hooked on youOne wonders how these groups feel when British boy-bands like another level take theirsignature tune (freak me, in this case) and have the hit they never could? i hope they get paidwell, but i fear the only person who laughs all the way to the bank is the songwriter.Soul for real – every little thingAfter candy rain, many people sat back and waited for a dismal sequel. To be fair, this didalmost as well, perhaps better in the UK, and they squeezed out a few more hits form theirdebut and as far as recorded history knows, they only did one album. 8
  • 9. Today – him or meThey rode the new jack swing wave in the very early 90s, but never quite challenged Teddyriley supergroup guy or are ever discussed in music circles any more.Troop – sweet NovemberThey only did one album, but this is a sweet cover version. Little is known about the groupand commentaries have no idea how successful it may or may not have been in the US, but inthe UK, Troop did squat for a while.It is sad to mention the demise of most of these boy-bands in this manner but there seems aneed to explore situations and circumstances that prevailed in the years when they reigned tounderstand the pit-falls that could have been avoided. Presumably, a brief history on musicand the several issues that made success its own vanquisher would be necessary.A BRIEF LESSON IN MUSICAL HISTORY:In the earliest days mankind had occupied his tiny pre-historic mind by banding the bones ofthe animals that he hunted and gathered against rocks, trees and the heads of his fellowcavemen much to the delight of all. In later times man discovered that various materialsproduced more pleasing sounds than others and began to fashion crude musical instrumentssuch as the first drum by stretching animal skin over a vessel such as an animal skull andstriking it repeatedly with an animal bone (the animal motif being big at the time). Armedwith his drum, prehistoric man amused his fellows as they dodged glaciers to his dull andincessant beating of the primitive instrument. We know this from evidence in the form of ahunter-gatherer male found preserved in glacial ice high in the Alps clutching just such adrum and bearing evidence that his skull was caved in from behind, most likely by one of hiscompanions (possibly the worlds first music critic!).Things had changed a great deal by the time of the Middle Ages and Europe in particularresounded to the tune of minstrels who travelled the land spreading songs of courtly love anddevotion towards the female gender and bloody death and retribution for the male (providedthey were not white and/or Christian, that is) in a most chivalric of ways. In this age themusical instrument had evolved a great deal also. Gone were the days of instruments crudelyfashioned from animals in place of ones crafted by the most skilled artisans of the day fromthe finest animal products that could be procured. 9
  • 10. Leaping on to the age of reason the world of music had changed once more. Gone were ourreligious chants and odes to the ampleness of ones lady and her bosom. These had beenreplaced by sweeping works of staggering magnificence and subtle emotional power.Composers such as Motzart and Beethoven composed works for the huge orchestras of thetime and their music fired passions, even sparking riots in the streets of some Europeancapitals at their premiere performances. The idea or conceptualisation was forming accuratelyand preparing the masses for what would become the greatest movement of all times.Incidentally, innovation and genius was not the only path to be followed in Europe by anymeans. Some years later the fashionable upper-class parasites of London town wereenchanted by the retro-chic of the Scottish highlands made popular by Sir Walter Scott andhis pot-boiler novels. It was quite the attractive and accomplished thing for the foppishLondoner of the time (most of whom had been no further north than Watford Gap at any timein their lives) to gad about in tartans to the sounds of the highland bagpipes in the manner ofthe Scottish clansman. This fashion was made all the more convenient as there were no actualScots in the highlands at the time due the highland clearances and thus the Londoners had noproblem obtaining whiskey, shortbread and porridge whilst wearing other peoples tartans andpretending to understand the poetry of Robbie Burns.THE 1960s & THE BIRTH OF THE PROTO-BOYBAND:There is little literature to cover this period and not much happened in terms of music untilthe mid-part of the twentieth century when an American redneck wrote a popular song aboutdoing a contemporary dance around a timepiece in the late evening and invented rock androll in the process. Invariably it was notable that most prominent entertainment was still inthe form of the solo artist at this time was with the masses adoring such names as FrankSinatra, Elvis Presley and his hypnotic dancing pelvis and Bobby Darin (whoever he was).It was left to the stalwart British to really kick-start the Boy Band revolution and show theirAmerican cousins how it should be done without qualms. With the advent of the 1960s theBritish staged an invasion of the American musical mainland to which they were not offeredmuch resistance. The Beatles wowed US audiences with their upbeat tunes, rhythmic swayingand amusing accents to such an extent that a group of record-label executives (being thedevout capitalists that they were) put their heads together and came up with the Monkees inresponse to the drawing power of the lads from Liverpool. 10
  • 11. In the past record labels had experienced problems from artists who came from a "traditional"musical background and demonstrated problematic tendencies such as independent thoughtand moral or artistic integrity. The Monkees did away with these problems by virtue of thefact that they were wannabe actors rather than musicians in the strictest sense of the term (i.e.being capable of playing a musical instrument of some kind) and rather than wasting time andmoney in giving them musical training the "band" mimed along to their songs whilstpretending to play their instruments.So even as far back as the 60s, it is remarkable that there were manufactured bands with noreal musical talent or ability, but there were still stumbling blocks along the way. The bandsof the time were predominantly boys and some were even more fake than Pamela Andersonsassets (No proper description of the assets in question!). Incidentally, some still played theirown instruments and wrote their own material (or at least kept up the illusion that they did),over the next thirty years things would have no significant changes.THE 1970s KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY:The byword of the seventies was experimentation and invention. People dropped acid toexpand their minds, explored the mysticism of the East and generally committed crimesagainst fashion that still make you wince to this day. Music was in no way exempt from thisimpetus towards freaking out and going psychedelic on a regular basis. Bands of the timechampioned the counter-culture and lifestyle of the day in a decade that revelled in MikeOldfields Tubular Bells at one end and rebelled with Punk Rock and the Sex Pistols at theother. Many events and mystic inventions transpired with little restraint.Surprisingly all that was happening in the UK and little notice elsewhere as recorded historyentails. The US was another story altogether as a band of goofy-toothed brothers emergedfrom the musical wilderness and into the shining city of pop stardom. The Osmonds, as theywere known to the inhabitants of the planet Earth, were as far away from the drop-outs andloved-up hippies of the time as they could be and served up a wholesome array of musicaldelights.Not to be outdone by Mormon Middle-America, the R&B scene also thrust upon the world aband of brothers who stole the hearts and minds of their audience. The Jackson Five (aningenious name seeing as how each member was called Jackson and there were exactly fiveof them), as they were known, were so popular in their native land that they were given their 11
  • 12. own cartoon series which was also a hit despite allegations in the tabloid press that it was infact a sinister attempt on the part of their record label to replace the group with celluloidduplicates which would never age, need to be fed or give them back lip in contractnegotiations. Luckily these allegations proved not to be true and the Jackson Five made amint and launched the youngest member Micheal, on his quest to transform himself from ayoung and talented black guy into a middle-aged white guy with a habit of self-immolation.All in all while it might be true that the seventies set the cause of the manufactured boy bandsback a step due to the prevalence of groups that consisted of siblings and the amount of teethinvolved in anything concerning the Osmond family, the fact remained that bland music hadbeen pushed to the fore and legions of teenage girls had vowed to take their own lives in theevent of their idols in these bands even hinting that they were involved in a seriousrelationship with a member of the opposite sex.THE 1980s, ME FIRST MUSIC FOR THE ME FIRST DECADE:The eighties were in many ways a knee-jerk reaction to the seventies. Free love andgrooviness were out as capitalism reared its pug-ugly head and materialism and personalgreed became the buzz-words of the new generation. Always quick to move with the times,the music industry dropped the wholesome bands of brothers like a bad habit and invested inthe beautiful people to shift records.The UK airwaves resounded to the strains of Wham in the early eighties, who while notstrictly a boy band in the purest sense as there were only two of them, they wrote originalmaterial and had some facial hair, were camp enough to fill the gap for a while. Later in thedecade the country would be treated to the wonder that was Bros who bent the rules byhaving two members who were brothers and one that was no relation to the otherswhatsoever. Bros were perhaps the first boy band to cash in on the "bad boy" image withleather jackets and ripped jeans. Their songs asked probing philosophical questions of anuncaring world such as "when will I be famous? Or when will I see my picture in the paper?"(answer to the former: not for any great length of time, answer to the latter: nowadays onlyunder the headline "guess whos flipping cowparts at McDonalds for a living").Meanwhile the US had hit on what seemed like the perfect formula when New Kids on theBlock were unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. They were young, they were goodlooking (apparently) and they were "street" (even though they looked like nice white boys 12
  • 13. from an upper-class neighbourhood) and not one of them was seen to play a musicalinstrument of any kind...ever. They sang songs with titles like "Hanging Tough" and worebaggy clothes even though they hardly conjured the image of a hard-bitten street gang fromdowntown Los Angeles. Not that it mattered to the masses of young girls that bought theirrecords.THE 1990s, THE DECADE OF THE BOY BAND:Now the industry had the formula refined the formula and placed the boy band firmly in thecollective unconscious, the time had come for complete saturation with the ultimate goal ofglobal domination. The first crack squad of boy band commandos to be parachuted droppedinto action was Take That who stormed to success in the UK and were headed up by GaryBarlow. After a few years at the top the group imploded and the various members pursuedsolo careers with varying degrees of success (i.e. Robbie Williams became a Superstar whilemost other members faded into relative obscurity).But even though the formula had been established, there was still the odd boy band that brokethe mould. Take for example East 17. East 17 boy band composed of young men from theWalthamstow area of London (in the E17 postal area, hence the name of the band) wholooked like nothing more than a bunch of ruffians and “neer-do-wells” rather than the cleancut image that most other groups cultivated. It can be postulated that East 17 tapped into thesame vein of danger that had fuelled the appeal of Bros before them, and it has to be said thatthey would have encountered great adversity had they attempted to present the image of agroup of intellectuals and dilettantes. Apart from their rough image, East 17 also exemplifiedanother strange element of the typical boy band in that they had around five members butonly two of this number were really ever noted to actually sing without the other four toprovide vocal harmony. Whether or not these human spare parts could actually sing (or eventalk) was never revealed and led to the contemporary joke: "How many members of East 17does it take to change a light bulb? Five. One to hold the ladder, one to screw in the bulband three to point at them while they do it." This in-fact exemplified the fact that the peoplethat were gaining from the arrangement were the recording companies with little regard forthe development of the boys within the band.Through the course of the nineties many boy bands came and went, but things became reallyinteresting when the Irish decided to get in on the act. Having many times won theEurovision Song Contest, the Irish music industry had a great deal of experience when it 13
  • 14. came to producing music that was bland and palatable only to the stone deaf. The first Irishboy band to make it big was Boyzone whom many claim inherited the position once held byTake That at the top of the pile. Louie Walsh is credited for its manufacturing quality.Once more the group had five members who were unable to play an instrument, write a songor sing on their own. But then Boyzone could always fall back on their secret weapon; theirromantic Irish accents. While staggeringly non-descript in all other ways, Boyzone alwaysturned on the blarney and drawled away in interviews much to their own benefit. But muchlike Take That before them it soon became apparent that certain members were destined forgreater things and that others were little more than chaff in the wind and the group dwindledand finally disbanded at the turn of the century. Manufacturing had once again left its markan industry that thrived on what was an unknown quantity in the market: interest.2000 AND BEYOND, A BRAVE NEW MILLENIUM:The more things change, the more banal and annoying boy bands get. As the rest of the worldlooked forward to the promise of the first new millennium in a thousand years the musicindustry was busy hatching out a whole new brood of boy bands to torment the music-buyingpublic. The US was treated to the delights of NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys and O-Town andhad a wonderful time playing a game where the aim was to tell the three boy bands apart.They all looked alike with similar dressing and magazine cover appearances.Meanwhile the demise of Boyzone had far from spelled the end of the Irish boy band andsoon the music charts were filled with the sound of a group with one of the strangest namesyet: “Westlife.” managed by Irish pop-supremo Louie Walsh, Westlife came to embody thehallmarks of the stereotypical boy-band that it had taken so many decades to refine andperfect. This time Louie Walsh, who enjoys “fun” rather “substance” decided to lookcarefully at what would last. He decided to “manufacture” a band that would have in itsconcept a lasting effect on the music industry due to both “brand” and “substance”. Westlifewas an attempt to include quality in both image and material.They sang what others told them to and did a line in cheesy covers. They appealed to teenagegirls and mostly gay men. They demonstrated no apparent intelligence when interviewed andwhen performing sat on stools, the climax of their performance being the moment when theystood up in unison for the final chorus of one of their banal tunes. Louie Walsh had arrivedon the Music scene with a difference in providing what the masses wanted. 14
  • 15. Louie Walsh was acting as a market entrepreneur who saw a gap in the market and providedjust what was needed. The principle was simple: “What do the people want? Check in the topdrawer and throw it at them..”While the general public seemed by this time to be perfectly aware of the fact that the boyband was a totally manufactured and throw-away phenomenon of modern consumer-drivensociety, this did little to dim the appetite that they exhibited for the groups and their music. Inthe early years of the twenty-first century a new idea was hit upon in the light of the fact thattelevision-viewers at the time were lapping up the "docu-soap" format of “fly-on-the-wall”documentary where the film-makers followed the trials and tribulations of various individualsas they went about their daily lives. The warts and all style of these programmes were used togreat effect when a show with the imaginative title of "Pop-stars" was commissioned thatfollowed the process of creating a manufactured band from scratch.These shows spared nothing from the eyes of the viewer, taking them from the initialauditioning of countless (and often hilariously hopeless) wannabes right through to the finalbands battle to take the "coveted" Christmas number one slot in the music charts. While HearSay, the band that was put together, was a mixed band, the show was important as it laid barethe entire process and presented a group that from its very genesis was nothing more than aproduct of the selection process. It came as no great surprise to many commentators that theband fell apart recently after less than a year together due to the fact that they had noredeeming qualities whatsoever. Louie Walsh was on the search for the “next product” on theconveyor belt. This unfortunately has been the nature of the music industry in recent years asbands have been used as “use-by date” type of products and completely constricts thedevelopment of talent and creativity in the industry.X-factor, a British talent competition has become the recluse of family entertainment. SimonCowell, in full Simon Phillip Cowell (b. Oct. 7, 1959, Brighton, East Sussex, Eng.), Englishentrepreneur, recording executive, and television producer and personality, known for hisharsh criticism of contestants on the show Pop Idol and its American spin-off, American Idolis the founder of this television program. After leaving school at age 16, Cowell was hired towork in the mail room at EMI Music Publishing and was eventually given the chance, in1979, to discover performers to sing newly published songs. In 1985 he and a partner formedFanfare Records, which enjoyed some success before folding in 1989. 15
  • 16. In 2004, with Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh, Cowell was a judge on the first series ofthe British talent show The X Factor, which he created using his production company, Syco.The X Factor was an instant success with the viewers and finished its sixth series in 2009. In2006, he was voted the tenth most terrifying celebrity on television in a Radio Times pollconsisting of 3,000 people. Simon Cowell continues to have a hold on the television musicindustry and has evolved to become celebrity in his rights in creating/manufacturing groupswhilst promoting solo artist careers like those of Leona Lewis, his sole protégé.The American version of Simon‟s The X-factor, American Idol has equally taken the musicindustry in the US by storm. The US group O-Town were the subject of the show "Makingthe Band" that saw syndication around the world. But a new series of Pop stars dubbed "TheRivals" is to follow the first where there will be two bands created rather than one. One bandwill be composed of "girls" and the other of "boys" chosen from a shortlist of ten bytelephone vote. The ultimate aim is for the two bands to then compete for the Christmasnumber one (rather arrogantly ignoring the fact that they will certainly not be the only artiststo release tracks to this same end). Whether or not the viewing public will respond to thesame old tricks for a second year running remains to be seen, but then they have been lappingup the same formulaic and rehashed musical format for the best part of the past forty yearswithout qualm or complaint. The more things change the more they stay the same.Manufactured bands can be split into three distinct types:2.1 Boy BandsThese are the original - but not necessarily the best - type of manufactured band.2.2 Girl BandsThese are like boy bands, but set to appeal to an older audience, or a younger audienceconsisting purely of girls.2.3 Mixed BandsThese consist of members of both sexes who can interact suggestively, giving wider marketappeal. The mega-dollar spinning US industry has imbibed in this type of bands in the formof S-club seven, a UK pop group that came to prominence in 1999 when they starred in theirown BBC programme Miami 7. This concept and brand of the group was created by SimonFuller, who was also their manager through 19 Entertainment; they were signed to PolydorRecords. 16
  • 17. Their television series went on to last four series, seeing the group travel across the UnitedStates and eventually ending up in Barcelona, Spain. It became popular in 100 differentcountries where the show was watched by over 90 million viewers3.0 Abridged History - Key Events by DecadeManufactured bands have actually been around for quite a long time - although in the last fewdecades they have become far more common. The main periods of development are: 1960s The Monkees were formed. This band was created for a television series that was intended to be an American version of A Hard Days Night. There were a couple of songs per episode, which were often quite good, and the actors were all shown singing and playing instruments. However, it was soon revealed that the band didnt really perform - at least on their early records - as only a couple of the members were actually musicians. Exceptions: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. 1970s The Bay City Rollers, stars of their own television series, were hugely popular, and became the latest target for screaming teenage girls. Exceptions: The Police, The Buzzcocks, The Clash. 1980s This was possibly the start of the true era of manufactured music. In this decade, there was a plethora of manufactured bands, one of the biggest being the insufferable Bros. Exceptions: The Smiths, Pixies. 1990s and beyond New Kids on the Block, Take That, Boyzone, Backstreet Boys and many more sold millions of records to young girls. Girl groups such as the Spice Girls became increasingly common. Westlife were the first band to have all their first five singles enter the charts at numbers one. Manufactured bands have now begun to dominate the charts and changed the perception of the term pop. 17
  • 18. Exceptions: Anything non-manufactured - examples include Green Day, Radiohead, Idlewild, and Nirvana.4.0 How to Spot a Manufactured BandThere are several clear indications that show whether a band can be classified asmanufactured: (a) Are there no actual instrumentalists among the band members? (b) Can they dance much better than they can sing? (c) Does one sing while the others sing harmonies in the background? (d) Do they always mime when performing live? (e) Do they appear a lot on childrens TV? (A manufactured bands target audience is often children, as they are the worlds most gullible consumer market.) (f) Do their singles constantly enter the charts at number one, and then drop down to a lower position the next week, almost invariably replaced by a near-identical song by another group? (g) Do they always get other people to write their songs for them? (h) Does every one of their songs have a pointless key change, usually just before the final chorus? (i) Does the name of their band have a misplaced number or letter in it? (U2, Blink-182, Alabama 3 or the sadly departed Ben Folds Five dont count, but 5ive, Nsync, HearSay, A1 and childrens entertainers S Club 7 definitely do.) (j) Do they have their own childrens TV series? (This is a surprisingly common one.) (k) If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, you have probably discovered a manufactured band.5.0 How to Spot a Boy BandBoy bands have a few extra identifying markers, which the following questions will quicklyreveal: (a) Do the members all wear identical clothing? (b) Are they constantly followed by screaming girls who have nothing better to do with their lives? (c) Does the band have the word Boy in its name? (Eg Boyzone, Backstreet Boys.) 18
  • 19. 6.0 Basic Anatomy of a boy bandA boy band usually has four or more members that are usually very similar from band toband:  The floppy-haired one - usually blond. This is often the only one who can actually sing.  The one with the body piercings - this is the one who is slightly wacky.  The rapper - he cant really rap.  The gay one - most boy bands have a gay member who invariably comes out after a year or two in the band, despite everyone knowing already.  The other one. This is the one who never does anything and is most likely to end up crashed out on drugs and forced to leave the band in a media scandal.7.0 Basic Anatomy of a Girl BandA girl band usually has three members, although this can increase to five. The band memberscan be a little more varied than in a boy band, but are usually very similar:  The singer - this is the one who can sing. She is a bit like the floppy-haired one in the boy band.  The media target - this is the one who is constantly picked on by the tabloid press for being too fat, too thin, or having a relationship with anyone, ever.  The one with the pierced tongue/nose - this is this members only distinguishing mark. A bit like the other one in a boy band.The marketing is firstly aimed at children between the ages of six and 12, and when the shortattention span of these youngsters starts to waver, the girl band will start aiming at menbetween the ages of 16 and 28. When kids lose interest, theres always a herd of sex-obsessedmen to sell to. 19
  • 20. 8.0 The Death of a Manufactured BandThankfully, manufactured bands - especially boy bands - usually have a shelf life of about 12months. You can hope that after this time they will do one of the following: (a) Become so successful that they stop working at all, only emerging for so-called live dates and charity functions (eg Boyzone). (b) Split up. This is not always better than the band descending into dormancy, as the members may be able to pursue a solo career, which is almost as bad. Thankfully, not all solo careers are successful - but some are, so be careful. (Eg Robbie Williams, Geri Halliwell). (c) Get dropped by their record label. Manufactured bands exist solely to make profit for their managers and their record label. If they start to lose popularity, they will often simply cease to exist. If this happens to a manufactured band, laugh loudly and buy yourself a celebratory drink. Watch TV and look in the local TV listings for the next one in line. Hilarious as it may seem, these are the facts of the music industry.8.1 How to avoid Manufactured BandsIt is possible to avoid manufactured pop groups. The easiest way is never to buy any of theirrecords, and never let everyone doubt how much you hate them. Simply follow these easysteps to ensure that your life is relatively free of manufactured pop:  Never watch childrens TV (even if you have children) or public entertainment programmes such as the National Lottery Show (in the UK). Manufactured bands rely more on their visual image than their music for their success, and so often make such appearances, miming all the time, of course.  Do not listen to drive-time radio, especially the charts, and if you have to, keep your finger close to the off switch. It is safer to listen to CDs, or radio shows by DJs that never play manufactured music, such as BBC Radio Ones Steve Lamacq or John Peel.  Unfortunately, you may still come across manufactured bands. Be careful! Always have a CD, cassette, minidisc or mp3 player to hand, with some good music in it ready to play. 20
  • 21. 8.2 Should music organisations have a social responsibility?This research into manufactured bands has shown that there are very few management andrecording companies that have suddenly realised that social responsibility is an important andintegral aspect of entertainment. Corporate Social Responsibility is a concept wherebyorganizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of theiractivities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in allaspects of their operations. Communities world-wide have an in-born desire to follow bandsand groups that present a social responsibility front.There are management organisations like HanDE, Mike Fisher productions and bigorganisations like Sony, EMI etc who have seen the need to include education and corporatesocial responsibility in running and promoting bands. They have deliberately taken on theresponsibility of promoting unsigned bands that already exist as a bonded unit but have noaccess to the likes of Ex-factor gurus like Simon Cowel and Loui Walsh. These bands aretaken up within their setting and locality. The bond that exists in the bands is seen as apositive and “to be imbibed” in concept of “family and fun” and instead of having a“manufactured” outlook, a more socially responsible quality is emphasised. Education andfamily life is seen as being more important than the music being produced. These bands arethen allowed to flourish together on a prolonged period ranging from four to eight years,providing a mutually beneficial arrangement for the organisations as the band members alike.The longer the contract is allowed to blossom, the more appreciative of each other is theresulting product.The above mentioned music organisations deliberately work with creative artists and promotemedia programs that have a positive effect on so many people and constantly contribute inmany ways to communities all around the world. As responsible organisations, HandE, MikeFisher productions, Sony, EMI and their associates employ activities that have positiveimpact through the way they manage their business and the wider role they play in society.Within their organisation‟s operations, they work hard to understand the expectations ofdifferent stakeholders and demonstrate responsible business practices. They take seriousempathetic positions on issues that affect their employees and their families, their localcommunities and these organisations in the industry drive a culture of charitable couples withcommunity involvement. 21
  • 22. Their business units around the world are free to make their own community investmentdecisions so that company resources are appropriately matched with the local need. In theUK, they encourage employees to participate in volunteer roles with charity partners on theground, whilst also making in-kind donations, often in form of merchandise, when and whereappropriate.We are already seeing the possible future of manufactured music appear in Japan. Computer-generated pop stars have been created, and many more are on the way. As much as we maywant to deny it, manufactured bands are here to stay. Once the model of entertainment thatJustine Maynard of HandE productions (ie signing on “unsigned bands” and allowing themto blossom over a prolonged period) catches the interest of the entertainment industry, thiswill be the future of properly orchestrated entertainment bands, solo artists or groups that willimpact the community in a positive way.8.3 Problems and good example of typical Band issues- Destiny’s ChildDestinys Child rose to become one of the most popular female R&B groups of the late 90s,eventually rivalling even TLC in terms of blockbuster commercial success. Theiraccomplishments came in spite of several abrupt personnel changes, which wereaccompanied by heated, well-publicized feuds in the media and the courts. In fact, for a time,Destinys Child were known for that drama just as much as their music. Once the groupstabilized again, though, they emerged with even more hit-making power than ever before.Destinys Child were formed in Houston, TX, in 1990, when original members BeyoncéKnowles and LaTavia Roberson were just nine years old; the two met at an audition andbecame friends, and Knowles father Mathew set about developing an act based on theirsinging and rapping, taking their name from a passage in the Book of Isaiah. Beyoncéscousin Kelendria "Kelly" Rowland joined the group in 1992, and shortly thereafter theylanded an appearance on Star Search, where they performed a rap song. The quartets lineupwas finalized (for the time being) when LeToya Luckett joined in 1993, and they spent thenext few years working their way up from the Houston club scene, eventually opening forartists like SWV, Dru Hill, and Immature. Finally, in 1997, Destinys Child was offered arecording contract by Columbia. 22
  • 23. The group made its recorded debut on 1997s "Killing Time," a song included on thesoundtrack of the blockbuster Men in Black. Their self-titled debut album was released inearly 1998, featuring production by Wyclef Jean and Jermaine Dupri, among others. Its leadsingle, the Jean-produced "No No No," was a smash hit, selling over a million copies andtopping the R&B charts. The follow-up singles -- "With Me" and "Get on the Bus," the latterof which was taken from the soundtrack of Why Do Fools Fall in Love? -- didnt quiteduplicate the success of "No No No," although Destinys Child would eventually go platinum(after the groups later success). Destinys Child re-entered the studio quickly, bringing inproducer Kevin "Shekspere" Briggs to handle the majority of their next record. Lead single"Bills, Bills, Bills" became the groups first number one pop hit (and second R&B numberone) in the summer of 1999, and paced by its success, the accompanying album, TheWritings on the Wall, entered the charts at number six upon its release.That was just the beginning of the groups breakout success. The second single, "Bug a Boo,"didnt perform as well, but the third single, "Say My Name," was another massive hit, theirbiggest so far; it hit number one on both the pop and R&B charts for three weeks apiece inearly 2000, and made Destinys Child a pop-cultural phenomenon. However, at the peak of"Say My Name"s popularity, the group splintered. In December 1999, Roberson and Luckettattempted to split with manager Mathew Knowles, charging that he kept a disproportionateshare of the bands profits, attempted to exert too much control, and unfairly favoured hisdaughter and niece. While they never intended to leave the group, relations naturally grewstrained, and when the video for "Say My Name" premiered in February 2000, many fans(not to mention Roberson and Luckett) were surprised to find two new members -- MichelleWilliams and Farrah Franklin -- joining Knowles and Rowland. Infuriated, Roberson andLuckett took legal action in March, suing both Knowles and their former band mates forbreach of partnership and fiduciary duties. A war of words followed in the press; meanwhile,the next Destinys Child single, "Jumpin Jumpin," hit the Top Ten, and The Writings on theWall went on to sell a whopping eight million copies.The personnel-turnover drama still wasnt over; in July 2000, just five months after joining,Farrah Franklin split with the group. The official reason was that Franklin missed severalpromotional appearances and concert gigs, although in later interviews she spoke of too muchnegativity and too little control in the group environment. Now reduced to a trio, DestinysChild was tapped to record the theme song for the film version of Charlies Angels; releasedas a single in October, "Independent Women, Pt. 1" raced up the charts and spent an 23
  • 24. astounding 11 weeks at number one. Destinys Child were now indisputable superstars, thebiggest female R&B group on the scene, and they quickly began work on a new album tocapitalize. In the meantime, toward the end of 2000, Roberson and Luckett dropped theportion of their lawsuit aimed at Rowland and Knowles in exchange for a settlement, thoughthey continued to pursue action against Knowles father; as part of the agreement, both sideswere prohibited from ripping each other publicly.Beyoncé had long since emerged as the groups focal point, and on the third Destinys Childalbum, she assumed more control than ever before, taking a greater hand in writing thematerial and even producing some of the record herself. While recording sessions were goingon, Rowland released the first Destinys Child solo track; "Angel" appeared on the soundtrackof Chris Rocks Down to Earth. Former members Roberson and Luckett also announced theformation of a trio called, coincidentally, Angel, and Farrah Franklin set about starting a solocareer.Survivor - whose title was reportedly inspired by a DJs crack about Destinys Child membersvoting one another off the island, much like the popular CBS reality series -- hit stores in thespring of 2001, and entered the charts at number one. The first two singles, "Survivor" and"Bootylicious," were predictably huge hits, with the latter becoming the groups fourthnumber one pop single. A cover of Andy Gibbs "Emotion" was also successful, albeit less so,and Survivor sold well -- over four million copies -- but not as well as its predecessor.Toward the end of the year, the group released a holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas, andannounced plans for a series of side projects, including solo albums from all three members(to be staggered over the next year and a half, so as to avoid competition). In early 2002,shortly after This Is the Remix was released to tide fans over, Roberson and Luckett sued thegroup again, claiming that some of the lyrics in "Survivor" made reference to them (inviolation of the earlier lawsuit settlement).The first Destinys Child solo album, Michelle Williams all-gospel project Heart to Yours,was released in April and featured a duet with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. Meanwhile,Beyoncé won a leading role opposite Mike Myers in the third Austin Powers film,Goldmember, playing blaxploitation-style heroine Foxy Cleopatra; her first solo single, theNeptunes-produced "Work It Out," appeared on the soundtrack, and her full solo album,Dangerously in Love, became a huge hit upon release in mid-2003. Despite much criticalspeculation, the trio reunited the following year and released Destiny Fulfilled in November 24
  • 25. 2004. In October 2005, the No 1s compilation was issued, followed by the Live in AtlantaDVD and CD sets in 2006 and 2007. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi9.0 Typical problems in boy bandsWhen boy bands are formed, there are typical dent marks like tattoos that accompany theirexistence. There are the usual issues that will always be national anthem no matter wherethey are based. The fans, the fame, the flops, the fall-outs, the cash, the comebacks, thecatastrophes etc. !Below are five boy band stars talk about the highs and lows of life in the spotlight and theeffects on their lives and family situations. These accounts are based on true stories derivedfrom interviews factually held with the stars.Something strange happened to pop in 2009: (a) the boyband bounced back. (b) Take Thats summer tour became the fastest-selling ever, and last years X Factor runners-up, (c) JLS, became the first British male group in years to incite countrywide pre-teen rampages. (d) New Kids On the Block and Blue reformed, while stalwarts like Westlife and the (e) Backstreet Boys chose not to simply wallow in their riches and promoted new records instead. And there are rumours of new acts being launched next year.One would wonder what really happens in a boy-band and the accounts below attempts toanswer the questions, “But whats it like to be in a boy-band?” “How do these young mencope with the adulation, the pressure, the temptations, the knocks?” “What happens when thescreaming teens move on to the next hot thing?”Below are actual comments from five boy-band stars who reveal all . . .Girls started turning up at my front door. I was nice to them, Nicky Byrne, Weatlife formed 1998I was 18 and my girlfriends auntie heard an advert on the radio for a boy-band audition. Iloved singing, but rarely did it – except on the karaoke after a few Guinnesses. But shebadgered me about it, so I went, and there was Louis Walsh, who had put Boyzone together. 25
  • 26. After I sang, I thought he said: "Youd be good in a pub band." I was like, thanks, you cheekysod! Then I realised hed said: "Youd be good in a pop band." I was shocked.People dont realise that Westlife didnt have a deal for ages. We went to Sligo to rehearse,then Louis got us a deal with Levis to kit us out in jackets and jeans, and wed go round localradio stations singing acapella. Girls started turning up at my front door. It was very strange,especially as Id been with my girlfriend, Georgina, since I was 15. Still, I was nice to them,signing autographs and stuff, while Georgina kept me sane and stuck by me. We got marriedin 2003 and have twin boys.Louis always said he wanted hard workers rather than heart-throbs (or even talented singers).He even sacked us twice for messing around; once, very early on, for throwing bread rollsat each other, while strolling in late for meetings. I remember him losing it, shouting: "Youvelet it all go to your heads. I dont work with people like that." Thankfully, he listened whenwe begged him to take us back.Boy-bands have really changed in the last 10 years. Its less about girls fantasies and gettingyour top off than about fans coming together, looking out for you, singing along. When Mark(Feehily, Byrnes band mate) came out in 2001, the fans were supportive, which meant theworld to us. I remember Louis laughing and saying: "Well, you know, in boy-bands theresalways one gay boy!!!."“If it all ended tomorrow, Id miss being on stage the most. It doesnt matter if the NME sayyour music is farcical or rubbish – thats just life. These are songs that lots of people love.When youre up there and you know what songs coming next, and you hear the fans screamwhen they recognise it – thats the best feeling in the world.”Weve got a whole security team: a 24-hour bodyguard each Kevin Jonas, Jonas Brothers, formed2005“You never get used to this life. At the start, we had to play every event we could, absolutelyanything. So much has changed. Weve got a whole security team now. Each of us has apersonal bodyguard 24 hours a day. We need them, too: sometimes you can be in a badsituation with fans getting over-excited. My mans Big Rob, who used to be with JanetJackson and Britney Spears. We hang around talking, watching movies, playing computergames on the bus. To outsiders, its strange, but its like gaining a new family.” 26
  • 27. Boy-bands are different today. Fans wont just accept singing groups who dance like this,dance like that, any more. Theyll still argue over whos their favourite. I love that, it makesme laugh, but they want more out of you musically. Thats good, because were getting olderas well, and getting into stuff like the Zutons, Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello.I love it when we write songs influenced by other groups, and our fans start to listen to themas well. My advice to boy-bands would to be to keep level-headed, but think about how youcan branch out. Your fans will grow with you, but youve got to move with them, too .When it all went wrong, it felt like the world was ending Tony Mortimer, East 17, 1991-1998,reunion 2006, now solo“I still remember the day I had the idea to form a working-class boy-band. I was 19 andobsessed, but I didnt tell my mates straightaway, because I didnt want a kicking. This wasWalthamstow in east London, and there was crime and crap everywhere. You could dealdrugs, do sport or try music. I had always had performing around me: my father was a builderwho played the guitar; my mother worked as a cleaner and had won awards for Irish dancing.So music it was.”I met the other boys hanging out around town, outside the electric shop, in the park, talkingshit, listening to rap and hip-hop. Id check out the boys quietly and think: "Oh, theyd begood in a band." I plotted in my head, wrote songs and hustled Tom Watkins, the managerwho had looked after the Pet Shop Boys and Bros, just sending him tapes, doing his head in.He said I was rubbish so many times, but as hed taken the time to reply, I stuck at it. One dayI sent him a song called Deep. Bingo, he loved it – and it all went mental from there.”He got us in Smash Hits before we had got a record deal, and suddenly we were on roadshows and TV, like some amazing, weird dream. It had been a strange year for me before allthat anyway. My brother had died – he killed himself – so that was all in my head, and mygirlfriend Tracy, who Im still with, had got pregnant with our first little girl. And there I wasrunning off to have pictures taken with my top off.“Drugs messed it up for us! When it all went wrong, it felt like the world was ending. Youdbeen wanted and then, nothing. And my friends didnt want to know me, especially Brian[Harvey], who Id fallen out with long before that radio interview [in 1997, Harvey told the 27
  • 28. BBC he had taken 12 ecstasy tablets in one night; he was sacked from East 17 the followingday]. How frightening it is to be unwanted due to something as bad as DRUGS!“The boy-band” had been my baby and now it wasnt. The boys still tour as E-17, singing myold songs. I was angry with them for a long time, especially when we tried to reform and itdidnt work out [the reunion ended with Mortimer punching Harvey]. Now I say good luck tothem. Ive got my own life, Ive played good gigs recently, and Im writing new music, whichwill be released next year. Its hard seeing bands like TakeThat get big again, though,especially when theyre releasing singles with bloody ukuleles all over them. We were a bigdeal in the 1990s. We made great records. It makes me sad that people dont remember usanymore, just because we dared to touch DRUGS (Harvey in particular) and the whole E-17looked crooked, leprosed and maligned for one man‟s foolish act!What would I say to a new boy-band? Enjoy the days when youre starting out. Theyre thebest times: coming up, getting known, when its all still new. I can still feel that excitement inmy legs when I was young – running home to work on an idea, to dream something up. I feltlike a magician. I felt like I was controlling the world. It does not last if you are foolish! I livewith immense regrets as we should have known what was allowed and what taboo is!PLEASE DON‟T DO DRUGS!!!”I thought: Spend the money, because you dont deserve it Simon Webbe, Blue, 2001-2005, andreformed 2009“I was never a singer. Id trained to be a footballer, kicking a ball from dawn to dusk, so Imissed Top of the Pops, Going Live, all that stuff. Then I had a bad injury, so I became amodel. Some managers came to me and said: "Youve got a great look, can you sing?"Singing seemed an odd thing to do, so I was like: "No, not at all." Then I did an audition withthe boys who became Blue, and we became friends, stuck together.“Not long after, my granddad died, and I thought: "Man, lifes too short. Lets just practise,see where this goes." And suddenly there I was, experiencing pop music for the very firsttime. Still, Im in the band because my face fitted. I know that. At first, I was like a rabbit inthe headlights. I was brought up in Manchesters Moss Side, by a single mum who had holesin her shoes, in a place where drugs were a way of life. Suddenly I was in my early 20s with a 28
  • 29. million in the bank. What I remember vividly is thinking, "Spend the money, because youdont deserve it.”“You shouldnt, you know. You should leave it where it is. Forget Selfridges and going toMahiki every night. Just remember what it feels like to be sitting in a pub on a Sunday,dreading work, or queuing to sign on. That should bring you round.”“When we became famous, I met my daughter for the first time. She was born when I was 17.Id wanted to meet her, but it was complicated. When I finally did, when it was all happeningfor the band, something happened to me. It gave me a kick, made me realise what aprivileged position I was in. Weve been close ever since, me and Alanah.”I dont think an all-black boy-band like JLS would have been signed in the days when wewere starting out. The X Factors great in that way: it shows the record companies whatpeople really want – especially as most labels are run by old guys who have no idea whatsgoing on in clubs or on the streets.When we went our separate ways in 2005, it was like my comfort zone had been taken away.Wed gone from selling 1.5m to 700,000. I wanted us to fight our way back, but pop doesntwork like that. By then, every A&R was obsessed with indie bands anyway. Although Ivehad a solo career thats gone pretty well, to my amazement, I cant believe weve now got asecond chance to be together as a band.“I dont forget the bad days. I still go along to my daughters school – its not a private one,and never would be, because thats not real life – and get involved in little ways, givingcertificates, telling these kids there is hope. My advice to boy-bands would be: rememberhow the world really works, and never forget where you came from.”We didnt like being called a boy-band. We were a bit old Richie Wermerling, Let Loose, 1993-1996, reformed 2008“If anyone tells you that being in a boy-band doesnt screw you up, theyre a liar. How can itnot? Youre in your 20s and suddenly someone tells you, "Hey! Youre great!" Heres aninterview, a magazine cover, everything you ever wanted. To have that, and then not have it –its like being in one very strange world, then another.” 29
  • 30. “We didnt like being called a boy-band. We were a bit old for bloody starters. I was in mymid-20s. Also, I actually wrote my songs. And when we had our first big hit, Crazy for You,it was a word-of-mouth thing: it took its time climbing the charts. But once youre thought ofin a certain way – as a bunch of boys singing love songs, wearing nice clothes – then thatsthat. Youve got to fight to be thought of differently. We even had a hit with a Bread track,Make It With You, a proper LA soft-rock song, but people had made up their minds.”I released an album last year with a new Let Loose line-up. I didnt do it to jump on thecomeback trail, though. Ill be making music until Im old and grey, partly because I dontknow what else Id do, partly because Ive known what its like to stand before a hugeaudience and feel that incredible rush. My advice to new boy-bands today? Mmmm,,,, Enjoyevery moment. Enjoy it while it lasts.”10.0 Conclusions about Boy-bandsTaking a nostalgic look back over the years and giving you a chance to listen again to someof those classic hits, this documentary exclusively speaks to a selection of the boysthemselves and also some of the key managers who masterminded their success.Boy-band fever had taken the UK by storm in the 1990‟s, boy bands were living the popdream but it wasn‟t all harmless fun, drug scandals began to hit the headlines and the lifestylebegan to take it‟s toll. 1996 saw the first major casualty in the boy band world – the split ofTake That.“I was at school when Take That split and I remember people in the hallways crying and help lines were set up” laughs Dane Bowers “For Smash Hits it was a dark day because, ok, we‟ve now just lost our best-selling group just what do you do?!” remembers Mark Frith. The problem now was that everyone wanted to jump on the boy band wagon and fill the gapin the market. “Everybody thought – we can do this, we are five boys, we can‟t sing, we can‟twrite songs but there is gonna be a bunch of guys over there that can do all that for us” says Tom Watkins. 30
  • 31. Suddenly the market was flooded with boy bands. The Stage newspaper was inundated withauditions for boys. “you get the dodgy ones and then you‟d get the good ones, but you have to go to all of them just to take a chance” remembers Antony Costa.For the boys who made it all the hard work and time on the road began to take its toll andsuddenly by the end of the 1990‟s some of the bands were on the very edge of their owndownfall. Self-destructive behaviour has always gone hand in hand with rock and roll – butnow it was hitting the boy bands. “They did go out, they screwed as many girls as they could, they took copious amounts of drugs, they drunk loads of alcohol and they partied” Tom Watkins remembers managing E17.“Behind closed doors when they go to hotels at night, they get drunk, they take drugs, they let in groupies – they‟re boys” Louis Walsh.“I‟d wake up, get on the soup, have a few bevies throughout the day, end up going to the TV‟s gargled up, not drunk, but trying to enlighten the day because it was so monotonous, everyday it was an interview, every day was a TV, talking the same stuff I spoke for the last few weeks about the same record, the same tour, I was trying to make it exciting again” Shane Lynch from Boyzone recallsShane‟s destructive behaviour and issues came to a head in 1999 at the MTV awards inDublin where he famously had a public outburst that shocked his fans.“I didn‟t want to be in a boy band anymore. I didn‟t want to be called a faggot walking down the street anymore. I wanted to be a hard nut, I wanted to be credible and not in a boy band and I think that‟s where my downfall was because I started to disrespect what I was in” explain Shane.Another lifestyle pressure placed on the boy band was the idea they had to remain single tokeep their female fans interested. This is as unnatural as it is incredible to the normal mind ofa hot-blooded teenage young man. This unfortunately is one of the terms and conditions ofbaptism into a boy-band life style spelt out in boy-band bibles. This is as impossible as a manfalling pregnant and usually becomes the greatest commandment that is impossible to keep. “When we first started we weren‟t supposed to say we had a girlfriend” AJ from The Backstreet Boys. 31
  • 32. Nigel Martin Smith famously told Take That they couldn‟t have girlfriends and had itstipulated in their contracts. The fear that a girlfriend would ruin the band was rife, we werescared the press would find out we had girlfriends” remembers Shane. “I worried about the fans reaction when I got married” recalls Rowan Keating.But sometimes it was too hard to keep your life under wraps.“the Sun called to say we have some pictures of you and another guy, if you don‟t want to dothe interview that‟s fine, but if you don‟t he‟s going to go to another newspaper” say Stephen.Although the revelation of his sexuality did Stephen no harm, some boys felt they had to hide their sexuality and keep up the pretence,” Stephen Gatley remembersThe worst thing that can happen to a boy band member is to fall from grace, as Brian Harveyfrom East 17 found out. Brian disclosed in an interview that he had taken 12 ecstasy pills inone night and referred to them as safe. “by 5.30 in the morning I was public enemy number one, The press just went for me… theamount of pressure them press can put on a person I can‟t begin to tell you what that done to me, that‟s when my life went wonky”. Recalls Brian HarveyThe life of boy-bands can be short lived and turbulent. Long days on the road and constantperformances can lead to excessive behaviour. Although all of the boy-bands dream ofmaking a comeback – it is unlikely to happen, unless you are Take That, who in 2006 hadthe biggest resurrection the boy band community have ever seen. Take that keep coming backagain and again. This is 2010 and they are again on the come-back trail with Robbie Williamsin the saddle again!There is need for new laws and regulations for the formation of boy-bands and entertainmentorganisation in the UK to gain control of the amoebic expansion of the industry. The lack ofcorporate social responsibility and monitoring of the psychological effects of the industry onfamilies and the members of the boy-band causes immense pressure on social services,education and government departments. With the recession taking place at the momentdemands for responsible social activities emanating from the entertainment industry hasbecome a frictional element that has influenced management organisations to recognise socialresponsibility as an important integral of the music management organisations. Educationaland social wings have been introduced in management organisations and new models of 32
  • 33. managing bands are emerging. There is a new dawn in the industry as the promotion of thenew model of social responsibility takes shape in the industry.The next time one enters a music mega-store, one will be met with the notion that bands areno longer being manufactured but are being allowed to blossom with social responsibility asthe driving fuel rather than the lust for profit, sex and glamour. The new dawn of socialresponsibility in the music /entertainment industry is almost upon the community. 33
  • 34. 11.0 Bibliography and material usedBurnett, Robert (1996). The Global Jukebox: The International Music Industry. London:Routledge,Cowell, S. (2003) "I Dont Mean to Be Rude, But...", Broadway Books, ISBN 0-7679-1741-3d‟Angelo, Mario (2002) Does globalisation mean ineluctable concentration ? in The MusicIndustry in the New Economy, Report of the Asia-Europe Seminar, Lyon, Oct. 25–28, 2001,IEP de Lyon/Asia-Europe Foundation/Eurical, Editors Roche F., Marcq B., Colomé Dpp. 53–54.dAngelo, Mario (2006) Perspectives of the Management of Musical Institutions in Europe,OMF, Musical Activities and Institutions Sery, ParisIV-Sorbonne University, Ed. MusicalesAug. Zurfluh, Bourg-la-Reine,Delavan, J. (2002) Boy Bands: The Hunks and Heartthrobbs Conquering the Pop MusicWorld Edition illustrated, Triumph Books, UK.Dick Weissman, Frank Jermance, Gennaro DeSantis, Randi Perkins, Kim Wangler (2003)Navigating the music industry: current issues & business models Music Business Series HalEdition illustrated Leonard Corporation, USA.Donald S. Passman. (2006) All you need to know about the music business Edition 6,illustrated, Free Press, USA, UKGray, T. (2008) The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Schemein U.S. Edition History illustrated, Collins, UKGronow, Pekka, and Ilpo Saunio. (1998) .An International History of the Recording Industry.London: Cassell,Hamm, Charles. (1979) Yesterdays: Popular Song in America. New York: Norton.M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, John M. Gross, Jonathan Feinstein (2007) ThisBusiness of Music: Definitive Guide to the Music Industry New Series Edition10, illustratedBillboard, UK. 34
  • 35., M. William; Shemel, Sidney; Gross, John M.; Feinstein, Jonathan, ThisBusiness of Music (10th ed.), Billboard Books, ISBN 0823077292Lebrecht, Norman (1996) When the Music Stops: Managers, Maestros and the CorporateMurder of Classical Music, Simon & Schuster.Sanjek, Russell. (1996) Pennies from Heaven: The American Popular Music Business in theTwentieth Century. Updated by David Sanjek. New York: Da Capo,Tschmuck, Peter (2006) Creativity and Innovation in the Music Industry, Springer .Weisman, Loren (2010) "The Artists Guide to Success in the Music Business", BPN 2010.ISBN 1-935359-33-9 35