From Boyzone to Westlife: A brief history of Irish boybands
Entertainment

From Boyzone to Westlife: A brief history of Irish boybands

Boyzone

Who could have guessed that the overenthusiastic dancers on The Late Late Show in 1993 would go on to define the pop charts for the next two decades? Certainly not Gay Byrne. The fivesome of Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, and Shane Lynch began as inexperienced young pups, but their cover of Working My Way Back To You in 1994 set out their stall as purveyors of shiny happy cover versions. After that, their next 17 singles peaked in the British top 5 — including enduring hits like No Matter What, Words and Picture of You.

Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily Shane Filan and Kian Egan of Westlife in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily Shane Filan and Kian Egan of Westlife in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Westlife

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Seeing as one five-piece Irish boyband singing fairly choreographed cover songs wasn’t enough, Louis Walsh decided to birth Westlife. But such was the difference that Westlife — Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Brian McFadden — went on to sell an eye-watering 50million records (that’s twice as much as Boyzone if anyone’s counting). Minus Brian who’d already ‘did a Robbie’ but without the solo career, the group split at the height of their fame in 2012 with a sold out tour which culminated in two shows in Croke Park, Dublin. But something tells us we haven’t seen the last of them…

OTT

Another ’90s act formed on the back of Boyzone’s success were OTT, comprising of Niall O’Neill, Alan Fitzsimons, Adam Mates, Glen Clarke and Keith Cox. Theirs was a more moderate and short-lived success. While they couldn’t match their Irish success abroad, tunes like The Story of Love, Let Me In and All Out Of Love will never be far from our hearts.

 Danny O'Donoghue (C), Mark Sheehan and Glen Power of the The Script  in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) Danny O'Donoghue (C), Mark Sheehan and Glen Power of the The Script in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Script

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On this list as Boyzone and Westlife brought the idea of a ‘manband’ into play, don’t underestimate the Dublin trio. Charismatic frontman? Check. On the radio incessantly? Check. Headlining stadiums? Check. It was meant to be — after fame evaded them in their first guise of MyTown, they honed their pop craft before returning as The Script, with monster pop-rock tunes like Superheroes, Break Even and Hall of Fame.

 John and Edward Grimes of Jedward attend the MTV EMA's in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV) John and Edward Grimes of Jedward attend the MTV EMA's in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV)

Jedward

X Factor duo Jedward miraculously made the transition from failed novelty act to proper-famous with a little help from (you guessed it) Louis Walsh. The Lucan twins enjoyed the screaming fans and Celebrity Big Brother invite that comes as part of the deal — the two-time Eurovision entry was just a bonus.

Hometown

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Yet another one of Louis Walsh’s protégés, handpicked from over 2,000 auditionees to take on the mighty One Direction. It’s early days for the six-piece, but indications are they may be a success. Listen out for new single Where I Belong.

Richie, Ste and Eoghan of Ireland's newest boyband Taken (Ben Ryan Photography ) Richie, Ste and Eoghan of Ireland's newest boyband Taken (Ben Ryan Photography )

Taken 

The newcomers. Though the group have been around since 2012, their current line-up — featuring Richie Power, Ste Barron and Eoghan MacMahon — is only one year old.Their age combined is 57 — the same age as Madonna. Eoghan is “the daddy of the band” at 20. Richie comes from “flats in the heart of The Liberties”, Eoghan comes from Baltinglass in Co. Wicklow, and Ste grew up in Templeogue in Dublin. As they come to the UK in their quest for world domination, Taken play The Half Moon, Putney on September 12.