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The Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments

From Frank Sinatra and the Jackson 5 to Britney Spears and One Direction, a look at the singers and performers who have shaped generations

teen idols

Miley Cyrus, the Jackson Five and Frank Sinatra were all breakout teen idols during their respective decades.

Teen idols are a special kind of rock star – their popularity may fall as fast as it rises, but it tends to rise higher and inspire more ecstatic adoration than any other kind of artist. Musical styles and images change, but the passion of young fans is as much a part of the backbone of rock & roll as the blues. Here are the top 25 teen idol breakout moments of the rock era.

backstreet boys

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Backstreet Boys – 1998


In the summer of 1997 a confusing song hit the radio called "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." It repeatedly stated that something called "Backstreet" was back, but nobody knew that Backstreet was around to begin with. It didn't really matter. The Max Martin-produced song was incredibly catchy, girls fell in love with the five-piece boy band, and a new sensation was born. (They'd already had success in Europe, but that's beside the point.) They were led by an obese, immoral Svengali named Lou Pearlman. He played a big role in breaking them, but they later sued him for stealing their money. Unlike most boy bands, the Backstreet Boys never really broke up. Kevin Richardson quit the group for a six-year spell, but they just kept touring and releasing records to smaller and smaller audiences. They had somewhat of a revival last year when they teamed up with The New Kids on the Block for a world tour, and this year they welcomed Kevin back into the fold.