Top 10 Teen Pop Artists of All Time

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Rick Nelson (1957-1960)

Rick Nelson
Rick Nelson. Photo by Archive / Getty Images

The first big heyday for teen pop idols was the late 1950s and early 1960s. In recent years we have seen a resurgence in the popularity of teen pop artists.

Rick Nelson created the model for later teen pop stars like Donny Osmond and Miley Cyrus back in the 1950s by appearing first on TV and then carrying his popularity with young fans into the pop music world. He starred with his family in the successful TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet beginning in 1952. He made his TV singing debut at age 16 in 1957 performing Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin." It became a top 5 pop smash and Rick Nelson's music career was on the way. By the time he turned 20, Rick Nelson had racked up a phenomenal record of 12 top 10 pop hits including the #1 smash "Poor Little Fool."

Watch Rick Nelson sing "Lonesome Town"

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Brenda Lee (1957-1964)

Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee. Photo by David Redfern / Redferns

Known by the nickname of "Little Miss Dynamite," pop and country star Brenda Lee first landed on national charts in 1957 at age 12. Her first top 10 pop smash "Sweet Nothin's" was released in 1959. By the time Brenda Lee turned 20 she had reached the top 10 of the pop charts with a dozen hits. "I'm Sorry" and "I Want To Be Wanted" were back to back #1 hits in 1960. Brenda Lee's label Decca initially held back the release of "I'm Sorry" out of fears that it was too adult of a song for a 15-year-old to sing.

Watch Brenda Lee sing "Sweet Nothin's"

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Paul Anka (1957-1961)

Paul Anka
Paul Anka. Photo by Ron Burton / Hulton Archive

Paul Anka was one of the rare teen pop artists who wrote his own songs. He stormed into the pop charts in 1957 at age 16 with the #2 smash "Diana." Born and raised in Ottawa, he became the biggest Canadian teen pop star until Justin Bieber half a century later. When he turned age 20 in 1961 Paul Anka had seven top 10 pop hits to his credit. His 1959 hit "Lonely Boy" went to #1 on the charts.

Watch Paul Anka sing "Lonely Boy" 

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Stevie Wonder (1963-1970)

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder. Photo by David Redfern / Redferns

While Stevie Wonder's music released in the 1970s remains among the greatest pop and R&B music all of time, many pop fans don't remember that he was one of the biggest teen pop stars of the 1960s. His first hit single "Fingertips - Part 1 & 2" went to #1 on the pop singles chart in 1963 when Stevie Wonder was only 13. He recorded a series of major hits through the rest of the decade, and by the time he turned 20, Stevie Wonder had reached the pop top 10 with nine songs. They included the #2 charting smash hits "I Was Made To Love Her" and "For Once In My Life."

Watch Stevie Wonder perform "Fingertips"

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Lesley Gore (1963-1966)

Lesley Gore
Lesley Gore. Photo by Keystone / Hulton Archive

In April 1963, 16-year-old Lesley Gore released her first single "It's My Party." It quickly became a pop classic storming to #1 on the charts. It was also the first major pop hit produced by 30-year-old Quincy Jones. Lesley Gore followed the hit with a top 5 smash sequel "Judy's Turn To Cry." Within a year she had four singles that hit the pop top 5. She would never replicate her early teen success, but Lesley Gore continued to record pop hits in into the late 1960s.

Watch Lesley Gore sing "It's My Party"

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Donny Osmond (1971-1977)

Donny Osmond
Donny Osmond. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Donny Osmond made his TV debut on the Andy Williams Show in the 1960s at age 5. In early 1971 he became a pop star at age 13 singing lead on the #1 pop hit "One Bad Apple" with his brothers the Osmonds. Just months after that success he released his first top 10 solo hit "Sweet and Innocent." It was followed by the #1 smash "Go Away Little Girl" and three more top 10 solo hits two top 10 duets with sister Marie by the time he turned 20 in 1977.  Donny Osmond was arguably the biggest teen pop star of the decade in the 1970s.

Watch Donny Osmond sing "Go Away Little Girl"

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Rihanna (2005-2008)

Rihanna. Photo by Jason Kempin / FilmMagic

After decades without a durable teen pop star on the charts, a 17-year-old girl from Barbados named Rihanna danced her way on to the charts with the #2 charting smash "Pon de Replay." It was just the beginning of a phenomenal string of seven top 10 hits in just three years. She went all the way to #1 with both "SOS" and "Umbrella." Unlike many teen pop stars, Rihanna easily made a successful transition into being an adult pop star. She landed at least one song in the pop top 10 for nine consecutive years. The string didn't break until 2014.

Watch Rihanna sing "Pon de Replay"

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Chris Brown (2005-2009)

Chris Brown
Chris Brown. Photo by Evan Agostini / Getty Images

When 16-year-old Chris Brown soared to the top of the pop charts in 2005 with his debut hit single "Run It!," he was the first male pop artist to accomplish the feat since Diddy eight years earlier. Earning accolades with his dancing skills as well as his singing, Chris Brown released six more top 10 pop smash hits as a teenager. "Kiss Kiss" returned him to the top of the charts. He made a successful transition into becoming an adult pop star while fighting off the career damage rendered by a domestic violence conviction.

Watch Chris Brown sing "Run It!"

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Miley Cyrus (2007-2012)

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus. Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

As the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus and goddaughter of the legendary Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus was destined for a music career. She first gained fame with the lead role in the hit Disney Channel TV show Hannah Montana. The series debuted when Miley Cyrus was 13. As the character Hannah Montana, she released two #1 charting albums before hitting the charts with her own Meet Miley Cyrus. In 2007 at age 15 she stormed into the pop top 10 with the single "See You Again." It would be followed by four more top 10 pop hits and another #1 charting album before she turned 20. 

Watch Miley Cyrus sing "See You Again"

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Justin Bieber (2009-2014)

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber. Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

One of the first pop artist to gain their first big break by posting amateur videos to YouTube was Canadian teen star Justin Bieber. He gained the attention of R&B superstar Usher. In late 2009 at age 15 he landed in the pop charts for the first time with his hit single "One Time." A string of hits followed giving Justin Bieber five top 10 pop hit singles and five #1 hits on the album chart by the time he turned 20. Among those hits were his #2 charting smash "Boyfriend."

Watch Justin Bieber sing "One Time."