Top 10 Teen Pop Artists of All Time

1950s to the Present

Shawn Mendes
Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Teenagers have been a relevant component of the pop music market since vast crowds of mostly girls surrounded Frank Sinatra in the 1940s professing their love for the rising legend. However, teenagers did not become significant recording stars themselves until the 1950s. Since then, a long line of teen pop idols riveted the attention of fans. These are ten of the most memorable.

Rick Nelson (1957-1960)

Rick Nelson
Archive Photos / Getty Images

Rick Nelson created the model for later teen pop stars like Donny Osmond and Miley Cyrus in the 1950s by appearing first on TV and then carrying his popularity with young viewers 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 hit "I'm Walkin." The cover version 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."

Rick Nelson's success as a recording artist continued into early adulthood. He released the #1 smash "Travelin' Man" just before his 21st birthday. After commercial success faded in the late 1960s, Rick Nelson came back in 1972 with the top 10 hit "Garden Party" that reflected on an experience in which fans booed him off the stage. He died in 1985 at age 45 in a tragic plane crash.

Watch Rick Nelson sing "Lonesome Town."

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.

As Brenda Lee's voice matured when she left her teen years, her commercial success on the pop chart faded. However, in 1973, she landed in the top 5 on the country chart with the single "Nobody Wins." It was the first of a string of six consecutive top 10 country hits. Brenda Lee's country chart success continued into the 1980s. She is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame. Lee also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Watch Brenda Lee sing "Sweet Nothin's."

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 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.

As an adult, Paul Anka's popularity faded through the rest of the 1960s. However, in 1974, he made a compelling pop comeback. His single "(You're) Having My Baby" went to #1 on the pop chart. It was Anka's first #1 since "Lonely Boy" fifteen years earlier. He followed the hit with three more top 10 smashes over the next two years. "Love Never Felt So Good," a song that Paul Anka wrote with Michael Jackson in 1983, became a posthumous top 10 pop hit for Jackson in 2014.

Watch Paul Anka sing "Lonely Boy." 

Stevie Wonder (1963-1970)

Stevie Wonder
Photo by John D. Kisch / Getty Images

While Stevie Wonder's music released in the 1970s remains among the most celebrated pop and R&B music of all 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."

As an adult, Stevie Wonder changed the landscape of American R&B music. His albums "Talking Book," "Innervisions," and "Songs in the Key of Life" are legendary as well as the songs "Superstition," "Sir Duke," "I Wish," and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" among others. He has earned 25 Grammy Awards and sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Watch Stevie Wonder perform "Fingertips."

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." Donny Osmond had three more top 10 solo hits and two top 10 duets with sister Marie by the time he turned 20 in 1977.  Donny Osmond was arguably the most prominent teen pop star of the decade in the 1970s.

After the "Donny and Marie" TV variety show ended in 1979, Donny Osmond set about restructuring his image as an adult performer for the new decade. He appeared on Broadway in 1982 in a revival of George M. Cohan's "Little Johnny Jones." Osmond returned to the pop charts late in the decade with 1989's #2 charting pop smash "Soldier of Love." In the 1990s he received critical acclaim appearing in over 2,000 performances of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." He continues to be a popular celebrity and won "Dancing With the Stars" in 2009.

Watch Donny Osmond sing "Puppy Love."

Rihanna (2005-2008)

Rihanna. Photo by Jason Kempin / FilmMagic

After decades without a durable teen pop star on the pop charts, a 17-year-old girl from Barbados named Rihanna danced her way onto 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."

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. By age 30, Rihanna had 31 top 10 hit singles and a phenomenal 14 that went all the way to #1. Her worldwide sales total exceeds 230 million. 

Watch Rihanna sing "Pon de Replay."

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. Six of his nine studio albums have reached the top 3 on the album chart. A shift toward European-oriented dance music resulted in 2012's top 10 pop hit singles "Turn Up the Music" and "Don't Wake Me Up." He is one of the top 10 selling digital singles artists of all time.

Watch Chris Brown sing "Run It!"

Miley Cyrus (2007-2012)

Miley Cyrus
Photo by John Shearer / WireImage

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." Miley followed up with four more top 10 pop hits and another #1 charting album before she turned 20. 

"Bangerz," Miley Cyrus' first album as an adult artist, was both a phenomenal hit and source of intense controversy. Sexually explicit content in the music and a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards alarmed many observers. However, it didn't stop the song "We Can't Stop" from reaching #2 on the pop singles chart and "Wrecking Ball" going all the way to #1. Miley Cyrus' 2017 studio album "Younger Now" returned her to the top 10 on the pop singles chart for the first time in four years with the single "Malibu."

Watch Miley Cyrus sing "See You Again."

Justin Bieber (2009-2014)

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

One of the first pop artists to gain their big break by posting amateur videos to YouTube was Canadian teen star, Justin Bieber. He earned 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."

After a string of negative tabloid headlines over public "bad behavior," many observers believed Justin Bieber's days as a pop star were over. In 2015, he climbed back into the pop top 10 for the first time in over two years singing the lead vocal on "Where Are U Now" by dance music DJs Skrillex and Diplo. It was followed by "What Do You Mean?," a #1 charting smash from Bieber's upcoming album "Purpose." By the time the smoke cleared, "Purpose" spun off three #1 hit singles and was certified three times platinum in the U.S. Justin Bieber's success has continued unabated since. In 2017, his added vocals helped Luis Fonsi's Spanish-language "Despacito" spend 16 weeks at #1 on the U.S. pop singles chart tying an all-time record.

Watch Justin Bieber sing "One Time."

Shawn Mendes (2014 - 2018)

Shawn Mendes
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

For most observers of the U.S. pop music scene, the chances of another Canadian male teenager following in the footsteps of Justin Bieber would seem slim, but in 2015, that is what Shawn Mendes did. Like Bieber, he first gained a following by posting clips of himself performing on social media. Mendes used the application Vine. His audience was large enough that his debut single "Life of the Party" reached the pop top 30 based solely on sales. Mainstream pop radio ignored the song.

In 2015, Shawn Mendes' first album "Handwritten" debuted at #1 on the album chart. When pop radio finally woke up to the young artist, the single "Stitches" went all the way to the top 5. In 2016, Mendes' second album went to #1, and he has returned to the top 10 on the pop singles chart two more times. 

Watch Shawn Mendes sing "Stitches."