10 Kick-Ass Girl Groups That Redefined Girl Power

Boy bands are great. And yes we do love swooning over them — old and new. But music isn’t an all boys club. So, in honor of the badass ladies kicking a cappella up a notch in the upcoming motion picture Pitch Perfect (it hits theaters Oct. 5), we decided to give it up to the ladies with a list of the best girl groups to grace the modern stage.

1. SPICE GIRLS With their quirky clothing, perky attitudes and infectious pop songs, we couldn’t start this list without highlight the biggest girl groups of all time: the Spice Girls. Dominating the charts and pop culture in the ’90s and then going on an indefinite hiatus in 2000, Geri, Emma, Mel B., Mel C. and Victoria came back together for a global reunion tour and brought “Girl Power” to the London 2012 Summer Olympics with a memorable performance at the Closing Ceremonies. 

2. THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS Originally a burlesque troupe founded by choreographer Robin Antin in 1995, The Pussycat Dolls went from dancers to a big pop act in 2003 with Nicole Scherzinger as the group’s leader. Known as one of the bestselling girl groups of all time, they sold 15 million albums and 37 million singles worldwide, which included hits like “Don’t Cha,” “Buttons” and “When I Grow Up.” Although they’ve worked with some pop and hip-hop heavyweights, including Snoop Dogg and Timbaland, The Pussycat Dolls will be the first to say (or sing) that they’re independent women.

3. THE DONNAS Like The Runaways and Sleater-Kinney, The Donnas prove that women know how to rock as much as the guys do. Known for their old-school rock-and-roll sound, the band broke into the mainstream with their single, “Take It Off,” which has been featured in films such as Dodgeball and The Hangover. With tongue-in-cheek lyrics and “don’t mess with me” attitudes, the Donnas were the girls we didn’t want to mess with, but secretly wanted to be.

4. DESTINY’S CHILD The spotlight may now be permanently fixed on Beyoncé — and Blue Ivy — but we can’t forget her big break to stardom in Destiny’s Child. Despite lineup changes and some family drama, they taught us how to be survivors, how tell him to pay his dues and that sometimes it’s nice to spoil your man. And if that’s not enough, they created buzz words, too!

5. SALT-N-PEPA At a time when female rappers were thought to be a fad, Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and Deidra Roper, otherwise known as Salt-n-Pepa, know they had the gift to take hip-hop world and turn it on its head. Jumping onto the scene in 1985, the trio have released a slew of hits, including “Shoop,” “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Push It,” which sparked a bit of a dance craze. They also joined forces with R&B songstresses En Vogue to release “Whatta Man” at the end of 1993. The band eventually broke up in 2002 but reformed in the mid-2000s.

6. EN VOGUE Soulful lyrics blended into pitch-perfect harmonies, it was no wonder En Vogue were one of the most successful female groups in the ’90s. Funky Divas, which turned 20 earlier this year, was the band’s biggest hit and went multiplatinum. Songs like “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” “Free Your Mind” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” presented them as strong women who knew what they – and how to get it. In 1996, En Vogue lent “Don’t Let Go (Love)” to the Set It Off soundtrack, which became their biggest hit yet. En Vogue still perform today, though the group has struggled with in-fighting and a few casting changes.

7. TLC When TLC’s first album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip was released in 1992, their crazy colorful outfits adorned in wrapped condoms caught people’s attention, but their sound held it there. Not only did they write songs about getting with they guy they’ve been eyeing, but TLC tackled issues such as body image (“Unpretty”), societal ills (“Waterfalls”) and overcoming pain (“Damaged”). The trio released three studio albums before Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes died in a car crash. Their fourth and final album, 3D , debuted on Nov. 12, 2002, six months after Lopes’ death.

8. SWV Who knew a song that about telling a crush that he makes you melt would be a hit? Obviously SWV did. The trio formed in 1990 as a gospel group, only to discover their R&B style and release a bunch of hit songs including “You’re the One,” “Right Here/Human Nature” and “Weak”. SWV released three studio albums and one Christmas record before disbanding in 1998. They recently got back together and released I Missed Us in May.

9. ALL SAINTS While they may not have conquered the US in the same way the Spice Girls did, All Saints’ self-titled album was a platinum-selling hit. And “Never Ever” as well as “I Know Where It’s At” rose on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their cool, fluid harmonies mixed with the band’s sexy tomboy street style made them a staple on everyone’s playlist in the late ’90s.

10. WILSON PHILLIPS With their self-titled debut album selling 10 million copies and three #1 hit songs, Wilson Phillips were the most successful girl group of the early ’90s. Sure, they’re not the epitome of edge, and their songs top many all-time karaoke go-to lists. But no other girl group ever had the chance to rock it out alongside Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids.

What is your favorite girl group of all time? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.