The Greatest Girl Groups Of All Time
Some of history’s most popular and successful anthems have been sung by all-female groups. Whether it’s “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, or “Stop! In The Name of Love” by the Supremes, these songs made a huge impact on their fans. Many of these girl groups paved the way for other women to not only shine on stage but also to dominate the charts. There are even quite a few record breakers in the following list…
Destiny’s Child Is One Of R&B’s Most Influential Girl Groups
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Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, and LeToya Luckett formed Destiny’s Child in the mid-’90s. They rose to fame the following year with hits such as “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name.” Michelle Williams replaced Roberson and Luckett in 2000. Their album Survivor was a hit, with singles “Independent Women,” “Survivor” and “Bootylicious.”
They took a three-year hiatus before releasing their fourth and final album. The group sold more than 60 million records worldwide. They were nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, winning two. They are considered one of the most influential girl groups in R&B music and one of history’s greatest girl groups.
The Spice Girls Were Second Only To The Beatles In England
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Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) formed the Spice Girls in 1994. The English singers became global superstars after their 1996 release, “Wannabe,” hit number one in nearly 40 countries.
Their first album, Spice, became the top-selling album by a female group (31 million copies were sold). They are the best-selling female group of all time. In their native England, their success has only been matched by The Beatles. Known for promoting “girl power,” they are considered one of the ’90s top cultural icons.
This next band paved the way for girl groups of today.
The Pointer Sisters Are One Of Music’s Most Famous Sibling Groups
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Sisters June, Bonnie, Anita and Ruth Pointer first began performing together as a quartet in the early ’70s. They won a Grammy Award in 1975 for Best Country Vocal Performance for “Fairytale.” Bonnie left in 1978 to launch a solo career. Their fame skyrocketed in the ’80s, and they won two more Grammys for “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic.”
They had a total of 13 top-20 hits. June left the group in 2004 and died of cancer in 2006. Ruth’s daughter Issa Pointer replaced her. The group now includes Ruth’s granddaughter Sadako Pointer. They are considered one of the most successful female artists of all time.
The Go-Go’s Released One Of The World’s Most Successful Debut Albums
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The new wave band The Go-Go’s formed in Los Angeles in the late ’70s. They wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, making them a big hit in the ’80s. Their 1981 debut album, Beauty and the Beat, hit number one and stayed on top of the charts for six weeks.
Beauty and the Beat is one of the world’s most successful debut albums and includes the songs “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat.” The group disbanded in 1985 but got back together again on numerous occasions. A show about the group, Head Over Heels, is currently playing on Broadway.
The Bangles Defined ’80s Pop Rock
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Another popular all-girl band from the ’80s was The Bangles. Their hits include “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Manic Monday,” “Hazy Shade of Winter” and “Eternal Flame.” Founding members include Susanna Hoffs (vocals and rhythm guitar), Michael Steele (bass and vocals), Debbi Peterson (drums and vocals) and Vicki Peterson (guitar and vocals).
The band broke up in the late ’80s, but several of the members’ solo careers weren’t very successful. They reformed in 1998. While their recent projects can’t be matched to their ’80s success, they performed a song for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and a remake of “Eternal Flame” by Atomic Kitten hit number one in 2001.
Where would music be today without The Supremes?
The Supremes Are Motown Music Legends
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The Motown act the Supremes formed in the ’60s and originally featured Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Betty McGlown. They had 12 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, making them America’s most successful singing group. Their fame was only matched by The Beatles.
The Supremes’ popularity paved the way for other African-American R&B acts to achieve mainstream success. The group was renamed Diana Ross & the Supremes in 1967 but reverted back in 1970 when she left the group. They broke up in 1977. Hit songs include “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.”
An Album By TLC Is The Only Certified Diamond Record By A Girl Group
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Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas formed TLC in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1990. Their hit singles include “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty.” To this day, their album CrazySexyCool is the only one by a female group to be certified diamond.
They are the second best-selling girl group worldwide (number one is The Spice Girls). TLC received five Grammy Awards. Lopes died in Honduras in a car crash in 2002, and Watkins and Thomas elected not to replace her. They released their final album in 2017 but continue to perform as a duo.
Girls Aloud Are One Of The World’s Most Successful Reality TV Groups
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The British TV show, Popstars: The Rivals, led to the formation of English-Irish pop group Girls Aloud in 2002. Members include Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. They dominated the British charts with 20 top 10 singles, including four number-one singles.
Hits include “Sound of the Underground,” “No Good Advice” and “Love Machine.” In 2007 and 2011, Guinness World Records listed them as “Most Successful Reality TV Group.” They’re also considered the U.K.’s best-selling girl group of the 21st century. In 2010, they were featured in Britain’s richest stars under 30 list. The group broke up in 2013.
The Shirelles Launched The Girl Group Genre
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School friends Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie “Micki” Harris, and Beverly Lee formed The Shirelles in the late ’50s. Their first hit song was “Tonight’s the Night.” Many point to The Shirelles as ground zero for the girl group genre. They were notable because they attracted both black and white music fans.
The Shirelles were given the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. They are considered one of history’s best musical acts. Other hit songs include “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Dedicated to The One I Love.”
En Vogue Is One Of The Most Successful Female Groups Of All Time
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Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones formed the R&B/pop vocal group En Vogue in 1989. Some of their hit songs include “Hold On,” “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Free Your Mind” and “Don’t Let Go (Love).”
The group experienced a few changes in its membership over the years. En Vogue has sold more than 20 million records worldwide and received seven Grammy nominations as well as several other awards. They are considered one of the most successful female groups of all time. They released their seventh studio album in 2018.
Who knew this next group started out as a burlesque group?
The Pussycat Dolls Started Out As a Burlesque Group
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Choreographer Robin Antin formed the burlesque group the Pussycat dolls in 1995. They were transformed into a music group in 2003 and featured Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Melody Thornton, and Kimberly Wyatt. Their hit singles include “Don’t Cha,” “Buttons” and “Stickwitu.”
Scherzinger’s popularity caused strife within the group, and Bachar eventually left. The group disbanded in 2009. They sold 54 million records worldwide and are one of the world’s best-selling girl groups, despite only making two studio albums. “Don’t Cha” alone sold more than 3 million copies – making it the best-selling song of all time by a female group in the United States.
’80s Brit Band Bananarama Reconvened Its Original Lineup In 2017 & Continue To Tour
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Guinness World Records listed this group as the all-female band in the world with the most number of chart entries. Pals Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward formed the pop band Bananarama in London, England, in 1981. Thirty-two of their singles appeared on the Top 50 UK Singles chart between 1982 and 2009.
Their most recognizable songs include “It Ain’t What You Do…,” “Really Saying Something,” “Shy Boy,” “Cruel Summer,” “Robert De Niro’s Waiting…,” “Venus” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” They were part of MTV’s Second British invasion of the United States. Fahey left the group in 1988 but returned in 2017, and the trio continues to tour.
Little Mix Broke A Spice Girls Record
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Little Mix is another English girl group. They gained fame following their appearance during the eighth season of The X Factor in the United Kingdom. Little Mix was the first group to win the reality competition. Members include Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson.
Their debut album, DNA, was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom and the United States. They are credited with having the highest U.S. chart position for a British female band (topping even the Spice Girls). With their fourth album, Glory Days, Little Mix achieved the longest-reigning girl group number-one album in two decades.
Fifth Harmony Also Became Famous Due To The X Factor
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The founding members of Miami-based Fifth Harmony are Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui, and Camila Cabello (who left the group in 2016). They formed on the second season of the U.S. version of The X Factor in 2012. Much of their fame was fueled by social media.
Their hit songs include “Miss Movin’ On,” “Better Together,” “Boss,” “Sledgehammer” and “Worth It,” the last of which was certified triple platinum and was number one in 13 countries. Their first top-10 single was “Work From Home” — it was also the first top-five song by a girl group in 10 years.
Salt-N-Pepa Is A Pioneering Female Rap Group
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Salt-N-Pepa is one of the first all-female rap groups. Members are Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) and Deidra Roper (“DJ Spinderella”), who was just 15 years old when she replaced Latoya Hanson in 1987. In 1995 they won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
At a time when rap was known for misogynistic lyrics, Salt-N-Pepa took power over their sexuality and openly sang about sex and men in their music, including their hit song “Let’s Talk About Sex.” Other hits include “Push It” and “Shake Your Thing.” They continue to perform through the “I Love The ’90s tour.”
Wonder Girls Were The First South Korean Act To Enter The Billboard Hot 100
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“South Korea’s Retro Queens” the Wonder Girls have a ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s vibe. The group launched in 2006 through a TV show titled MTV Wonder Girls. They gained U.S. attention in 2009 as the opening act of the Jonas Brothers’ World Tour. Their first top-100 hit was “Nobody,” making them the first South Korean group to enter the chart.
They have dropped three studio albums. They embarked on their first U.S. tour in 2010 and later released an English-language album. They performed at the 2011 Special Olympics closing ceremonies in Athens, Greece. Their last English-language song was “Like Money,” featuring Akon. They disbanded in 2017.
2NE1 Was One Of K-Pop’s Most Successful Girl Groups
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The South Korean girl group 2NE1 formed in 2009 and gained fame after being featured in the song “Lollipop” by boy band Big Bang. Their hit songs include “Try to Follow Me,” “Go Away,” “Lonely,” “I Am the Best,” “Ugly,” “I Love You,” “Falling in Love,” “Missing You'” and “Come Back Home.”
The K-pop girl group also had a big following in Japan. They were one of South Korea’s most popular and successful girl groups, selling 66.5 million records. Member Minzy left the group in 2016, and the band split later that year. They released a final single, “Good Bye,” in 2017.
One Of Atomic Kitten’s Greatest Hits Is A Cover Of “Eternal Flame” By The Bangles
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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) members Andy McCluskey and Stuart Kershaw formed Atomic Kitten in Liverpool in 1998. They’ve had several member changes over the years. Their most popular song was “Whole Again,” which stayed at number one on the U.K. charts for four weeks. It was also the 13th best-selling single of the 2000s.
They’ve had two other number-one singles, including a cover of The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” and a cover of “The Tide is High (Get The Feeling),” by The Paragons. They’ve sold 10 million albums worldwide and currently exist as a duo with Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon.
A Popular Martha And The Vandellas Song Inspired David Bowie & Mick Jagger
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The Motown group Martha and the Vandellas was formed in 1957 with friends Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford, and Gloria Williams. Martha Reeves became lead vocalist after Williams’ left in 1962. Their hit songs include “Come and Get These Memories,” “Heat Wave,” “Quicksand,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Jimmy Mack” and “Dancing in the Street.”
They had 26 hits on the charts in various genres — doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and roll, and soul. “Heat Wave” stuck at number one on the R&B singles chart for five weeks and resulted in their first and only Grammy nomination. Van Halen, David Bowie and Mick Jagger famously covered their song “Dancing in the Street.”
All Saints Had The Second Best-Selling Girl Group Single Following The Spice Girls
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Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis, and Simone Rainford formed All Saints 18.104.22.168. in 1993 in London. Sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton took Rainford’s place in 1996, and their name was shortened to All Saints. Their eponymous debut album is the U.K.’s third-best selling girl group album.
Their song “Never Ever” is the second best-selling girl group single behind the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.” Other hit songs include “Pure Shores” and “Black Coffee.” They split in 2001, reformed in 2006, and split again in 2009. They reformed in 2014 for several performances and released a fourth album in 2016. They dropped their fifth album in 2018.