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Girl groups like Destiny’s Child, Fifth Harmony, Blackpink and the Spice Girls have given us some of the biggest hits, most memorable moments and iconic solo stars, but what are the classic girl group components that make them so popular, and what are their origins?
Girl groups started back in the 1960s, with bands like The Andrews Sisters, The Chordettes and Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles delivering a distinct mix of gospel, R&B, doowop and pop. Their popularity exploded following the release of The Shirelles‘ 1960 hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and The Marvelettes‘ “Please Mr. Postman” in 1961.
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The Supremes carried the torch through the 1960s with 12 No. 1 on the Hot 100s, before passing it on to rock-inspired groups like The Runaways in the 1970s. By the 1990s, the golden era of girl groups was upon us, thanks to bands like En Vogue, Xscape, SWV and TLC. Even country had a popular girl group, The Chicks, who have tied The Supremes for the most No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 among all female groups.
Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child led the 2000s into an explosion of R&B and pop girl groups that included 3LW, Danity Kane, The Pussycat Dolls, Fifth Harmony and Little Mix. Most recently, the K-pop phenomenon led to the rise of successful girl groups including Girls’ Generation, TWICE and Blackpink.
As Billboard host Tetris Kelly states, the girls’ distinct and relatable personalities and their lively anthems have allowed them to stand the test of time and remain prominent in pop culture.
Watch the latest episode of Billboard Explains above to learn more about the evolution of girl groups.
After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains videos and learn about the BBMAs, NFTs, SXSW, the magic of boy bands, American Music Awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Hot 100 chart, how R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the U.S., how festivals book their lineups, Billie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battles, nonbinary awareness in music, the Billboard Music Awards, the Free Britney movement, rise of K-pop in the U.S., why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albums, the boom of hit all-female collaborations, how Grammy nominees and winners are chosen, why songwriters are selling their publishing catalogs, how the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and why Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” was able to shoot to No. 1 on the Hot 100.