Girl Groups
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A girl group is a music act featuring several female singers who generally harmonize together. The term "girl group" is also used in a narrower sense in the United States to denote the wave of American female pop music singing groups, many of whom were influenced by doo-wop and which flourished in the late 1950s and early 1960s between the decline of early rock and roll and start of the British Invasion.

The 1960s yielded one of pop music's most enjoyable trends, the "girl group" phenomenon. Starting in the 1950s as a trickle represented by the Hearts, the Blossoms, the Joytones, the Clickettes, the Deltairs, the Quintones, the Chantels, and the Bobbettes, it became a flood of groups in the 1960s, including the Shirelles, the Chiffons, the Shangri-Las, the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Angels, Reparata and the Delrons, the Exciters, the Cookies, the Supremes, the Marvelettes, and Patti Labelle and the Blue Belles
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1950s Girl Groups

Bobbettes

Bonnie Sisters

Chantels

Chordettes

Click-ettes

Cookies

Deltairs

Delltones

Hearts

Joytones

Miller Sisters

Etta James/Peaches

Poni-Tails

Queens

Quintones
Rosebuds
Sharmeers
Socialites
Shirelles
Teen Queens
Tonettes


1960s Girl Groups

Andantes
Angels
Blue Belles
Chiffons
Crystals
Delrons
Dixie Cups

Exciters

Ikettes

Jaynetts

Jelly Beans

Marvelettes

Murmaids

Orlons

Paris Sisters

Pixies Three

Raindrops

Ronettes

Shangri-las

Starlets

Supremes

Toys

Vandellas

Velvelettes


Minor Girl Groups


Avons

Butteflys

Bunnies/Goodies

Candy and the Kisses

Charmettes

Darlettes

Dixiebells

Donays


Pearlettes

Royalettes

Secrets


Sherrys


Teardrops


Veneers

Back-Up Groups


Blossoms

Honeys

Shamettes

Tammys

Young Sisters

In the late 1950s, a number of female vocal groups began to produce songs that mixed doo wop harmonies with rhythm and blues music. The groups were usually trios or quartets in which one vocalist sang a lead part while the others contributed a background vocal. This arrangement became known as the "girl group" sound, and it flourished during the early 1960s. Girl groups were a constant presence on the Billboard pop charts in 1962 to 1965, but, by 1965 the popularity of this sound was waning as it was eclipsed by other musical trends. Although girl groups were only successful for a short time, their sound influenced many of their musical contemporaries, and it continues to have an impact on performers today

The girl group era represents an important part of the early days of rock and roll as well as the history of women in popular music. The emergence of the girl groups marked a turning point for women in rock and roll, for it established a specific style of performing that listeners associated with women.

The girl group sound was the result of a collaborative effort that involved producers, songwriters, instrumentalists, and manager, in addition to the women who sang the songs. Each of these persons, particularly, the producer, were significant in determining a particular group's success or failure.

Some rock historians would argue because of their lack of autonomy, the girl groups were largely interchangeable and would not have succeeded without the guidance of others.. This assessment overlooks the facts that the performers who made up the girl groups were generally very young, most were in their teens and early twenties, which put them at a great disadvantage in terms of artistic control. Female artists were rarely taken seriously by those who ran the music industry in the fifties and sixties, and the girl groups were undoubtedly viewed simply as vehicles for hit songs rather than creative, talented individuals.

Many of the groups' careers consisted of establishing a formula that enabled them to hit the Top Forty and repeating that formula until it ceased to be successful. For this reason, few groups were able to capture the attention of the listening public for more than two or three years. Most of the teen magazines and television variety shows that helped publicized male performers virtually ignored the girl groups, limiting the amount of exposure that they could achieve.. Most of the best known girl groups were black, and the racism and the sexism that were prevalent within the music industry virtually ensured that these groups would; have limited life spans. Because media coverage of the groups was minimal, the artists had to rely solely upon the songs to maintain their popularity. If a producer insisted that a girl group record songs resembling the tune that had been their initial success, the public would predictably son grow tired of the group. And once the public's interest waned, the producer would abandon the group and move on to another project; this abandonment usually signaled the end of the group's career.

Since most groups lacked an image that could be connected with their music, audiences often received little or no information about the individuals who made up the particular group. Girl group artists were generally identified by their group name alone, and the membership of any given group often changed from one record to the next. Producers occasionally used unnamed session or backup vocalists to sing under the name of a successful group, and some groups recorded under more than one name. When the girl group era more or less came to an end in the mid 60s, must of the artists who were still actively pursuing musical careers faded into obscurity. although a number of groups continued to perform in following decades, often singing in oldies revival shows, their whereabouts are largely unknown. while the story of the performers, producers, songwriters, and others who came to manufacture the girl group sound, it is also a snapshot of a specific time period in which individuals who have been for the most part have been forgotten helped change the direction of popular music.

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