Girl group

The equivalent of boy bands, but as the name implies featuring a group of female rather than male singers.

Early Girl Groups

Whilst exact definitions are of course arbitrary, it can be argued that the girl bands have a considerably longer history than boy bands, dating back to the late 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, when they were often manufactured by producers or record companies as a vehicle for the latest work by their resident songwriters, such as the work of Phil Spector and the early days of Motown (when they were usually called "Girl Groups"). The sound of many of these early Girl Groups was typified by the products of Spector's Wall Of Sound production: A thick layer of intrumentation (drums, guitar, bass, a horn section and often something more exotic, such as glockenspiel) with a lead vocal, often deliberately girlish in tone, singing deceptively simple, naive lyrics which, uniquely for an art form at the time, eloquently expressed the emotions of teenagers of the time. (A case in point being The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", which doubles as both a charming love song and, implicitly, a portrayal of adolescent sexual mores). Other groups (for example, those from New York City, used more conventional pop music arrangements, while the Motown groups used typical driving Motown arrangements of the period.

Elsewhere, groups like this time, they were sometimes used in duets with the popular all-male soul vocal groups of the time. By the mid-late 1960s, in the face of the British Invasion and with the increase in sophistication of popular music instigated by The Beatles and Bob Dylan, their popularity began to wane with only a few (e.g. Martha and the Vandellas) making the transition to an earthier, soulful sound and some continued success.

Later Girl Groups

Occasionally, the term is used to describe a conventional rock group in which all the members are female and who write, arrange, and perform all their own material. These might best be referred to as all-women bands. Earlier girl groups almost always had all-male bands backing them up, so the distinction of girl group really only applied to the vocalists.

The popularity of girl groups has waxed and waned since then, and their sounds have changed as they adopt (and occasionally help define in the popular imagination) the musical fashions of the period. In the early 1980s The Go-Gos, had an excellent reputation as a live rock band, as well as an enthusiasm for on tour debauchery to equal any of their male counterparts, whereas the 1990s saw a return to manufactured, packaged acts marketed as clean-cut and aimed at a young audience. As of 2001, such boy bands and girl bands are very popular.

List of girl groups List of all-women bands

See also: Boy band


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