It’s time to go down memory lane. The last three decades have blessed us with talented women who work together to bring us sounds that last a lifetime. Here are 15 girl groups that became powerhouses in the music industry.
Let’s start with the most obvious choice. No set of women has made the cultural impact that the Spice Girls made and left behind. Their first two studio albums, Spice and Spice World, are two works of art that I can finish from start to listen. And it’s heartbreaking how short-lived their career was. What’s even more devastating is how averse some are in reuniting for another record.
Even though Victoria Beckham shared a photo of the ladies coming together, she was quick to crush any hope of new music. When you’re a fashion icon, married to one of the hottest men alive, and enjoying family life, why would you want to live in the glories of your past? However, the fivesome has confirmed they are in talks to voice an animated superhero movie based on their Spice Girls’ personas. It’s fascinating considering how awful their last film turned out for them. Now, doing motion pictures is what they’re set to do.
It’s pointless to speculate how the untimely passing of Left Eye affected TLC’s success in the succeeding years. Could she have reversed the lukewarm reception of their follow-ups? They have nothing to prove as they remain to be the best selling girl group from the USA. To top it all off, “No Scrubs” remains a staple offering from DJs in their R&B setlists.
In June 2017, Chilli and T-Boz released TLC’s fifth and final studio album. I’m not inclined to believe it’s the last. I want them to be lying. The funding for its production was generated from a Kickstart campaign that met its target within 48 hours. The donors range from fans to celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry. Most people have not heard the duo’s latest effort. But considering the general public financed it, it’s a failed investment they can live with.
Having gone through multiple iterations with the composition of Destiny’s Child members, it’s impressive how they reached greater heights with each new permutation. Breaking up was an inevitability. But since they did it on amicable terms, a reunion from time to time was something the fans could count on. I was thrilled to see them back for Destiny Fulfilled, and it spawned one of my favorites from the trio, “Lose My Breath.”
Initially, Kelly Rowland enjoyed the most success as a solo artist with her participation in Nelly’s “Dilemma.” But I got to learn it was a fluke, and so was the reception for Beyonce’s “Work It Out.” Now, Beyonce rules the entire industry. In the last few years, they’ve shown up on each other’s records, live performances, and music videos. My only plea is that they do not let 2013’s “Nuclear” be the last single they record together.
It’s been more than a decade since The Pussycat Dolls broke out. For perspective on just how big they were, Rihanna was the group’s opening act in the UK when they did the PCD Tour. Compared to other girl groups, I always felt their chemistry was manufactured and that only a record label was keeping them together. I’m sure that’s the case for most. But in my head, that perception resonated the strongest with them.
No amount of sales can control the egos that clashed, and Nicole’s role as the solo lead was at the center of their fight. In the end, everyone, including Nicole, had a hard time making their solo ventures successful. Now, it seems they are willing to put all the scars behind. At the end of 2017, there have been speculations they will reunite for new music. Responding to the clamor from fans, they’ve just released “React.”
After Camila Cabello left, it was only a matter of time until the remaining members went their separate ways. Recent news confirmed this theory. And it’s crazy how I just watched them live last February 2018! Even though I was expecting it, the headline still hurts. I guess adjusting expectations do not shield you from the pain. But I digress. It’s a disappointment, considering they are the most successful talent to come out of X Factor USA, and one of the only few to break out of a talent competition.
In the future, say until 2023, I don’t expect them to get back together. Camila Cabello just scored a number one hit with Havana. The rest are just beginning to explore the music industry on their own. The moment they all hit a wall at the same time is when we will expect them to reunite and forget about the fallen mannequin at the VMAs.
Just like their contemporary Fifth Harmony, Little Mix is also a product of a reality singing competition. This time, it’s the original version of The X-Factor. Unlike their counterparts, Little Mix won the eighth installment of the franchise. I believe they keep getting better with each material they release. Am I the only one who thought “Black Magic” and “Touch” are pieces of evidence they are at the top of their game? Until another girl group comes into our radar, I guess Little Mix has the girl power demographic all to themselves.
I have not heard much about fighting within the group. It’s an indication their honeymoon lasts longer. Now on their fifth studio album, their longevity is quite an accomplishment, given how short-lived most groups stay together and how relevant they continue to be.
Nothing is more iconic than Natasha Hamilton dancing to the “Tide is High” while sporting a baby bump. You can even spot it in the thumbnail! For that alone, the group deserves recognition. Personally, I am averse to remakes, including the trio’s cover of “Eternal Flame.” But I must admit, “Tide is High” is impressive.
Unlike Destiny’s Child that stabilized once the third configuration was in place, Atomic Kitten continues to evolve, even to this day. There have been talks of Atomic Kitten performing again. However, that would come after Kerry Katona announced her departure from the group (the second time it has happened!) The duo is now just made up of Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon. Will they recruit a new member or get a former member to join them yet again?
The Sugababes had a commercially successful career in the UK. But they also had a crazy amount of reorganization. All original members ended up being replaced. Heidi Range, who joined the group in 2001, was originally from Atomic Kitten. I barely noticed the shake-ups. I look at my ignorance positively. Maybe because it was always about their music.
The original members of the Sugababes have now reunited. “Mutya Keisha Siobhan” is the catchy name they selected for this new team. Their comeback was slated a few years back. Besides their debut single “Flatline” being released in 2013, there has not been much progress. However, the trio continues to reinforce they are still together.
The monologue of Shaznay in “Never Ever” is iconic. It’s a badge karaoke fanatics wear on their sleeves if they manage to recite it correctly. And the hooks of both “Pure Shores” and “Bootie Call” are on fire. I remember voting for the latter in a local radio music countdown. But just like most artists in this article, good things come to an end. They eventually split.
Earlier in the 2010s, Melanie Blatt was quoted saying the group will never get back together. Since then, they have performed several times, including supporting the Backstreet Boys and Take That on their respective tours. They also released an album in 2016. Supposedly, they are now in the process of recording their fifth studio album.
I’ve always pictured B*Witched as kids. It’s kind of like how it’s hard to imagine Hanson members as adults. This is as kid-like as a girl group can come. They use lines from children’s fairy tales as lyrics. Am I the only one who remembers, “I’ll huff, I’ll puff, I’ll blow you away?” It’s easy to dismiss their material as silly. But do not forget their first four singles all hit number one in the United Kingdom – “C’est La Vie,” “Rollercoaster,” “To You I Belong,” and “Blame It on the Weatherman.”
Eventually, they split. But where have the members been? After researching, I found out they have released a new song in 2013 entitled “Love and Money,” and an EP in 2014, Champagne or Guinness. Honestly, I have not given it a listen. I don’t know if their new output is as catchy as their original releases. Maybe I’ll give it a try one day.
Growing up, the music of Honeyz was inescapable. MTV put “Finally Found” and “End of the Line” on heavy rotation. I felt so connected to the latter, which was weird, considering I’ve experienced none of it then.
In terms of reach, Honeyz were nothing compared to the Spice Girls or Destiny’s Child. Naturally, news that up to five people have taken a role in the group hasn’t reached many households. Some former members include Mariama Goodman, previously associated with Solid Harmonie, and Heavenli Denton, a person who has quit the band three times. Recently, they joined the reality TV series The Big Reunion, alongside Five, 911, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Blue and Liberty X. The show focuses on the bands who made it big in the 90s and early 2000s. They perform together for the first time in concerts that showcase their comeback. They’ve released a song since but have not had much traction after.
When I was a kid, I remember dancing to “I’ll Be There for You” for either a field demo or a church event. I’m unsure which one, but I am sure I’m embarrassed at the thought of it. More than cringing at the thought of jamming along to one of their most successful singles (maybe the only one), I can’t believe I found nothing wrong with the spelling of the group’s name. It’s just the ultimate throwback of how cool misspellings used to be, and how much time has changed.
Apparently, they have reunited. In 2014, Sold Harmonie had a comeback single entitled “Circus.” None of us have heard it. To be fair, not everyone remembers Solid Harmonie.
Before Little Mix and Fifth Harmony came out of X-Factor, Girls Aloud was already the product of a reality singing competition, Popstars: The Rivals. It’s a disappointment that the tremendous success they amassed in the United Kingdom did not spill over to other parts of the globe. Even their inclusion in this list has little to do with my appreciation for their music. It’s paying respect where it’s due.
It hasn’t been that long since they formed and split (unless you count the three-year hiatus that began in 2009.) For sure, in time, they will find the time and energy to reconnect. I am willing to bet on it. The trend of reuniting among girl groups that split cannot be disputed.
En Vogue made it to mainstream consciousness way earlier than I had any consciousness at all. But their signature hits “Free Your Mind” and “Don’t Let Go (Love)” are some of the classics that all residents of this universe will one day be exposed to. The latter paved the way for one of my favorite battles from Team Alicia in a season of The Voice.
En Vogue released their first studio album in over 14 years. It’s a commercial disappointment. But for a group that has been in existence for close to three decades, charting successfully is a bonus.
As I am writing this piece, I began to realize how many of the girl groups that gained mainstream attention are products of reality TV shows. Making the Band was responsible for their breakout. Diddy signed them on. Maybe Danity Kane should have seen the writings on the wall as Diddy was also behind Dream, another girl group that disbanded. I wasn’t a fan of Danity Kane, but I knew a lot who were.
Girl group breakups and reunions have been messy. But rarely does it involve fights with physical violence (allegedly a punch in this instance.) Now they have gone from a fivesome to a foursome. The quarter became a threesome. Now, all that’s left are a twosome named “Dumblonde.” All of their solo careers have not made it big, which leads me to believe they will eventually reunite.