Top 20 Girl Groups of All Time

Supremes. Photo by David Farrell / Redferns
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1937 - Andrews Sisters

Andrews Sisters
Andrews Sisters. Photo by American Stock Archive

The three Andrews Sisters Patty, Maxene, and Laverne laid the groundwork for all of the girl groups that followed. Their careers date back to the era of vaudeville. After a series of hit songs, they toured extensively to entertain allied military forces during World War II. The trio continued to be popular through the rest of the decade of the 1940s. In the 1950s, Patty decided to pursue a solo career, and the Andrews Sisters officially broke up in 1953.

Watch "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

Key Songs

  • "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"
  • "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon"
  • "Rum and Coca Cola"
  • "I Can Dream, Can't I?"
  • "I Wanna Be Loved"
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1957 - Martha and the Vandellas

Martha and the Vandellas
Martha and the Vandellas. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

The group that became Martha and the Vandellas first formed in 1957 by a group of three friends. Martha Reeves joined later and in 1962, she became the lead vocalist for the group. After signing to Motown in 1962, the group's career took off. Their second single "Heatwave" was a smash climbing to #4 on the pop chart and topping the R&B chart. Martha and the Vandellas became one of Motown's most consistently successful vocal groups of the 1960s. After infighting in the group and Motown's focus on other recording acts, the group's commercial success faded in the 1970s. Martha Reeves left the group in 1974. In 1995 Martha and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Watch "Dancing In the Street"

Key Songs

  • "Dancing In the Street"
  • "Heatwave"
  • "Nowhere To Run"
  • "Jimmy Mack"
  • "Quicksand"
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1957 - Shirelles

Shirelles. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images

The Shirelles were founded as a vocal group for a talent show in 1957 under the name Poquellos. Rock and roll pioneer Florence Greenberg met with the group and signed them to her label Tiara Records. The Shirelles "I Met Him on a Sunday" was the first record released on the fledgling label. When Greenberg sold the group's contract to Decca Records for $4,000, she formed her label Scepter. After two singles did poorly for Decca, they sold the contract back to Florence Greenberg, and the Shirelles became stars on the Scepter label. In 1961, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" became the first #1 pop hit single by an African-American girl group. It was also an early success for the songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The Shirelles were one of the top vocal groups of the early 1960s, but their popularity faded with the arrival of the British Invasion. In 1996 the Shirelles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Watch "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"

Key Songs

  • "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
  • "Soldier Boy"
  • "Dedicated To the One I Love"
  • "Mama Said"
  • "Baby It's You"
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1959 - Supremes

Supremes. Photo by David Farrell / Redferns

The Supremes, the most successful girl group of all time, formed in the Detroit housing projects in 1959 under the name the Primettes, a sister act to the male vocal group the Primes. Florence Ballard recruited her best friend Mary Wilson for the group, and Mary Wilson recruited Diana Ross. The Primettes failed to be signed after their first audition with Motown Records in 1960. Finally, after the group persisted in efforts to be signed, Motown head Berry Gordy offered them a contract in January 1961. He insisted they change their name to one of a group of suggestions. The Supremes were born. For their first three years at Motown, the Supremes failed to have any major hits. Finally in December 1963 they broke into the top 40, and in 1964 they released "Where Did Our Love Go," the group's first #1 pop smash. By the time of Diana Ross' departure from the group at the end of the 1960s, the Supremes had a dozen #1 pop hits, more than any group but the Beatles. The Supremes failed to gain significant commercial success without Diana Ross in the 1970s. In 1988, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Watch "Stop In the Name Of Love"

Key Songs

  • "Stop In the Name of Love"
  • "Where Did Our Love Go"
  • "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
  • "Someday We'll Be Together"
  • "Baby Love"
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1973 - Pointer Sisters

Pointer Sisters
Pointer Sisters. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images

The Pointer Sisters, made up of real life sisters, first came together in the early 1970s in Oakland, California. They originally recorded in a style that was a throwback to classic jazz. They earned both critical and commercial acclaim. In 1977, June and Bonnie Pointer left the group leaving Ruth and Anita as a duo. They signed with producer Richard Perry, June was persuaded back to the group and the Bruce Springsteen cover "Fire" became a smash hit in 1979. They continued the success with the #2 charting hit "Slow Hand" in 1981. The Pointer Sisters' most sustained success came with four consecutive top 10 hits in 1984. Commercial success faded later in the decade, but the Pointer Sisters continue to perform live.

Watch "Slow Hand"

Key Songs

  • "Slow Hand"
  • "Fire"
  • "Jump (For My Love)"
  • "Automatic"
  • "I'm So Excited"
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1978 - The Go-Go's

The Go-Go's. Photo by George Rose / Hulton Archive

The Go-Go's came together as a punk band in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. The group's debut single "We Got the Beat" drew attention in dance clubs and found success as an import in the UK. With the release of their album Beauty and the Beat, the Go-Go's became the first all-female band to write their own songs and play their own instruments on a #1 charting album. The Go-Go's earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist and "We Got the Beat" became a top 10 smash hit. The group broke up in 1985, but they have reunited multiple times since. Lead singer Belinda Carlisle went on to have her own successful solo career.

Watch "We Got the Beat"

Key Songs

  • "We Got the Beat"
  • "Vacation"
  • "Head Over Heels
  • "Our Lips Are Sealed"
  • "Turn To You"
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1979 - Bananarama

Bananarama. Photo by Rob Verhorst / Redferns

Bananarama came together at the end of the 1970s when childhood friends Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward met Siobhan Fahey while studding fashion journalism in London. They were all devotees of the punk rock scene. Bananarama recorded their first demo with the help of Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook. Bananarama scored in the UK with the 1982 top 5 smash "Shy Boy" and a hit cover of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." Then US success finally came in 1984 when "Cruel Summer" was included in the soundtrack for The Karate Kid. Bananarama's biggest international success came in the mid-1980s when their 1986 cover of "Venus" became a #1 smash in the US, and the trio followed it with the top five hit "I Heard a Rumour."

Watch "Venus"

Key Songs

  • "Venus"
  • "I Heard a Rumour"
  • "Cruel Summer"
  • "Shy Boy"
  • "Love In the First Degree"
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1981 - The Bangles

The Bangles. Photo by Suzie Gibbons / Redferns

The Bangles formed in 1981 in Los Angeles as part of the Paisley Underground scene of groups playing 1960s-influenced rock music. After a series of single releases and an EP with little commercial success, the Bangles were signed to major label Columbia Records. The single "Going Down To Liverpool," with a music video featuring Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy, broke into the UK pop singles chart. It paved the way for the single "Manic Monday," a song given to the group by Prince. It became their first top 10 smash. They followed it with the #1 hit "Walk Like an Egyptian." By the late 1980s artistic differences and interpersonal difficulties pulled the group apart. Later reunions resulted in two additional studio albums.

Watch "Walk Like an Egyptian"

Key Songs

  • "Walk Like an Egyptian"
  • "Manic Monday"
  • "Eternal Flame"
  • "Hazy Shade of Winter"
  • "In Your Room"
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1984 - Expose

Expose. Photo by Jason Davis / Getty Images

Expose came together in 1984 when Miami DJ Lewis Martinee decided to put together a freestyle dance-music-based vocal group. The first single "Point Of No Return" became a #1 dance hit. Expose then became the first group to score four top 10 hits from their debut album capped by the #1 pop smash "Seasons Change." Despite their phenomenal streak of seven consecutive top 10 hits, Expose were dropped from their recording contract in 1995. The group came back together in 2010 to record new music.

Watch "Seasons Change"

Key Songs

  • "Seasons Change"
  • "Come Go With Me"
  • "Point Of No Return"
  • "Let Me Be The One"
  • "I'll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me"
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1989 - En Vogue

En Vogue
En Vogue. Photo by Paul Natkin / Getty Images Archive

En Vogue was formed when producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy developed the idea of putting together a contemporary R&B girl group in the tradition of the 1950s and 1960s golden era of the girl groups. After holding auditions in 1988, they put together En Vogue and the debut album Born To Sing was released in 1990. The debut single "Hold On" was a #1 smash. By the end of the decade En Vogue had received seven Grammy Award nominations and released six top 10 pop hit singles. The group's commercial success faded after the 1990s but they continue to perform live and record new music.

Watch "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"

Key Songs

  • "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)"
  • "Hold On"
  • "Free Your Mind"
  • "Giving Him Something He Can Feel"
  • "Don't Let Go (Love)"
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1991 - TLC

TLC. Photo by Tim Roney / Hulton Archive

In 1990, Atlanta, Georgia producer Ian Burke and teenager Crystal Jones came up with the idea for an R&B girl group with hip hop attitude to be a counterpoint to the male trio Bell Biv Devoe. Crystal Jones recruited two members to join her, but ultimately R&B singer Pebbles expressed an interest in only two of the members, Lisa Lopes and Tionne Watkins. Pebbles replaced Crystal Jones with Rozonda Thomas and TLC was born. The group's debut album was successful and included three top 10 pop hits. The followup CrazySexyCool was even bigger containing the #1 smash singles "Creep" and "Waterfalls." Following the success of the third studio album FanMail, the group took a break to pursue other projects. Tragically, Lisa Lopes died in a car accident in Honduras in April 2002. The remaining two members soldiered on with the 2002 album 3D. However, subsequent efforts have failed to meet with significant commercial success. With music from their first four albums, TLC earned 17 Grammy Award nominations and won five.

Watch "Waterfalls"

Key Songs

  • "Waterfalls"
  • "Creep"
  • "No Scrubs"
  • "Unpretty"
  • "Red Light Special"
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1996 - Spice Girls

Spice Girls
Spice Girls. Photo by Dave Hogan / Hulton Archive

The five-member girl group Spice Girls was put together in the mid-1990s as an answer to such successful boy bands as Take That. The band was initially named Touch, but the group began disgruntled with their management's musical direction and parted ways. They renamed themselves Spice Girls and had a massive debut hit in 1996 with "Wannabe." They embarked on a string of six consecutive #1 pop hits in the UK. "Wannabe" also reached #1 in the US and the next two singles broke into the top five. Spice Girls were not only popular for their music but also for their fashion and message of "girl power." By the end of 2000, Spice Girls announced a hiatus. All of the members embarked on solo careers with varying levels of success. The group reunited in 2007 to record one more UK pop hit. 

Watch "Wannabe"

Key Songs

  • "Wannabe"
  • "2 Become 1"
  • "Say You'll Be There"
  • "Too Much"
  • "Stop"
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1997 - Destiny's Child

Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child. Photo by Dave Hogan / Hulton Archive

Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland were first part of the girl group Girl's Tyme in the early 1990s. They made an appearance on the TV talent show Star Search but lost the competition. Taking over management of the group, Beyonce Knowles' father Matthew reduced it from six members to four adding LeToya Luckett and including LaTavia Roberson. In 1996, the group changed its name to Destiny's Child and signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. The self-titled debut album included the #3 pop hit single "No, No, No" featuring Wyclef Jean. The next album The Writing's On the Wall broke the group wide open with two #1 charting pop hits including the signature song "Say My Name." In 1999 Luckett and Roberson were replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. In 2000 Farrah Franklin left the group leaving the most familiar trio. In early 2006, amid the success of solo projects for Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland, the group broke up. Beyonce Knowles became one of world's biggest pop and R&B stars.

Watch "Say My Name"

Key Songs

  • "Say My Name"
  • "Bills, Bills, Bills"
  • "Bootylicious"
  • "Independent Women, Part 1"
  • "Survivor"
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1998 - Sugababes

Sugababes. Photo by John Rogers / Getty Images

Sugababes were put together as a trio in 1998 by Ron Tom, the manager of the girl group All Saints. All three members were under age 15 when the group formed. Their debut single "Overload" peaked in the top 10 in the UK in 2000 and earned a Brit Award nomination for Best Single. After that initial success, Sugababes hit the top 10 sixteen more times over the next decade. While the group never achieved success in the US, they did become international pop stars. After major personnel changes at the end of the decade, fans were angry and commercial success suffered. The original three members later performed together under the name Mutya Keisha Siobhan, a combination of their first names.

Watch "Push the Button"

Key Songs

  • "Push the Button"
  • "Freak Like Me"
  • "Hole In the Head"
  • "Round Round"
  • About You Now"
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2002 - Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud
Girls Aloud. Photo by Dave Hogan / Getty Images

English-Irish girl group Girls Aloud first gained fame as winners of the TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals. Although they never achieved major international success, Girls Aloud released twenty consecutive top 10 pop hits in the UK. They won the 2009 Brit Award for Best Single with "The Promise." Group member Cheryl Cole had significant solo success outside of the group. She appeared as a judge on X Factor and had seven top 10 pop hit singles of her own including five that went to #1. After a three-year hiatus, Girls Aloud regrouped in 2012 to release the #2 charting single "Something New." Less then six months later they announced a permanent breakup.

Watch "Sound of the Underground"

Key Songs

  • "Sound of the Underground"
  • "I'll Stand By You"
  • "The Promise"
  • "Love Machine"
  • "No Good Advice"
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2003 - Pussycat Dolls

Pussycat Dolls
Pussycat Dolls. Photo by Tim Roney / Hulton Archive

In the 1990s, choreographer Robin Antin came up with the idea of creating a contemporary burlesque troupe. After the group built significant public attention, Interscope Records signed the Pussycat Dolls to a recording contract in 2003. With Nicole Scherzinger, former member of the girl group Eden's Crush, as lead vocalist, the Pussycat Dolls exploded up the pop charts with their debut single "Don't Cha." It became a #2 hit. The group released two top 5 charting albums and three more top 10 pop hit singles. However, by late 2010 the group broke up. Nicole Scherzinger pursued a moderately successful solo career.

Watch "Don't Cha"

Key Songs

  • "Don't Cha" featuring Busta Rhymes
  • "Buttons" featuring Snoop Dogg
  • "Stickwitu"
  • "When I Grow Up"
  • "I Hate This Part"
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2007 - Wonder Girls

Wonder Girls
Wonder Grils. Photo by Stefanie Keenan / WireImage

Wonder Girls are a South Korean girl group formed in 2007 by JYP Entertainment. There were the stars of a TV show titled MTV Wonder Girls. Wonder Girls have made efforts to cross over to audiences in the US. The single "Nobody" hit the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2009 making Wonder Girls the first Korean group to do so. After a three-year hiatus, Wonder Girls returned in 2016 with the single "Wy So Lonely." In January 2017, the group announced a permanent breakup.

Watch "Be My Baby"

Key Songs

  • "Be My Baby"
  • "Nobody"
  • "2 Different Tears"
  • "Like This"
  • "The DJ Is Mine"
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2009 - 2NE1

2NE1. Photo by Ken Ishii / Getty Images

2NE1 were a South Korean girl group put together by YG Entertainment. Their first single "Lollipop" was released in May 2009. The single "I Don't Care" off the group's self-titled first EP won Song of the Year at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards. The group accomplished the same feat in 2011 with the song "I Am the Best." In 2015 the group went on hiatus while group members pursued outside projects. In November 2016, permanent disbanding of the group was announced. A formal farewell single titled "Goodbye" was released in January 2017.

Watch "I Am the Best"

Key Songs

  • "I Am the Best"
  • "Go Away"
  • "Try To Follow Me"
  • "Lonely"
  • "I Love You"
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2011 - Little Mix

Little Mix
Little Mix. Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Little Mix was formed in 2011 when the four members of the group failed to make it past the first two eliminations in the bootcamp segments of X Factor in the UK. Ultimately, Little Mix became the first group to win X Factor. Their coronation single, a cover of Damien Rice's "Cannonball," was an instant #1 hit. In the summer of 2012, their first original song "Wings" soared to #1 as well. Little Mix have earned ten top 10 charting singles in the UK in just five years. That puts them in the company of Girls Aloud, Sugababes, and Spice Girls as being among the most successful UK girl groups of all time. Their success in the US has been limited, but the first two albums DNA and Salute did hit the top 10.

Watch "Wings"

Key Songs

  • "Wings"
  • "Cannonball"
  • "Black Magic"
  • "Shout Out To My Ex"
  • "Move"
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2012 - Fifth Harmony

Fifth Harmony
Fifth Harmony. Photo by Gabriel Olsen / Getty Images

Fifth Harmony was formed from five female singers who entered competition in the second season of X Factor USA as solo artists. When they failed to make it to the judges' houses stage, the judges put them together as a girl group. The group finished in third place on the show but soon became the most successful contestants from the show's short-lived run. Their first five singles each performed better than the last culminating in the top five smash "Work From Home." The group released two top five charting, gold-certified albums. In December 2016 the group announced that founding member Camilla Cabello left the group to pursue a solo career.

Watch "Work From Home"

Key Songs

  • "Work From Home" featuring Ty Dolla Sign
  • "Worth It" featuring Kid Ink
  • "All In My Head (Flex)" featuring Fetty Wap
  • "Sledgehammer"
  • "Miss Movin' On"