Decades of Female Music

I guess it is fitting that girl groups became our theme for Mother’s Day, and I want to wish all the mothers a happy day.  A girl group is a music act containing all, generally young, female singers who sing in complex harmonies with one another.  Much like with boybands, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when girl groups originated as people have been singing together since the beginning of time.  One of the first major all-female groups were the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce, who were known on NBC radio in the early 1920s as “radio’s foremost harmony trio”, and later they changed their stage name to the Three X Sisters.  The Boswell Sisters started singing in the mid 1920’s as part of the jazz and swing era and they were noted for intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation.  The Andrews Sisters were famous for their close harmony singing in the swing and boogie-woogie era.  All of these groups were very similar, they came to fruition at similar times, and even looked pretty similar physically.  There was clearly a style that depicted a successful girl group, and these trios initiated and embraced it.

The rise of Motown in the 1960s saw the upsurge of girl groups that produced a clearly identifiable hybrid sound that included gospel, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, and quirky pop that benefited from the songwriting talents of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team and Smokey Robinson.  The Chantels were an early all-girl doo-wop group, and they became one of the first female R&B vocal groups to have nationwide success.  The Shirelles were the first girl group to realize any notable degree of commercial and artistic success and they defined the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence.  The material for many of the genre’s biggest acts came mainly from three successful husband-and-wife songwriting teams with Brill Building connections: Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.  Music producer Phil Spector dominated the genre and invented the layered, harmonic “wall of sound” that characterized hits by the Crystals and the Ronettes.

Girl groups proved to be one of the more successful formulas that ended up being mined again and again by music labels, however they were strongly manipulated by powerful men who were well-connected within the record industry.  Girl groups were often treated the worst and they were expected to submit to outside control with a minimal display of rebellious attitude.  The younger the performers were more likely to accept the strict order of this system.  This at least in part explains why few groups were able to sustain a successful recording career beyond a hit recording or two.  In the 1970s, when Disco became popular a new genre of black girl groups became popular including The Emotions, and Sister Sledge.  The British girl group Bananarama and The Pointer Sisters both became popular in the 1980s.  The 1990s brought us the Spice Girls, TLC and Destiny’s Child.  Disney brought us the Cheetah Girls and Girls Aloud and The Sugababes were also successful.  Fifth Harmony and Little Mix came about in the 2010s and with the rise of KPOP, we got BLACKPINK.

Last week we had Not Called Man Bands where the theme was to find music by boy bands.  This week the theme is to find music by girl groups.  Take some time to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this music challenge, and even better, read as many of them as you can as you will probably find many enjoyable songs and it is quite possibly that you will learn a thing or two.  Share your music with others and post a video, try do some research and let everyone know something about the song that you post.  Tell everyone why you like the song, whether it was a hit, or what you think the song is about.  Show the lyrics, let’s all listen to our favorite songs and explore some new music.  Try to find a song that fits the theme, then write your post and create a pingback, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

• Try to use the prompt words or at least conform to a general theme, as you see it.  If the song you select does not meet the criteria, then please explain why you chose this song.
• It would be good if you could post the lyrics to the song of your choice, as this is helpful for the people that want to follow along with the music.
• Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due. It would also be a good idea to give credit to the singer and the band associated with your song.
• Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be, but please try not to include too many videos as that just makes it take longer to look at all of the other posts.
• Link to the YouTube video, or you can pull it into your post, so others can listen to the song.
• Ping back to this post or place your link in the comments section below.
• Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
• Feel free to suggest future prompts.
• Have fun and enjoy the music.

This week I will be writing about the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas song ‘Jimmy Mack’, and next week, I will be writing about the song ‘Love is in the Air’ by John Paul Young.  The upcoming prompts will be:
May 21, 2023 – Disco
May 28, 2023 – Hip-Hop Rap
June 4, 2023 – Blues
June 11, 2023 – British Music suggested by Barbara from teleportingweena ghostmmnc

28 thoughts on “Decades of Female Music

  1. Fun choice for Mothers day celebrated on the second Sunday in May (May 11th this year) including the U.S., Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, most of Europe, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and many others. Some of these countries also honor mothers on International Women’s Day or originally celebrated mothers on a different day of the year, but then merged their celebration to coincide with the US date.
    Many other countries UK included celebrate it in June.
    Happy Mother’s day if your celebrating 💐🎉💜💜🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A good theme for Mothers Day, Jim, for those who celebrate today. Here in the UK it is related to the Church of England calendar as Mothering Sunday, and it happens in March. I guess we may be in the minority!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It depends on what source you read, Jim. It’s declining, but that may be a figure for those actively involved rather than all who identify it as their religion. I saw a figure that 46% identified as CoE at our last census, three years ago. It’s still by far the biggest denomination here, and is officially recognised by the King being its head.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s