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Oldies Music Encyclopedia: "Girl Group"

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The Ronettes' debut album, from 1964

The Ronettes' debut album, from 1964

source: pricegrabber.com
Definition: Although the definition can and has been expanded to include any musical act prominently featuring females, the classic definition of the "girl group" more closely mirrors the original explosion of the genre in the early Sixties, when songwriters and producers (primarily in New York and Los Angeles) began to assemble female vocal groups to appeal to the teen market. The most famous of the genre's producers were Phil Spector and Shadow Morton, while many of the style's famous songs were penned by New York's "Brill Building" writers (Goffin and King, Barry and Greenwich, Mann and Weil, Sedaka and Greenfield).

The typical "girl group" lyrics were love songs dealing with the emotion from the girl's point of view, as society saw it at the time, or, rarely, detailing a new dance craze. The typical group featured three or four girls, with session musicians adding backup; however, several solo artists were practitioners of the "group" sound, while some in the style even featured some male members in the band! The general sound was light r&b or sweet pop, though some acts, such as Motown's Martha and the Vandellas, were hard enough to be considered true soul music.

Although the Chantels' 1958 smash "Maybe" is considered an important forerunner to the style, being a rare (for the time) female group hit that dealt with the intense longing common to the genre, most agree that the Shirelles' 1960 hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" marked the beginning of the girl-group craze of the early Sixties. Although groups like the Supremes continued to be popular through the end of the decade, and groups consisting of girls alone continue even today, the classic girl-group style started to fade around the middle of the decade, when R&B became harder and record companies began to focus on solo females, who were easier to market and easier to recognize.

Also Known As: Dance Craze, Brill Building
Examples:
  1. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," The Shirelles
  2. "Be My Baby," The Ronettes
  3. "One Fine Day," The Chiffons
  4. "He's A Rebel," The Crystals
  5. "Please Mr. Postman," The Marvelettes
  6. "Leader Of The Pack," The Shangri-Las
  7. "Stop! In The Name Of Love," The Supremes
  8. "My Boyfriend's Back," The Angels
  9. "Jimmy Mack," Martha and the Vandellas
  10. "Chapel Of Love," The Dixie Cups
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