Girl group

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A girl group or girlband is a popular music act featuring several young female singers who generally harmonise together.

Girl groups emerged in the late 1950s as groups of young singers teamed up with behind-the-scenes songwriters and music producers to create hit singles, often featuring glossy production values and backing by top studio musicians. In later eras the girl group template would be applied to disco, contemporary R&B, and country-based formats as well as pop.

A distinction is made here with girl bands, in which females also play instruments, though this terminology is not universally followed.[1]

Contents

History

During the Music Hall/Vaudeville era, all-girl singing groups were mainly novelty acts singing nonsense songs in silly voices. One of the first major exceptions was the Boswell Sisters, who became one of the most popular singing groups from 1930 to 1936, with over twenty hits. The Andrews Sisters started (1937) as a Boswell tribute band and continued recording and performing through the 1940s and 1950s.

1950s and 1960s

The Chantels released the 1958 song "Maybe".

The Shirelles, who had had some minor R&B hits, hooked up with Brill Building songwriters, including Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who wrote "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for them. The song became a number one pop hit in early 1961.

Other songwriters and producers quickly recognized the potential of this new approach, and recruited existing acts (or, in some cases, created them anew) to record their songs in a girl-group style. Phil Spector recruited The Crystals, The Blossoms, and The Ronettes, while Goffin and King handled much of the output of The Cookies. Phil Spector was considered one of the youngest millionaires to that date. He developed his trademark sound with the groups called the "Wall of Sound" which had a dense texture that made it hard to pick out each individual instrument. This was also dubbed the "Spector Sound". At the age of 19 he became head of artists and repertoire for Atlantic Records. He was named The First Tycoon of Teen because his groups and music were aimed toward the younger crowd.[2] Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller would likewise foster The Dixie Cups, The Shangri-Las, and The Exciters. Other important girl group songwriters included Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. The Motown label also masterminded several major girl groups, beginning with The Marvelettes and later with Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes.

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