SING IT SISTER!
We rate the girl bands
GIRL bands stretch back to the start of rock and roll and have given us some of the best pop songs of all time. Here's 20 of the finest girl band hits.
1. WANNABE SPICE GIRLS, 1996
The beauty of Wannabe wasn’t just that it launched the Spice Girls perfectly, it was also their manifesto buried in Turducken pop song — soul inside Brit pop with rap on top. An incredible first impression, even if Posh didn’t get one line. No wonder Victoria is still bitter. Other
gems: Say You’ll Be There, Too Much, Holler, Who Do You Think You Are?
2. WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO?
THE SUPREMES, 1964
The girl band blue print: built on a fault line (Diana Ross seizing lead vocals, shading her bandmates) it served regret, heartbreak, hormones and harmonies — singing through the pain. Other
gems: You Can’t Hurry Love, Baby Love, Stop in the Name of Love, You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
3. NO SCRUBS TLC, 1999
There is a version of No Scrubs without Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes’ s rap. That version should be erased. Rhyming spectacular with vernacular, her skills elevate their sly groove that calls out leeches (or scrubs) in a break-up banger from arguably the baddest girl band.
Other gems: Creep, Waterfalls, Unpretty, Silly Ho.
4. LADY MARMALADE LABELLE, 1974
Fronted by Patti Labelle, this helped usher in the disco era detailing night shifters in New Orleans, cleverly hiding the racy chorus “would you like to sleep with me tonight” by singing it in French, and piling on the sass and soul soul. Other gems: What Can I Do For You, Over the Rainbow, It Took a Long Time.
5. OVERLOAD SUGABABES, 2000
Just like Wannabe, Overload sounded like nothing else. Impeccably constructed, the momentum keeps building, there’s a wild guitar solo, then it unravels before your ears and goes full kitchen sink for the last minute.
Other gems: Push the Button, Freak Like Me, Round Round, Too Lost in You.
6. SURVIVOR DESTINY’S CHILD, 2001
How do you stop people joking about your revolving door line-up being like TV show Survivor? You write this triumphant anthem where you casually drop your record sales at the time (nine million) while taking the high road.
Other gems: Independent Women, Say My Name, Lose My Breath, Bills Bills Bills.
7. LOVE IN THE FIRST DEGREE BANANARAMA, 1987
Starting as a punky trio, Bananarama plugged into the Stock Aitken Waterman machine and rode the wave. Their Venus is arguably better than the original, but Love In The First Degree is synth-led mock Motown brilliance.
Other gems: I Heard a Rumour, Cruel Summer, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, I Want You Back.
8. NEVER EVER ALL SAINTS, 1997
If you’re going to borrow a melody, it may as well be Amazing Grace. The UK foursome freeze-frame
that point of a break-up and lay on funk, gospel and harmonies. Their William Orbit electro-fantasy Pure Shores is a close second. Other
gems: Black Coffee, Lady Marmalade, Chick Fit, Bootie Call.
9. HE’S SO FINE
THE CHIFFONS, 1963
Straight outta The Bronx, this classic is two songs in one — the lead vocal and that consistent backing vocal “doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang”. George Harrison would subconsciously heist it for My
Sweet Lord. Other gems: One Fine Day, Sweet Talking Guy, Lucky Me.
10. I’M SO EXCITED POINTER SISTERS, 1982
The sisters had covered Bruce Springsteen (Fire) and had classy hits with Slow Hand and He’s So Shy. But in the MTV era they really hit the pop button. I’m So Excited is all you want from a pop song, put it on and within 10 seconds it starts the party. And that piano solo.
Other gems: Jump, Dare Me, Automatic, Fire.
11. ALL NIGHT LONG MARY JANE GIRLS, 1983
Prince had Vanity 6; Rick James had Mary Jane Girls. The baseline, hook and chorus has been endlessly sampled (“you got me shook up, shook down, shook out on your lovin’”) and where this simmered, In My House was an inferno. Other gems: In My House, Candy Man, Wild and Crazy Love, Walk Like a Man.
12. DANCING IN THE STREET
MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS, 1964
Written by Marvin Gaye, girl band songs are almost always about love. Dancing is another popular theme and this instant shot of energy mixes dance with another popular trick – geographical shout outs. Incredible production. Other
gems: Heat Wave, Jimmy Mack, Nowhere to Run, Quicksand.
13. HE’S THE GREATEST DANCER
SISTER SLEDGE, 1979
Nile Rodgers sprinkled the Chic magic on these soulful siblings at the peak of his disco powers. They had a killer run of singles, but there’s something about this one — a bassline that won’t quit, soaring strings plus it’s a love song and dance song all in one. Other gems: We Are Family, Lost in Music, Thinking of You, Got to Love Somebody.
14. LOVE MACHINE GIRLS ALOUD, 2004
The UK girl band formed on TV but went on to have 20 British Top 20 hits in a row. With pop factory Xenophonia (Phil Spector meets Stock Aitken Waterman) behind them, Love Machine is part rockabilly (Arctic Monkeys would uld cover er it), part t rollicking pop. p. Like all good girl bands, they had d such h strong personalities li i they h came with an in-built implosion date. Other gems: The Promise, Biology, The Show, No Good Advice.
15. NASTY GIRL VANITY 6, 1982
Back when Prince was still filthy he created his own girl band, with girlfriend Apollonia in the Diana Ross role, and gave them this softporn carnal pop with his dirty fingerprints all over it. This makes Fifth Harmony’s 2016 girl band update Work From Home (which just missed this list) look frigid. Other gems: Drive Me Wild, He’s So Dull, Make Up.
16. ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID t.A. T.u, 2002
Neve Never count out a musical genius. Trevo Trevor Horn’s bombastic pop worked k for everyone from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Seal, and for 3 ½ minutes he turned two Russian gay-for-play faux lesbians into chart toppers with this musical thunderclap. Other gems: Not Gonna Get Us, All About Us, How Soon Is Now?
17. DON’T CHA PUSSYCAT DOLLS, 2005
Poor Tori Alamaze had been the first to record this sultry track, before it was reclaimed to launch Nicole Scherzinger in the classic Diana Ross-like role in the Dolls. Other gems: I Hate This Part, When I Grow Up, Buttons, Hush Hush.
18. VENUS OR MARS JACKSON MENDOZA (1999)
The great lost Australian girl duo – this song was a Betty Boo goes Manga Betty shot of pure joy. Other gems: Ordinary Girl.
19. BLACK MAGIC – LITTLE MIX (2015)
The UK foursome can be hit and miss, but this gem channels Whitney, Britney and Cyndi with not so veiled metaphors about secret potions getting boyfriends on their knees. Other gems: Shout Out To My Ex, Wings, Love Me Like You.
20. HOLD ON
WILSON PHILLIPS (1990)
The ultimate three-part karaoke song, despite high degree of difficulty. Other gems: Release Me.