At Billboard.com, we’re celebrating Girl Group Week by looking at the biggest songs, best music videos, current state of girl groups, drafting our dream girl groups, scoping out post-girl group solo songs and a whole lot more.
A long line of girl groups have found success on the Billboard charts, with Motown’s brightest stars generating hits as a collective a half-century ago, and artists like TLC and Destiny’s Child making their mark in the 1990’s and 2000’s, respectively. Check out Billboard’s list of the Top 10 biggest girl groups of all time, and see if your favorite female group made the cut.
NOTE: This ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart through the tally dated July 22, 2017. Artists are ranked based on an inverse point system, with a song’s weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Hot 100 chart earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Each act’s collected titles that charted over the course of their career were aggregated to determine the final ranking. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
A legendary Motown group, Martha Reeves’ vocal group found success with the ballad “Come and Get These Memories” before striking gold with “Heat Wave,” “Quicksand” and “Dancing in the Street.”
9. En Vogue
The title of En Vogue’s first two albums, 1990’s Born to Sing and 1992’s Funky Divas, fit perfectly: the members of producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy’s R&B group flaunted their vocal gifts through soulful cuts like “Hold On” and “Don’t Let Go (Love).”
The trio of Exposé watched songs like “Point of No Return, “Seasons Change” and “Tell Me Why” checker the Billboard charts during the late 80’s and early 90’s, honing its dance-pop sound before disbanding in 1996. A brief reunion a decade later included a tour, with Jeanette Jurado, Gioia Bruno and Ann Curless performing their best-known hits.
Younger music fans might only know Wilson Phillips from hearing “Hold On” in films like Bridesmaids and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, but the trio of Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson had more than just one unstoppable hit following their 1990 formation. “Hold On” is the go-to Wilson Phillips jam thanks to its soaring hook and mesmerizing harmonies, but songs like “Release Me,” “You’re In Love” and “Impulsive” helped make this trio one for the ages.
One of the most important girl groups of the 1960’s, the Shirelles formed as a quartet of high school friends and ended up becoming a gargantuan influence on the early female contributors to the American rock scene. Swinging tempos and pitch-perfect harmonies defined hits like “Mama Said” and “Dedicated To The One I Love,” and although they are not as well-remembered as the Supremes, the Shirelles’ best singles are virtually unrivaled.
5. The Bangles
A power-pop force in the mid-80’s, the Bangles scored several hits while dabbling in a variety of sounds yet never losing their authoritative identity. Prince helped the group out by writing the early hit “Manic Monday,” but “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Eternal Flame” were even more enduring smashes that firmly delivered the Bangles to the mainstream. Although the group never regained its popularity when the 90’s began, the Bangles remain crucial to the pop landscape of the previous decade.
Anita, Ruth, Bonnie and June Pointer blended R&B, pop, disco, country and rock with jaw-dropping aplomb after growing up in Oakland and scoring timeless cuts like “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic,” “Fire” and “Fairytale.”
Before Beyonce was Queen Bey, she was one-third of the extraordinarily popular Destiny’s Child, delivering songs like “Say My Name,” “Survivor” and “Bootylicious” with the help of Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. After Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle all became independent women, they reunited for a farewell album, Destiny Fulfilled, and farewell tour; in 2013, the ladies rejoined once together for a new track, “Nuclear,” and a surprise appearance during Bey’s Super Bowl halftime show.
Tionne “T-Boz” Waykins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas spent a decade ruling the charts with pop-R&B masterpieces like “No Scrubs,” “Waterfalls,” “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “Creep,” before Lopes’ untimely death in a car crash in 2002. T-Boz and Chilli recently revived their best-selling project, with a compilation album (20) and a performance at the American Music Awards in 2013; a new album is in the works, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.
1. The Supremes
Aside from being the most successful girl group of all time, the Supremes are among the most popular musical artists ever, with Diana Ross and co.’s songs sounding as timeless as ever. “Baby Love,” “Stop! In The Name Of Love,” “Come See About Me,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Where Did Our Love Go”… the list of Motown classics goes on and on, and although there have been many girl group smashes in the decades since the Supremes ruled the Billboard charts, no collective has yet to challenge their, for lack of a better word, supremacy.