Black Girl Power: Top 15 R&B Girl Groups Of All Time

June 20, 2014  |  
1 of 16

Source: WENN

Female empowerment, unity, glamour, powerhouse voices, image, love songs, heartbreak songs, girl power songs, divaness, fierceness and behind-the-scenes drama are all factors in making a great girl group. And black women have been the leaders of bringing some of the greatest girl groups of all time. In fact, they have produced the most popular girl groups of all time.

In celebration of Black Music Month, we celebrate black women banded together and united through music with the top 15 R&B girl groups of all time.

Sister Sledge

They are band of sisters who sing together! And their musical roots stemmed from having parents in the entertainment industry. Their father was a tap dancer while their mother was an actress. The group proudly said they were family. And their songs went on to get sampled by other artists.

Notable Hits:

“We are Family”

“He’s the Greatest Dancer”

“Frankie”

702

They named themselves after their area code in Las Vegas, Nevada. They went on to dominate the urban market with smash hits from their first and sophomore albums. And they went on to make guest appearances on TV — including and most famously, Nickelodeon’s “Cousin Skeeter.” After tension began to rise in the group and a failed third album, the group disbanded in 2003. Now Meelah Williams, the group’s former lead singer, can be found on “R&B Divas: Atlanta.”

Notable Hits:

“Steelo”

“Where My Girls At”

“Get It Together”

The Ronettes

This group made up of two sisters and their cousin made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But after a few hits in the 1960s, Ronnie Spector who was the lead singer and married to their producer Phil Spector divorced him — after he became too controlling of Ronnie and the group’s success. His own insecurities about the group becoming too popular prevented the group from doing just that. It led to the group’s demise.

Notable Hits:

“Be My Baby”

“Baby, I Love You”

“Walking in the Rain”

Source: “Lady Marmalade” Single Cover

Labelle

This group is known for its transformation from a doo-wop quartet known as Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles in the 1960s, to a funk rock trio, Labelle, in the 1970s. The group scored their biggest hit after the glam/funk rock switch, “Lady Marmalade” — one of the most covered songs ever!

Most Notable Hits:

“Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song)”

“You’ll Never Walk Alone”

“Lady Marmalade”

Klymaxx

Klymaxx was another popular girl of the 80s. And the original girl group of female empowerment. They are actually a band — with black female musicians and vocalists. And in the 1980s, they WERKED it.

Notable Hits:

“Men All Pause”

“Meeting in the Ladies Room”

“I Miss You”

Total

Let’s hope they make a comeback soon as expected. Total was Bad Boy’s 90s R&B girl group. The group disbanded in the early 2000s. We’re still waiting on that  comeback. Most folks still ask about what happened to Total. The group was supposed to reunite this year.

Notable Hits:

“Can’t You See”

“No One Else”

“Kissin’ You”

Xscape

Yep, we escaped in their music alright. They told us to just kick it, and we did. They told us they needed understanding, and we gave it to them. And they told us their little secrets, and we kept them. Xscape is responsible for some of the biggest R&B hits of the 1990s. Ultimately, the ladies of the group went on to pursue solo careers in the 2000s. Now you can find a portion of the group on reality TV.

Notable Hits:

“Just Kickin’ It”

“Understanding”

“Who Can I Run To”

“My Little Secret”

 

The Marvelettes

This one of the most underrated Motown and girl group acts, but the one of the most important. They were Motown’s first girl group and one of the first of the Billboard era. “Please Mr. Postman” was the first Motown hit to reach number one on the charts. Due to being underrated, their story was featured on TV One’s “Unsung.”

Notable Hits:

“Please Mr. Postman”

“Twistin’ Postman”

“Playboy”

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

The group had much success as one of Motown’s first acts and girl groups. But due to the growing popularity of another girl group featured on this list at number three, they were neglected. Nevertheless, the group charted many hits over the course of 1963 to 1972.

Notable Hits: 

“(Love is Like a) Heat Wave”

“Dancing in the Street”

“Quicksand”

The Pointer Sisters

At some point the group had four sisters, but one of the sisters, Bonnie Pointer, left to pursue a solo career after moderate group success in the 1970s. But the 1980s was the group’s breakout decade. And Bonnie wasn’t allowed to ever return to the group after they experienced success as a trio. Nevertheless, the group had quite the eclectic sound and were popular for it. Their songs are sampled by other artists and used by commercial advertising to this day.

Notable Hits: 

“Automatic”

“Jump (For My Love)”

“I’m So Excited”

“Neutron Dance”

SWV

Sisters with Voices, better known as SWV,  scored many hits in the 1990s during the resurgence of girl groups. And like any other group, they had drama during the height of their success, but no one really knew at the time why they disbanded. But there was tension between the ladies — probably explaining the title of their third album — “Releasing Some Tension.” They reunited in the early 2010s, addressed their breakup and documented their reunion on WE tv’s “SWV Reunited.”

Notable Hits:

“Weak”

“I’m So Into You”

“Right Here/Human Nature”

En Vogue

They brought the class, elegance and style of former R&B girl groups of the 60s with a 90s hip-hop and urban edge. They are arguably the most vocally-talented girl group of all time. Although the group had much success, behind-the-scenes the money wasn’t right, which caused member Dawn Robinson to leave in the late 1990s. The group kept their drama under wraps until recent years with a divide. Robinson and Maxine Jones are on one side and Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron are on the other. They battled over finances and using the name.

Notable Hits:

“Hold On”

“My Lovin’ (Never Gonna Get It)”

“Don’t Go (Love.)”

Source: WENN

The Supremes

They are still arguably one of the most successful girl group of all time. So why did they place at number three? Well, record sells of the 1990s and 2000s were greater for groups than the 19960s and 1970s. But The Supremes’ music broke down barriers for black women and black artists generally in entertainment. With 12 number one pop hits and many successful albums, they were Motown’s most successful act and one of the Billboard era’s most popular artists of all time. But like every group, there was drama. Florence Ballard was kicked out of the group due to her behavior and replaced — only to die in poverty. Diana Ross went on to become an icon in her own right.

 

Notable Hits:

“Where Did Our Love Go”

“Baby Love”

“Stop! In the Name of Love”

(so darn many)

Destiny’s Child

Destiny’s Child started to rival the likes of girl groups who popularized the 1990s. But those other groups didn’t make the same transition into the 2000s. In 2000, DC produced many hits and much drama as well. Matthew Knowles (Beyonce’s father and the group’s manager) replaced LaTavia Roberson and Le Toya Luckett with two new members and they only found out when the “Say My Name” video aired on television. The group became a trio and had much more success.

Notable Hits:

“Say My Name”

“Independent Woman Part 2”

“Survivor”

“Bootylicious”

(And Many More)

TLC

No surprise here, TLC is the most successful R&B girl group of all time. And if it wasn’t for that British invasion in the mid-1990s, they would be the most successful girl group of all time — now in second place to Spice Girls. But the trio of CrazySexyCool’s success is as great as their drama — including burning down a house, battling Sickle Cell Anemia, abortions and losing a member to tragedy — all of this was documented in a popular TV biopic on VH1.

Notable Hits:

“Waterfalls”

“No Scrubs”

“Creep”

“Baby-Baby-Baby”

(And many more)

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
blog comments powered by Disqus