Who Run The World? The Top 10 Best Selling Girl Groups Of All Time

October 17, 2011  |  
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Over and again we’ve heard girls rule the world. Over the years girls have ruled the music world. The list of best-selling girl groups of all time, is dominated by women of color. The beginnings of artists like Beyonce, Diana Ross and Scary Spice were seeds planted within a trio, quartet or quintet. Here’s the top ten list of the girls who out-sold some of the most famous male competition:

SWV

In 1990, Sisters With Voices came together to raise a joyful noise before the Lord in the world of Gospel. SWV soon changed direction and in a short time rose to become one of the most successful R&B groups of that decade. Together Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson, and Leanne Lyons produced multiple hits  like “Weak”, and “Right Here/Human Nature.”  The New York based trio went on to sell 15 million records.

 

9. Salt-n-Pepa

 Rap royalty Salt-N-Pepa is without question the best-selling female rap act to date. The trio is also among the best-selling girl groups of all time with 15 million albums and singles sold. The group composed of Cheryl James Wray, Sandra Denton and Deidra “Dee Dee” Roper hail from Queens, New York and debuted in 1985. While together they became known for chart toppers including “Push It”, “Shoop” and “Whatta Man”. The ladies went their separate ways 2002 but reunited in 2007.

8. Morning Musume

Since their beginnings in 1997 with just five members, Morning Musume of Tokyo, Japan has had over 30 members of the all girl group and sold 16 million records. They are the premiere group of the Hello! Project, a Japanese pop record collective for all girl groups. The average age of members is around 17 years old. Those who’ve “graduated” or aged out have typically gone on to solo careers.

7. En Vogue

En Vogue was assembled through an open call audition in Oakland, California in the summer of 1989. Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Terry Ellis came together and immediately made an impact. Their first album Born to Sing included hits like “Don’t Go” and “Hold On” which won Billboard Music Awards “R&B Single of the Year” for 1990. The group has evolved over the past two decades filtering in and out members that also included Amanda Cole and Rhona Bennett. But their convincing talent still managed to sell 20 million record.

6. The Supremes

To say that The Supremes are, to date, still one of the top-selling girl groups of all time, speaks volumes about their talents. Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were originally a quartet with Betty McGlown and were known as The Primettes in their native Detroit. Back in 1959 Motown executive Barry Gordy helped mold the trio that emerged as The Supremes. The women’s hit-making abilities proved legendary as they scored 12 number one singles including “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Love Child.” Over time the iconic group sold more than 20 million records – the real number is probably more considering Nielsen Soundscan didn’t start tracking record sales til the 1990s.

5. Speed

 The popular Japanese girl group Speed once described themselves as supergroup TLC wannabes. The quartet which included Hiroko Shimabukuro, Eriko Imai, Takako Uehara, and Hitoe Arakai started in 1996 when two of them were still in elementary school. Age proved to be nothing but a number as they ruled Japan’s pop world with their hip-hop influenced hits. Although the group disbanded just three years into their career they managed to sell 20 million records.

4. Bananarama

In 1979 the British punk scene gave birth to a girl, group: Banarama. Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin, and Siobhan Fahey. 1984 seemed to be the perfect time to introduce them to a waiting audience in the US. They did so with the memorable hit “Cruel Summer.” They turned the corner with their mix of pop, rock and new wave and went on to 40 million records. Today Banarama lives on as a duo with original members Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin.

3. TLC

T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli helped transform music as members of the chart-topping group TLC. Nurtured by R&B singer turned manager, Pebbles, the girl group scored a music deal in the early 1990’s with LaFace Records. Theirs was a musical tapestry of  R&B, hip-hop and pop that fans ate up. TLC topped the chart with number one hits including “Waterfalls” and “No Scrubs”. During their career they managed to sell 45 million records. Unfortunately in 2002 TLC mourned the loss of original member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.

2. Destiny’s Child

Before Beyonce was a Megastar, she was the undeniable stand out in Destiny’s Child. The super popular girl group ruled the pop charts with hits like “Bills, Bills, Bills”, “Bootylicious” and “Survivor” through the 1990s and early 2000s. The group, named by Beyonce Knowle’s mother Tina, went through some changes and challenges over the course of their nine year reign. The original quartet of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Letoya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, eventually became a trio with Bey, Kelly and Michelle Williams. That didn’t stop the diamond selling group from hitting the 50 million mark in record sales.

1. Spice Girls

Spice Girls holds the top-selling spot in girl group music history. The ladies all hail from England and were formed through a singing competition in the early 1990s. 75 million record sales later, Scary Spice aka Mel B, and Posh Spice better known as Victoria Beckham are better known for their love lives with Eddie Murphy and David Beckham respectively. But the Spice Girls group continue to generate buzz. Their last tour in 2007 grossed $100 million.

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