A whole week dedicated to paying tribute to all-girl acts? I’m in.
For this entire week, March 2-6, Billboard Magazine has been featuring its second annual Girl Group Week, which officially makes it a “thing.” (If something happens more than once, it’s a thing. I just made that rule up, but whatever.) In fact, they’ve got a poll where you can vote for your favorites—and since the poll closes today, you should go there now and vote.
The music world has no shortage of female artists, but girl groups have always felt like a bit of special thing—and girl bands seem even more rare. There’s something inherently sexy about a group of females performing music together onstage (and yes, we’ll always have acts like Pussycat Dolls, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls and others who maximize that space). But for me, as a music connoisseur, it’s something more than that: it’s the music itself. (After all, you can’t see the girls when they’re singing on a recording.) There’s something about the timbre of a great female vocalist that captures the attention—and when you group several of those voices together, it’s more arresting still. Wilson Phillips has always been one of my favorite all-girl vocal acts for that very reason: those tight harmonies singing as though they were a single person? Floors me every time.
Of course, it’s not just the singing, either: all-girl bands are worth celebrating, as well—and again, not just because of the sex appeal. For some reason, as in so many other realms, the rock band dynamic has been something of a man’s world; even today, the vast majority of “bands” consist of all guys, or perhaps one or two females. Rarely all girls. Well, that’s not entirely true—there are LOTS of all-girl bands, but it seems like they hit the big time far less often than the guys do. Something about a group of girls daring to enter that world appeals to my sense of justice and equality, because there’s simply no reason why they shouldn’t occupy that space right alongside the guys. That’s why I’ll always have respect for acts like The Bangles, The Runaways, Go-Go’s, Sleater-Kinney and Indigo Girls, and why current bands like Haim, Dum Dum Girls and Warpaint have my attention now. (It’s also why I’m cheering for up-and-coming acts like Deap Vally, BOY, SHEL and The Staves.)
What are your favorite girl groups? Feel free to leave comments below, and be sure to vote in the Billboard poll. Here’s to the girl groups that have made their mark on music history—and here’s to the day when they’ll be common enough that we won’t actually need a “Girl Group Week” to point them out.