Girl Groups of the 1980’s: All Grown Up

The decade where all-female groups came back with a vengeance and created new trends.

"I love being a Go-Go. It definitely has its ups and downs, and we have a very intense energy with each other." – Jane Wiedlin

There was a steep decline in the sound and presence of Girl Groups in the 1970's from the decade prior. Female solo acts became much more commonplace on the charts, and radio, still the dominant force behind much of the music the public heard and eventually bought, felt no need to be more encompassing to what was considered a spent force commercially. Girl Groups were a holdover from 1960's: Brill Building song craft, Motown and Phil Spector, sounds that had defined a decade but were now considered old hat.

The most significant change was with how female groups evolved: There were still the vocal groups that the Girl Group monicker applied to, like the Pointer Sisters, but a wave of all-female and female fronted bands, like Blondie, Heart, Fanny and The Runaways made huge inroads into the public eye. Starting with the 1980's, the charts once again became filled with all-female bands and vocal groups in a very big way, not just emerging from the shadows of well-known solo artists like Prince and Rick James, but in the New Wave sound, where women played a vital part of its success.

Sweet Sensation, part of a wave of Hispanic acts that made huge inroads into the Pop charts, including a #1 Billboard Hot 100 single in 1990, the very first Hispanic Group to achieve this feat. (l-r) Sheila Vega, Betty LeBron and Margie Fernandez. Photo by Roy Volkmann, courtesy of Atlantic Records.

What was most surprising about Girl Groups of the 1980's, in addition to the gender demographic, was the ethnic dynamic: Bands with non-white members, vocal groups with Hispanic members and multi-ethnic groups as well became part of the landscape. New music trends also fueled this expansion, such as Hip-Hop, Freestyle and a wave of British Girl Groups who were heavily influenced by 1960's American Girl Groups, much in the same way 1960's British Rock bands were influenced by 1950's American Black Rock and Rollers.

Most of all, the 1980's set the stage for a music revolution by women in the coming decade that would change all of the rules and allow Girl Groups to finally shed their old moniker and into new music forms and acts that would set their own standards of success with or without men for the first time in popular culture.

Our tracks this week: Title, Artist, Source, Year

First Part
1. Vacation, The Go-Go's, Vacation, 1982
2. In My House, The Mary Jane Girls, Only Four You, 1984
3. Edge of a Broken Heart, Vixen, Vixen, 1988
4. Hooked On You (remix), Sweet Sensation, Get It While It's Hot, 1987
5. Automatic, The Pointer Sisters, Breakout, 1983
6. C'Mon Let's Go, Girlschool, Hit and Run, 1981
7. Venus, Bananarama, True Confessions, 1986

Second Part
8. The Men All Pause, Klymaxx, Meeting In The Ladies Room, 1984
9. Mama's Never Seen Those Eyes, The Forester SistersThe Forester Sisters, 1986
10. How Long (Betcha Gotta Chick On The Side) [Remix], Salt-N-Pepa, Hot, Cool and Vicious, 1987
11. Twist Barbie, Shonen Knife, Burning Farm, 1983
12. Nasty Girl, Vanity 6, Vanity 6, 1982

13. Walk Like An Egyptian, The Bangles, Different Light, 1986

To download this file, please click this link.

Love to you all.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner

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