The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of the Girl Group

Here’s some useless but interesting information I scraped from the US Billboard Hot 100. During research for my ongoing project examining 1990s protest music, I started thinking more about the girl group phenomenon and how it seemingly disappeared after Beyonce turned her back on her bandmates. All that remains are the occasional country duo or k-pop/euro-pop group. Personally, I miss the girl group. Growing up, I secretly listened to a lot of TLC and En Vogue. Today, I proudly turn the volume up. I hope we find a way to save the genre. The uptick in girl group popularity in the 1980s, which led to the 1990s renaissance, is due to, in my opinion, the explosion of New Jack Swing. Today, it appears most successful artists are solo acts.

In any event, what you’re looking at is the number of positions a girl group held on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1997, girl groups had a little less than ten percent of all of the Billboard Hot 100 spots, which is quite remarkable, considering all the other band types out there (solo, boy band, orchestra, mixed, etc.).

Here’s to hoping for a return of the girl group—preferably r&b.

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