The Music Development of Girl Groups

Girl groups weren't always the talk of the industry, but with music development and the drive to be heard they have become a staple.

Long before Little Mix and Fifth Harmony were the powerhouses they are, the music industry was predominantly male driven.

It wasn’t too long ago that women of the 1920’s and 1930’s came together in order to sing and help music development that would really put women on the map. With angelic voices and powerhouse singers, the path started to be paved for females in music to leave their mark and make an everlasting impression.

As women first entered music, rarely were they allowed to use their own songs and play instruments and as the first girl groups started forming they were mainly out of sister’s who realized their voices could be heard better if there were more of them. The Hyers sisters were the first girl group who opened up the ears to those around them and created opportunities for black and female artists trying to start a life in music. Their sound was soon taken over by the Boswell sisters, who took over the sound of the Hyers after listening to their music in the 1920’s. At the time it was categorized as race music, but, it with the Boswell sisters using the Hyers sisters music it allowed to be seen as fresh and inventive. The Boswell sisters opened the doors for many women that came after them and have been used to continue music development for females in the industry.

During the 1950’s, the world began to see a difference in the way the musical groups started to form. The girl groups never went away, but the sound did change from where they started. Young people started to want something a little more edgy and a little less soft. Young women began to take to doo-wop and rock, but it took a major scandal for girl groups to become a big hit again. Dick Clark had been known to take cash bribes to only play certain songs on air and along with the bribery scandal, came the creation of the “Top 40 formats,” and it changed the way people listened to music. Record labels began to turn back to girl groups in order to appeal to a wide mass of teenagers. Their focus was on young women appealing to other young women and the sound of rock being sang by women.

By the 1960’s, groups like, The Crystals, had a focus more on realistic issues and love, with songs like “He’s A Rebel” and “He Hit Me,” which was a song based off an abusive relationship, but the woman going back because he loved her. These were songs that other women were relating to and gave them the outlet to speak about it. Ultimately this movement of women getting into rock and singing what they wanted allowed them to really be independent.  Although these songs were supposed to put women in the center of a drama filled teenage life or a life where women wanted to portray the roles of other women, they helped women understand their roles in the music industry seen by the eyes of many.

The contributions to the music industry by girl groups has influenced a lot of today’s groups as well as female artists. Groups like The Bangles, En Vogue, Destiny’s Child and the Spice Girls have been inspired because of artists from the earlier years.  As music has changed over the years, one thing has remained is the positive voice women are giving each other.

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