Hit ParadeSlate

Hit Parade: Be My Baby-Baby-Baby Edition

What is a girl group? In the ’60s, harmonizing ladies saved rock & roll. In the ’90s, sisters with voices gave pop some TLC.

Girl groups have long been underestimated—even by the producers and managers who created them.

For women listeners, girl groups narrated profound emotions and expressed personal freedom—even when the singers were not so free themselves. For male listeners, girl groups provided inspiration, and a way to express matters of the heart.

And for all listeners across rock and soul history, girl groups pushed music forward. In the ’60s, the Shirelles, Marvelettes, Ronettes and Shangri-Las kept rock afloat between Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In the ’70s and ’80s, girl groups from the Emotions to Exposé rebooted dance music. In the ’90s, En Vogue, TLC and Destiny’s Child fused hip-hop style with old-school soul—and the Spice Girls fired up a new generation through Girl Power.

Join Chris Molanphy as we shimmy and strut through decades of bops to give girl groups the respect they deserve. You’ll love them tomorrow, because friendship never ends.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.

Want more Hit Parade? Join Slate Plus to unlock monthly early-access episodes. Plus, you’ll get ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/hitparadeplus to get access wherever you listen.

Content retrieved from: https://slate.com/podcasts/hit-parade/2024/05/how-girl-groups-from-the-ronettes-to-tlc-changed-pop