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by Marvin van der Weyde
Girl groups have long been the cause of much excitement and turmoil. Beauty, glamour and charm on the outside, but often complete with hate and conflict on the inside.
You frequently hear of girl groups splitting up - partly or completely, replacing members and carrying on as though nothing happened, desperately struggling for success. Is this the destiny of every manufactured girl group? Will girl groups of the new millennium follow the same path as those in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s? Are tacky copycats what works for the charts?
An average girl group usually consists of between three and five female singers, with one doing most of the job while the rest are used to get more attention, more press coverage, more TV airtime and, in effect, more money. But on the other hand, whoever considers putting a girl group together should have in mind that "mo' women" often means "mo' problems".
Female pop groups are not a 90s invention. At first the industry brought us the Supremes, or rather the Primettes who later became the Supremes. Who doesn't know hits like "Baby Love", "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Stop! In The Name Of Love"? They have been an influence for many artists, and many girl groups follow the image and style the Supremes came up with.
Or rather the people responsible for their careers. In the beginning The Supremes were a close harmony group with all members sharing the vocals, but soon after Diana Ross started singing leads, taking the front position and all the attention. Gradually, the rest of the group changed into a less stable component, as the members were being replaced many times.
More soul girl bands
In 1995 Terry released a solo album, "Southern Gal", which wasn't very successful. However, at the end of 1996 En Vogue made an incredible comeback with the classic "Don't Let Go (Love)". They had also recorded a third album, but during the works Dawn Robinson, who often took the lead vocals, left the band. "EV3", wich was clearly a snare to Dawn, contained a hit single "Whatever", written by Babyface, and on the whole was fairly successful. The divas released a Greatist Hits album in 1998, and also contributed to a soundtrack for "Soul Food".
While everybody thought En Vogue were over for the world of music, they have appeared recently once again. Cindy, Terry and Maxine, looking better than ever, brought us a brand new album "Masterpiece Theatre" along with a new single "Riddle" acompanied by a truly divalicious video, while Dawn has had her come back with Lucy Pearl.
In the beginning of 1999 they returned with their great single "No Scrubs", wich was their biggest hit to date and also a track that started the men-bashing trend in the female R&B scene. "Fanmail" has been also a great chart success, empowered by the second big hit, "Unpretty". However, rumours say that TLC have come to an end.
Eternal have been the UK's best selling R&B girl group ever, bringing hits such as "Stay" and "Just A Step From Heaven". In 1995 Eternal have been reduced to three, as Louise left the band to pursue a solo career, but that didn't keep them from carrying on with their success.
The duet with BeBe Winans, "I Wanna Be The Only One", made them successful all over Europe.
However, some trouble was evidently brewing when it transpired that, while Easther and Vernie had left their management, Kelle was to remain. Shortly after that Kelle left the group. This may well explain the disappointing chart positions for both acts, once successful together, now divided and apparently weaker.
Discovered around '93/'94, the Spice Girls left their old management, and got in contact with Simon Fuller, who helped them to land a record deal with Virgin records. Their first single "Wannabe" was a number 1 hit in more than 30 countries, "Say You'll Be There" was a top 5 hit all over the globe, with "2 Become 1" repeating its same succes.
Having hits in the USA and Australia, "Spice" sold in huge quantities worldwide. In 1997 they released "Spiceworld", wich wasn't such a big hit as "Spice", but still it was a huge seller. Nobody could any longer deny that they'd made a mark on the global scene.
Then it happened. 1998 saw Geri Halliwell leaving the group, to pursue a solo career. Still enjoying No. 1 hits in the U.K. with "Viva Forever" and "Goodbye", the Spice Girls started solo careers, with Melanie C being the most succesful so far. Yet their new album as a foursome is expected later this year.
They also did a song for the movie "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" entitled "Get On The Bus". It was a hit in severall countries, but it was "Bills Bills Bills" from the praised-to-heaven "The Writhings On The Wall" album, that made them one of the biggest names in the industry.
Life seemed beautiful and we were being told how close the group is and how different they are from the rest, as they're not quite manufactured. Then suddenly the two backing singers, La Tavia and Le Toya, have been sacked. Or rather, as the girls confess, kept in the dark by the management about high-profile appearances such as the Grammy Awards and the Soul Train Awards, in an effort to bring in new members Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams.
However Beyonce and Kelly with two new members (albeit miming to La Tavia and Le Toya's vocals in the post-split videos) have been topping the charts and smiling in interviews, trying to convince the public that everything was still perfect for Destiny's Child.
That is, until Farrah Franklin exited the group after being in Destiny's Child for only 5 months. It may seem ridiculous, but the group plans to continue their career as a trio.