When considering which might be the ten most successful girl groups, you may well be surprised to discover that countries other than the USA and the UK have produced some excellent bands that have a very strong following. Starting at number ten:
10. Speed – 20 million records sold
This all female Japanese group specialises in vocals and dance. It comprises of four girls, Hiroko, Eriko, Takako and Hitoe; all former students of the Okinawa Actors School. They made their début in August 1996 and were an instant success and eventually, with sales in excess 20 million albums and singles, became the most successful Asian girl group ever. They disbanded in 2000 in order to pursue solo careers, but reunited in 2008.
9. T-ara – 26 million records sold
A South Korean girl group that first made an appearance in 2009. Originally with five members, it became six in 2009 and finally ended up with eight by 2012. They have a unique method of leadership within the group as they use a rotating system. With hits such as Bo Peep Bo Peep, after a break, they have recently released a new single called “No-9”.
8. 2NE1 – 27 million records sold
This is a South Korean girl group comprising of four members. The group was put together in 2009 by YG Entertainment and they released their début single in May 2009 called “Fire”. Since then they have had several successes and in 2012, The New York Times said that their concert at the New Jersey Prudential Center was one of the “Best Concerts of 2012”. In total, by October 2012, they had sold around 27 million digital downloads.
7. AKB48 – 27.3 million records sold
AKB48 is a Japanese girl group with an extraordinary 89 members. They are one of the highest earning groups in the world – in excess of US$226 million in Japan alone. By January 2013, the group had produced 18 top singles, including “Beginner” and “Heavy Rotation”.
6. Bananarama – 30 million records sold
Three British girls who became a success in 1981. With their unique vocal style of singing in unison rather than harmonising, their original music is often still played. Originally comprising of three best friends, Karen, Sara and Siobhan, Karen and Sara still sing as Bananarama today.
5. Girls’ Generation – 37 million records sold
Girls’ Generation is from South Korea and has nine members. They first became noticed in 2009 when their single, “Gee” was named as South Korea’s “Song of the Decade”. Several excellent follow-up singles ensured them continued success. They began a major tour in 2013 which ends on February 2014 in Macau.
4. The Pussycat Dolls – 50 million records sold
An American pop group created in 1995, the girls were sassy and talented. Their début album called PCD turned out to be a best-seller and contained number-one singles such as “Don’t Cha” and “Stickwitu”. Selling 50 million records worldwide, they are one of the most successful all female groups ever. Disbanded in 2009, several of the members have successful solo careers.
3. Destiny’s Child – 50 million records sold
Destiny’s Child was put together in 1990 in Houston, Texas. The line-up was constantly changing due to both legal and internal conflicts, however Beyoncé, Michelle Williams, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett were eventually signed by Columbia Records. Their second album entitled The Writing’s on the Wall was a huge success. After further changes they are now a trio and have sold in excess of 60 million records worldwide to date.
2. TLC – 65 million records sold
Another American girl group, TLC covered a wide range on music genres, including new jack swing, hip hop, funk and soul. They enjoyed their main success during the 90s and early 2000s. Their début album was called Ooooooohhh, selling 6 million copies and producing hits such as “Baby-Baby-Baby” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”. During their career they have sold more than 23 million albums.
1. Spice Girls – 75 million records sold
Love them or hate them, the British Spice Girls were a sensation. Formed in 1994, they soon acquired nicknames of “Ginger Spice, Scary Spice, Sporty Spice, Baby Spice and Posh Spice ”. In 1996, together with Virgin Records, they made their first single, “Wannabe”; it immediately became a success in approximately 30 countries. Their début album “Spice” sold 28 million copies and the term “girl power” became synonymous after their movie Spice World. Their huge success is still unchallenged.