The 1990s were a fantastic era for music, and a big part of that was the incredible girl groups that ruled the scene. While boy bands ruled the decade, the girls were not left behind. Armed with messages of female empowerment, girl bands surged the music scene, flooding the stages. The Spice Girls, TLC, and Destiny’s Child were among the absolute best, and their songs like “No Scrubs” and “Wannabe” are timeless classics that still make us groove today.
But the ’90s had more to offer than just these iconic groups. There were also gems like The Chicks (who changed their name in 2020), B*Witched, and All Saints. While they might not be as famous now, listening to their music can transport you right back to your teenage years, complete with slip dresses, butterfly clips, and heated debates with friends over your favorite Spice Girl.
These girl groups didn’t just rock the ’90s; they paved the way for the new generation of girl groups like Little Mix, Blackpink, and Fifth Harmony.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the best girl bands in the 90s:
The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were undoubtedly the essence of the ’90s, and if you didn’t love them, you might have missed out on some serious ’90s fun. Comprising Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), they became the bestselling girl group ever during their heyday.
The Spice Girls brought a whole lot of spice to our lives, and it’s evident by their incredible success. They burst into our cultural scene in 1996 with “Wannabe,” instantly becoming a global phenomenon. Their debut album, “Spice,” sold over 31 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling album by a female group in history. Throughout their career, they sold over 80 million records globally, earning them numerous record-breaking titles, including the best-selling female group of all time, one of the top-selling pop groups ever, and the biggest British pop phenomenon since Beatlemania. If anyone could rival the angelic crooners of The Beatles, it was certainly these spirited Brits who stood for “girl power.”
Their success extended to hit albums, a feature film (“Spice World: The Movie”), and a staggering amount of merchandise. Halliwell, also known as Ginger, left the group in 1998, leading to a years-long hiatus for the band.
Can a band that gave us Beyoncé really be anything less than top-tier? It’s hard to imagine. Destiny’s Child stood out as one of the most popular girl groups of the late ’90s, evolving from a quartet to their best-known trio lineup with Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams. This beloved R&B girl group of the late ’90s won hearts with their girl-next-door charm and Southern warmth. Their songs featured empowering lyrics that made them feel like those cool, older sisters you couldn’t wait to hang out with.
Destiny’s Child began their journey in Houston in 1990 under a different name but shot to mainstream fame in 1999 with their second album, “The Writing’s on the Wall,” featuring chart-toppers like “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name.” These two latter songs remain iconic anthems of the ’90s. As a group, they sold over 60 million records worldwide.
While Destiny’s Child officially disbanded in 2006, they bid farewell at the NBA All-Star Game, leaving a mark with a fantastic final group performance. Fans never gave up hope of a reunion, and their wish came true during Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl performance, where they sang “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women,” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” They’ve also pursued successful solo careers, with Beyoncé becoming one of the most renowned modern artists.
In the ’90s, TLC was a groundbreaking girl group that left a lasting impact. They were pioneers in both fashion and music, inspiring young teens to embrace their uniqueness. Their legacy lives on, and every ’90s child can still belt out the choruses of these timeless songs. They taught us more than just music; they defined the ’90s vocabulary with the iconic “No Scrubs.”
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, they embodied female empowerment and dominated the decade with ten top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including chart-toppers like “Creep,” “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” and “Unpretty.” Their 1994 album “CrazySexyCool” even received a rare diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), making history as the only female group to achieve this. Globally, TLC sold over 71 million records, earning them the title of the best-selling American girl group ever.
Even though Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes tragically passed away in 2002, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas continued as a duo, never considering replacing their dear friend. Despite facing hardships, TLC’s music continues to resonate, reminding us to stay true to ourselves and not chase after unrealistic dreams. They were known for their catchy tunes, vibrant videos, and unforgettable lyrics, making the ’90s a fantastic musical era.
Salt-N-Pepa, the hip-hop girl group, fearlessly tackled taboo topics surrounding women’s sexual freedom with hits like “Push It” and “Let’s Talk About Sex.” They burst into the scene in the late 1980s and continued to dominate the charts throughout the ’90s. With their bold lyrics, innovative beats, and lively music videos, they left an indelible mark in the music world, solidifying their status as one of the most beloved girl groups of the ’90s.
In 2022, they came back together to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During this event, Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper reflected on the group’s enduring impact, highlighting how their message of strength and independence inspired women everywhere, including herself. She also expressed gratitude to Salt and Pepa for their mentorship and emphasized the importance of their relationship. Their story was even featured in a 2021 Lifetime film titled “Salt-N-Pepa.”
This Irish girl band, hailing from a land known for its musical talent, made waves not only in Europe but also in North America. B*Witched is the ’90s girl group known mainly for their catchy hit “C’est La Vie.” You might not recall many other songs from them, but their iconic dance moves and denim-on-denim style made quite an impression in the late ’90s.
They released two albums and eight singles, all of which secured spots on the U.K. Top 20 chart. Impressively, four of these singles reached the number-one position on the U.K. Singles Chart. By 2002, they had sold over 3 million albums worldwide. With their catchy tunes and upbeat spirit, B*Witched knew how to make the ’90s unforgettable and live by the motto “c’est la vie.”
Comprised of Edele Lynch, Keavy Lynch, Lindsay Armaou, and Sinéad O’Carroll, they even toured alongside *NSYNC and Britney Spears. However, their journey hit a snag in 2002 when O’Carroll left the group, and Sony dropped them. However, they reunited in 2012 for a tour and again in 2023 for the podcast “Starting Over With B*Witched.”
All Saints was formed in 1993, initially with Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis, and Simone Rainford. Then, in 1996, sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton joined the crew. Although they didn’t skyrocket to Spice Girls-level fame, their tracks like “Never Ever,” “Under the Bridge,” “Bootie Call,” and “I Know Where It’s At” from their 1997 debut album carved a memorable place in our hearts.
Adding songs like “Pure Shores” and “Black Coffee” to their repertoire, they have a fantastic collection of hits that deserve recognition. They went their separate ways in 2001, but, like many ’90s girl groups, they reunited in 2013 and began making new music.
The Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks are the most famous country girl group of all time, transforming from their bluegrass beginnings to become a force in ’90s music. These talented ladies formed in Dallas in 1989, spending six years touring bluegrass festivals and small venues before catching the attention of a major label. Their iconic lineup, featuring Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer, and Martie Maguire, was solidified in 1992. By 1998, they hit it big with songs like “There’s Your Trouble” and “Wide Open Spaces.” They released hit after hit and remarkably accumulated 13 Grammy Awards.
They had become the top-selling all-female band and the biggest-selling country group in the U.S., with 30.5 million certified albums sold and 27.5 million albums sold in the U.S. alone. It’s safe to say that the Dixie Chicks have been soaring high since the ’90s.
However, their fame didn’t shield them from controversy. In 2003, Natalie Maines made critical comments about President Bush and the Iraq War during a concert, resulting in immediate backlash. The band received death threats, was effectively blacklisted by country radio, and never fully recovered.
Despite the challenges, the Dixie Chicks made a comeback, releasing “Taking the Long Way” in 2006, which won five Grammys, including Album of the Year. The album featured tracks like “Not Ready to Make Nice,” “The Long Way Around,” and “Everybody Knows,” all of which reflected on their tumultuous journey.
En Vogue is the epitome of ’90s style, as iconic as a one-shouldered top and clear mascara. Yet, they are more than just a fantastic ’90s girl band; they stand as one of the most successful female groups of all time. Founded in 1989, the group is renowned for their exceptional vocal harmonies, using their music to convey powerful messages and make the world a better place.
Their debut single in 1990, “Hold On,” kicks off with a flawless minute-long harmony—a common musical gem of that era. In 1992, they hit the top 10 in both the U.S. and U.K. with their second album, “Funky Divas.” This album not only achieved multi-platinum status but also introduced us to unforgettable pop singles like “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” and “Giving Something He Can Feel.” En Vogue’s achievements are impressive, with seven MTV Video Music Awards, three Soul Train Awards, two American Music Awards, and seven Grammy nominations to their name.
Despite some lineup changes over the years, En Vogue still managed to notch up six top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits. In 2018, they made a triumphant return with their first album in 14 years, “Electric Café,” proving that they still had the magic touch. Their music not only entertained us but also encouraged us to “free our minds” and savor the memories created by these talented and soulful ladies.
SHeDAISY is a country sister trio with a pop twist that had crossover appeal. Comprised of Kristyn, Kelsi, and Kassidy Osborn, this band rode the late-’90s wave of female country pop, following the stylistic path of Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and the Dixie Chicks.
Their debut album, “The Whole Shebang,” hit the scene in 1999 and propelled them to stardom with the breakthrough single “Little Goodbyes,” which climbed to number three on the country charts. “I Will…But” also reached the second spot, and “This Woman Needs” became their third Top Ten hit, helping “The Whole Shebang” earn platinum status.
Their songs, such as “Little Goodbyes” and “I Will… But,” made waves on the country charts in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Adding to the ’90s nostalgia, they even made an appearance on the popular Disney Channel series “So Weird” in 1999. Their final album was released in 2006, and since then, they’ve mostly stepped out of the spotlight to focus on their families.
Remember Dream? If not, here’s a quick refresher. They were Diddy’s girl group before Danity Kane. While the lineup shifted a bit over the years, the core quartet included Holly Blake-Arnstein, Melissa Schuman, Ashley Poole, and Diana Ortiz. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, these talented ladies were scouted by talent agent Judith Fontaine when they were just in their early teens in the late ’90s.
Dream was the girl group that closed out the ’90s and brought us catchy tunes. Originally formed in 1998 under a different name (First Warning), Dream went through some changes and caught the attention of Sean Combs, who signed them to his label, Bad Boy Records. After that, they embarked on their professional music career. By 2000, they hit it big with their debut album, “It Was All a Dream,” featuring their most popular single, “He Loves U Not.” This catchy track reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and its music video also made its mark on the iconic MTV show we all miss, TRL.
If you were a fan of these ladies, your dreams of a reunion came true. In April 2016, Dream announced a summer tour as part of the 2016 MY2K Tour, sharing the stage with acts like 98 Degrees, O-Town, and Ryan Cabrera – a nostalgic lineup for anyone stuck in the ’90s and early 2000s.