A sixties girl group canon?
January 15, 2013 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I love the sound of sixties girl groups. I have this compilation but I want more. But boy there's a lot of compilations out there, often with the same songs... Are there any particularly good compilations out there worth getting? What groups were more than one-hit wonders and deserve special attention? Any great books, websites, documentaries? (Cheeky extra question: I'm also interested in 60s garage girl bands too)
posted by liquidindian to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
For a British take on the girl group phenomenon you could do a lot worse than investigate Bob Stanley's Dream Babes compilations. They are uniformly fantastic!
posted by merocet at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and while you're at it get hold of as many as you can of the Girls in the Garage series for your underground 60's garage girls fix. Again wonderful and covers girl groups from all over the world.
posted by merocet at 4:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

What groups were more than one-hit wonders and deserve special attention?

The Shirelles, the Supremes, the Ronettes, the Crystals.

Are there any particularly good compilations out there worth getting?

I haven't heard these compilations, but the Rhino label is a good bet:
The Best Of The Girl Groups, Vol. 1
The Best Of The Girl Groups, Vol. 2
posted by John Cohen at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you were to get a good Phil Spector compilation you'd get the Crystals and Ronettes stuff, plus the fabulously wonderful Darlene Love, in all her various incarnations. And as a bonus you'll get all the other great stuff, Righteous Brothers et al. Nobody had a greater voice from that period than Darlene Love...except Aretha of course.
posted by PaulBGoode at 4:58 PM on January 15, 2013

posted by greta simone at 5:00 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Back to Mono is really good, if you want a Phil Spector compilation.
posted by k8lin at 5:02 PM on January 15, 2013

For both men and women, you could also try the Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 album. It's available on Spotify, if you're a member there.
posted by k8lin at 5:04 PM on January 15, 2013

Have a Google for Northern soul girl groups -- you should find some compatible, but less common, stuff in that mix
posted by kmennie at 5:19 PM on January 15, 2013

Women of Motown.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2013

You're going to get a lot of overlap in girl group compilations. It's probably better to go on a group-by-group best-of basis wherever possible. (Though, even then, you can expect half a dozen versions of "Tell Him" or whatever.)

The biggies are the Shirelles, the Supremes, and Martha and the Vandellas.

The Angels, Blossoms, Chiffons, Crystals, Cookies, Dixie Cups, Exciters, Flirtations, Marvelettes, Orlons, Ronettes, Shangri-Las, and Velvelettes are all worth a good hard look, too.

Also, despite the lack of a "group," I'd go ahead and throw Lesley Gore's greatest hits into the mix, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:34 PM on January 15, 2013

Early Dusty Springfield was strongly influenced by the girl group sound (start with A Girl Called Dusty). Also Ace Records has some good compilations of obscurities (see the Where The Girls Are and Girls With Guitars series), depending on how deep you want to get into the genre. Oh, and I love the Shangri-Las, there's this comp from RPM which I'd recommend but there appear to be many others.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 5:54 PM on January 15, 2013

Destroy that Boy is a compilation that's constantly in rotation here.

You might also just plain like the Del Moroccos.
posted by peagood at 5:59 PM on January 15, 2013

You definitely want the compilations that John Cohen, greta simone, and k8lin refer to. I'd also recommend the 2010 album Release Me, by The Like, although it's a retro-sounding album, and not authentic/a compilation at all.
posted by kimota at 7:14 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

For books you might want to check out -

Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era by Ken Emerson, which features a lot of the people who wrote material for the girl groups, including Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann, and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, and

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown (there are a few books about Spector but this is the only one I've read so far).

I think both Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love have also written autobiographies.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 9:57 PM on January 15, 2013

At least read Ronnie Spector's Wikipedia page if not her autobiography. Chilling.

Also, I'd specifically recommend the song "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne, which is likely to not make the cut on '60s comps since it came out in 1970. (Sorry for the lack of links; typing on a smartphone.)
posted by John Cohen at 7:02 AM on January 16, 2013

The two Rhino compilations that John Cohen lists above are a great overview.

If you want to dig deeper, I really like "Growin' Up Too Fast" and the aforementioned "One Kiss Can Lead to Another." There's some overlap among these sets, but they're all fantastic.
posted by wolfnote at 9:34 AM on January 16, 2013

Bear in mind that the true mark of greatness in any girl-group compilation is its inclusion of at least one number by Reparata and the Delrons.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:02 PM on January 16, 2013

There are a load of great Japanese girl groups that you rarely hear of. A good introduction is Nippon Girls. Other great Japanese girl groups are The Peanuts (60s) and Pink Lady (70s). And Three Cats.

The Apricots and (the group in Kill Bill) are modern, but play old style.

And while she's not a group, or from the 60s, Hirayama Miki had some wonderful songs.
posted by nevan at 5:20 PM on January 16, 2013

I forgot to mention Pinky Chicks, who do this wonderful Japanese Chipmunks-style song about getting drunk waiting for the boyfriend, Yopparatta O-Jou-san.
posted by nevan at 5:50 PM on January 16, 2013

That One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost And Found link above doesn't seem to work any more, so here's another.
posted by galaksit at 5:59 PM on February 16, 2013

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