Where Did All the Ponies Go?

Due to an up-and-coming project of ours, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the history of girl bands. Everybody knows there are thousands of them and few people know who they are. Motown was a great scene for women, and they probably remain the most well respected female-groups, though they always had male backing bands. The 1960’s showed some love to the girls, but none of the acts lasted very long. The 1970’s and 1980’s had some great acoustic groups who I believe are the most under-appreciated female acts on record. The late 80’s and early 1990’s spawned the raucous, riotous Grrrl band movement, which has left its legacy on all-female ensembles to this day. The overwhelming majority of all-girl groups continue to play grungy feminist/political power punk music that reminds us that no one is listening.  The 1990’s Pop scene ironically had the highest grossing girl group in history (“Tell me what you want, what you really really want”) while remaining THE decade of the pretty boy band. Girl music of the 90’s, if you could find it, pretty much turned hyper-sexed, mass-produced (think Destiny’s Child), e-strumentation. Yuck.

However, in the last 10 years or so, as self-promotion becomes ever more the norm, and the word “Indie” means less and less, it seems there is a greater presence of girls making great music, across genres. I’m partial to the harmonies myself, as you’ll see. Here a just a couple of my favorites of all-girl, get-out-of-my-video groups from the last few decades:

1960’s – The Ace of Cups

1980’s – The Roches

1990’s – Luscious Jackson

2000’s – Partyline

Lately :

Vivian Girls

Electralane

Sleater-Kinney

Close Calls:

Marina and the Diamonds, Florence and the Machine (both great songwriters, but don’t really count as bands.)

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~ by Vy on July 7, 2011.

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