Girl Groups and the History of Rock and Roll

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The conventional wisdom is that rock and roll "died" between 1959 and 1964 - roughly the period between Buddy Holly's plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa and the Beatles' more upbeat arrival at JFK airport. In this scenario, The Day The Music Died is only the beginning, as Elvis enters the Army, Chuck Berry goes to jail, Jerry Lee Lewis is ruined, and Little Richard leaves the stage for the church. By the late 1950s, a number of female vocal groups began to produce songs. The groups were 2-3 women one sang a lead part while the others sang a background vocal. This was the birth of "girl groups". This sound was the trend for the early 1960s. Girl groups remained on the Billboard pop charts in 1962 to 1965 but, by 1965 the popularity of this sound started to fade. Although girl groups were only successful for a short time, their sound influenced many other types of music, and it continues to have an impact on performers today. The girl groups were an important part of the early days of rock and roll as well as the history of women in American popular music. The popularity of the girl groups marked a point in history for women in rock and roll. For the first time it established a specific style of performing that listeners associated only with women. The girl group sound was the result of a producers, songwriters, instrumentalists, and manager, in addition to the women who sang the songs. The producer, were significant in determining a particular group's success or failure. The girls groups had little to no control over what was produced. Some rock historians would argue because of their lack of control over there own music, the girl groups were all very similar and would not have succeeded without the guidance of others to distinguish them from everyone else. The performers who made up the girl groups were generally very young, most were in their teens and early twenties, which put them at a great disadvantage in terms of artistic control. Female artists were for...
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