Girl Groups Of The Late 1950s And The 1960s

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How have girl groups of the late 1950s and the 1960s in America drawn on and contributed to broader trends in post-war American and British popular music?
The Shirelles, The Supremes, The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes, The Marvelettes and The Crystals: these are just a few names of the many girl groups of the late 1950s and the 1960s, a time period that is also known as the girl group era. Many 1960s girl groups from America were inspired by trends from their predecessors and other earlier popular music. In turn, despite often being seen as interchangeable and irrelevant to musical history, these girl groups went on to influence trends in popular music that came into existence at a later time. Although there are countless characteristics of girl
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Despite the fact that they were usually written by older and often male songwriters, common issues that were discussed in the songs are romance, heartache, the never ending search for true love and other, similar teenage drama. This made the lyrics, like the image, very engaging and relatable to the audience of the groups. The early girl groups kept their lyrics fairly light and optimistic, but during the ‘60s a new rawness of emotion and a certain darkness emerged in girl groups’ songs. An example is ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ (1960) in which The Shirelles do not just describe an ideal romantic scenario, but go on to question its durability and permanence. The Shangri-Las took teenage angst to an even higher extreme in ‘Leader of the Pack’ (1964), which tells a ‘Romeo and Juliet’-style narrative where a ‘good girl’ loses her ‘bad boy’, the ‘leader of the pack’, to a motor cycle crash after her parents pressured her into breaking up with him. A different side to girl group lyrics, often combined with the teenage drama theme, is the description of the trendy dances of the time (e.g. the twist in ‘Twistin’ Postman’ (1962) by the Marvelettes)

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