These are my top twenty "Girl Group" records from 1956 - 1963, presented in order from #1 to #20.


Eddie My Love by The Teen Queens 3/10/1956 #14
Born To Be With You by The Chordettes 6/2/1956 #5
Lay Down Your Arms by The Chordettes 10/13/1956 #16
Mr. Lee by The Bobbettes 8/12/1957 #6
Just Between You & Me by The Chordettes 9/16/1957 #8
Sugartime by The McGuire Sisters 1/6/1958 #1
Maybe by The Chantels 1/27/1958 #15
Lollipop by The Chordettes 3/10/1958 #2
Zorro by The Chordettes 5/26/1958 #17
Born Too Late by The Poni Tails 7/28/1958 #7
Tonight's the Night by The Shirelles 10/17/1960 #39
Will You Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles 12/12/1960 #1
Dedicated to the One I Love by The Shirelles 2/6/1961 #3
Mama Said by The Shirelles 5/1/1961 #4
Never On Sunday by The Chordettes 7/3/1961 #13
Look in My Eyes by The Chantels 9/11/1961 #14
I Love How You Love Me by The Paris Sisters 10/2/1961 #5
Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes 10/16/1961 #1
Big John by The Shirelles 10/23/1961 #21
Til by The Angels 12/4/1961 #14
There's No Other by The Crystals 12/11/1961 #20
Baby It's You by The Shirelles 1/6/1962 #8
Twistin Postman by The Marvelettes 3/3/1962 #34
Soldier Boy by The Shirelles 3/31/1962 #1
Uptown by The Crystals 4/28/1962 #13
I Sold My Heart to the Junkman by The Blue-Belles 5/12/1962 #15
Playboy by The Marvelettes 5/26/1962 #7
The Wah Watusi by The Orlons 6/23/1962 #2
Welcome Home Baby by The Shirelles 7/7/1962 #22
Beechwood 4 5789 by The Marvelettes 9/1/1962 #17
He's a Rebel by The Crystals 10/6/1962 #1
Stop the Music by The Shirelles 10/6/1962 #36
Don't Hang Up by The Orlons 11/3/1962 #4
Chains by The Cookies 12/1/1962 #17
Zip A Dee Do Dah by Bob B.Soxx & The Blue Jeans 12/8/1962 #8
Tell Him by The Exciters 12/15/1962 #4
Everybody Loves a Lover by The Shirelles 12/15/1962 #19
He's Sure The Boy I Love by The Crystals 1/19/1963 #11
South Street by The Orlons 3/2/1963 #3
He's So Fine by The Chiffons 3/9/1963 #1
Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby) by The Cookies 3/23/1963 #7
Foolish Little Girl by The Shirelles 4/20/1963 #4
Da Doo Ron Ron by The Crystals 5/11/1963 #3
Come and Get These Memories by Martha & the Vandellas 5/18/1963 #29
One Fine Day by The Chiffons 6/8/1963 #5
Not Me by The Orlons 7/6/1963 #12
Don't Say Goodnight and Mean Goodbye by The Shirelles 7/13/1963 #26
My Boyfriend's Back by The Angels 8/10/1963 #1
Heat Wave by Martha & the Vandellas 8/17/1963 #4
Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals 8/31/1963 #6
The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget by The Raindrops 8/31/1963 #17
Sally Go Round the Roses by The Jaynetts 9/7/1963 #2
Be My Baby by The Ronettes 9/14/1963 #2
Cross Fire by The Orlons 10/19/1963 #19
You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry by The Caravelles 11/23/1963 #3
Quicksand by Martha & the Vandellas 12/7/1963 #8

Girl Groups are a big part of the popular music of the late 1950's and early 1960's.  What exactly is a "Girl Group?"  Obviously it is a recording act made up of more than two female singers.  For the most part, these groups were exclusively female, but there are a few exceptions, such as The Orlons and The Exciters that had one male member.  Sometimes groups like Ruby & The Romantics are included as a "Girl Group" even though Ruby was the only female member.  The Essex was another group that could be considered a "Girl Group" as two of the four members were female.  While most of the Girl Groups are black, there are some exceptions, such as The Angels.  During The Elvis Era there were 22 artists that I have classified as "Girl Groups" and 49 Girl Group songs that made the Billboard top twenty.  Some Girl Groups you might expect to be listed here are not because their recordings were first released in 1964, most notably The Supremes and The Shangri-las.

Many consider The Chantels to be the first Girl Group of the rock and roll era.  Originally a five member group from The Bronx, they had a #15 hit with "Maybe" in 1958 which was #2 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Certainly, female vocal groups had been performing for a long time before The Chantels, but most of those, like The McGuire Sisters or The Fontane Sisters didn't typically sing r & b or rock and roll type songs.  As the music changed in 1956, they did cover some early rock and roll.  The Fontane Sisters cover of The Teen Queens' "Eddie My Love" actually charted higher than the original (#14 / #11) but they never recorded any original rock and roll.  So while The Fontane Sisters are not included in my list of Girl Groups, The McGuire Sisters are – due to their very popular "Sugartime" from 1958,  which is at least borderline rock and roll.  The Chordettes are also included.  Although they also covered "Eddie My Love," their 1958 hit, "Lollipop" was a #1 from 1958.  

Some reports indicate that The Shirelles derived their name from trying to find something that sounded like The Chantels.  However they got their name, they are clearly the Queens of The Elvis Era girl groups.  From 1960 to 1963 they placed twelve songs in the top 40, five of which made the top ten.  They had two number ones with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Soldier Boy."  They are clearly my favorite of the Girl Groups with four songs in my top twenty.

The Crystals are my second favorite Girl Group with three songs in the top twenty.  The problem here is that The Crystals were actually several different groups as producer Phil Specter mixed and matched the members as he juggled recording schedules between his studio in Los Angeles and the original group members' home in New York.  In whatever combination of personnel, the group had six top twenty Elvis Era records.

Two of The Marvelettes' three top twenty chart entries made my top twenty.  Part of the early Motown sound with their hits released on the Tamla label, they were precursors to The Supremes. 

Martha & The Vandellas, another Motown product (Gordy label) also score two records in my top twenty, including "Come and Get These Memories" which charted at #29 – see Under Rated.

Of the other groups included, The Poni-Tails and The Exciters are notable because they would qualify as "one hit wonders," placing no other singles in the top forty.

artist title highest ranking week debuted
Martha & the Vandellas Come and Get These Memories 29 5/18/1963
Martha & the Vandellas Heat Wave 4 8/17/1963
The Angels My Boyfriend's Back 1 8/10/1963
The Bobbettes Mr. Lee 6 8/12/1957
The Chantels Maybe 15 1/27/1958
The Chordettes Lollipop 2 3/10/1958
The Cookies Chains 17 12/1/1962
The Crystals Uptown 13 4/28/1962
The Crystals He's a Rebel 1 10/6/1962
The Crystals Da Doo Ron Ron 3 5/11/1963
The Exciters Tell Him 4 12/15/1962
The Marvelettes Please Mr. Postman 1 10/16/1961
The Marvelettes Playboy 7 5/26/1962
The Orlons Don't Hang Up 4 11/3/1962
The Poni Tails Born Too Late 7 7/28/1958
The Ronettes Be My Baby 2 9/14/1963
The Shirelles Will You Love Me Tomorrow 1 12/12/1960
The Shirelles Dedicated to the One I Love 3 2/6/1961
The Shirelles Mama Said 4 5/1/1961
The Shirelles Baby It's You 8 1/6/1962