The Girl Groups


Course description

In the 50s and 60s, a style of Doo-Wop-infused Rock 'n' Roll music known as the "Girl Group" sound was all over the airwaves. The baby-boomer generation lived their formative experiences to the songs of the Shirelles, the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las, and the Supremes. 

It was music that teemed with electricity, passion and life. It was also one of the only places in pop culture where young girls could go to hear their own stories, concerns, and traumas, sung back to them by some of the most exciting performers of the Rock 'n' Roll era. 

Songwriters like Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann were tackling difficult and provocative issues, such as alienation, sexuality, class-consciousness, poverty, death, war, and domestic abuse.

Despite all this, today the genre is largely dismissed and relegated to oldies stations. People are unaware of the emotional depth, social commentary, and scope of vision in this music. 

With the use of audio, video, and live demonstration, we will revisit the genre, exploring the performers, writers, producers, production trends, and lyrical and musical content that made the "Girl Group" sound such a compelling and relevant style of music.

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