In the ’80s, there were several girl bands and groups that became famous and helped empower women all over the world. We’re going to tell you which ones were the 31 best girl bands and groups from the 80s, so read on if you’d like to see who made the cut!
1. The Go-Go’s
First up on our list is The Go-Go’s, who was one of the biggest girl bands in the ’80s. They came out of the rock scene that was emerging out of Los Angeles, California. What made them different is that they played all of their instruments and even wrote all of their own music. They released their first album, Beauty And The Beat in 1981, and it is considered to be the tipping point into the alternative music scene.
You may know the band from We Got The Beat and Our Lips Are Sealed, which came from the album Beauty And The Beat. These two songs were two of their biggest hits ever and are still played today. Other albums that they released include Vacation and Talk Show before they broke up in 1985.
Throughout the years, They have broken up and gotten back together several times. Worldwide, they have sold over seven million albums and have been nominated for several awards including Best New Artist in 1982. In 2021, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
2. The Bangles
Next on our list is The Bangles, and we cannot talk about girl groups from the ’80s without mentioning them as they were one of the biggest female groups of the decade. One of their most famous songs is Walk Like An Egyptian. They had plenty of other hits in the ’80s with multiple tracks being in the Top 10 such as Manic Monday, In Your Room, Eternal Flame, and Hazy Shade Of Winter.
They were nominated for and won several awards through the ’80s including winning the Best International Group at the Brit Awards and winning Best Group Performance at the 1987 American Video Awards for the song Walk Like An Egyptian. The band broke up in 1989, but reformed in 1998, and released an album in 2003 called Doll Revolution. They also released another album called Sweetheart Of The Sun in 2011. In 2015, they received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the She Rocks Awards.
Up next is Heart, and while they are not an all-female group, they are considered to be one of the biggest girl bands from the ’80s. They formed near Seattle, and Ann and Nancy Wilson are the two most famous members of the band, although the band also included male members. The lineup has changed through the years, but the sisters have always been in the group.
What set them apart was that they were a mixture of heavy metal, folk, and hard rock, and are known for the amazing powerhouse vocals of the sisters also performing vocals. They are famous for songs such as Barracuda, Crazy On You, What About Love, Magic Man, Never, These Dreams, and All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You.
Worldwide, they sold over 35 million albums, with several Top 10 albums hitting the Billboard 200, and multiple songs that charted in the Top 10. On the Ultimate Classic Rock Top 100 list, they were ranked 49, and on the VH1 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, they were ranked 57. In 2013, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame cementing their legacy as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time and influenced several other bands such as Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, and more.
The next girl band we want to talk about is Bananarama, which is a girl group that was formed in 1980 in London, England. They started out with two girls from high school that decided to start a band, and they had several hits in the UK throughout their career. Some of their hit songs include Shy Boy, Really Saying Something, Love In The First Degree, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, Cruel Summer, Help, and I Want You Back.
Bananarama was so successful that they had 30 hit singles on the UK Singles Chart in the Top 50 between the years 1982 and 2009. The group had 11 songs reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US and was a part of the Second British Invasion within the country. They were nominated for several awards throughout their career although it wasn’t until 2018 that they won their first award in the Group of the Year category from Classic Pop Readers’ Awards.
5. The Pointer Sisters
The Pointer Sisters are known as one of the best female groups of the ’80s and came out of Oakland, California. While the lineup has slightly changed over the years, it’s always been a family affair. It started with three sisters, but one of the sisters died, which led to her daughter, and then later, her granddaughter joining the group to keep the family focus going.
They are a mix of musical genres including blues, soul, R&B, jazz, country, rock, jazz, and more, which helped them become so popular. You might know them from some of their hit songs such as Jump (For My Love), Automatic, He’s So Shy, Fire, I’m So Excited, and Slow Hand.
6. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
If you love rock and roll, then you probably have heard of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, who famously covered the iconic song I Love Rock ‘N Roll in 1982. The track landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed at the number one position for seven weeks. The group also had hit songs including Light Of Day, Bad Reputation, and I Hate Myself For Loving You.
Throughout the ’80s, they released five albums including I Love Rock ‘N Roll, Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth, Good Music, and Up Your Alley. The band released six more albums after that with the most recent being in 2022. Joan Jett is known as the Queen Of Rock And Roll, and in 2015, her group got into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Next is Exposé, which was a female group that focused on the Latin freestyle genre and was first formed in 1984, although several lineup changes occurred over the years. They had music that was popular in the dance clubs, and they made the Adult Contemporary charts along with the Mainstream Top 40 charts.
One of their most popular songs was Seasons Change from 1988 and were rated as the eighth most successful group by Billboard in 2015. Two albums that they released in the ’80s were Exposure in 1988 and What You Don’t Know in 1989. When their debut album came out, they had four hits within the Top 10 of the Billboard 100, which was unprecedented.
8. The Cover Girls
The Cover Girls are next, and they had a huge hit with the song Show Me, although they had other hits such as Because Of You, Wishing On A Star, Promise Me, Inside Outside, and Don’t Stop Now. They achieved their success in the later ’80s, with their debut album coming out in 1986 called Show Me, and We Can’t Go Wrong coming out in 1989. Here It Is came out in 1992, and then they released their last album in 1996 called Satisfy.
Attention all glam rock lovers, have you heard of Vixen? They were one of the popular female bands of the ’80s that were part of the glam metal scene out of Los Angeles and were compared to the female version of Bon Jovi. They had hit songs including Edge Of A Broken Heart, Cryin, and Love Made Me.
They released their first album in 1988, which hit 41 on the Billboard 200, and then their next album reached 52 on the same chart. While not quite as successful as some of the other female groups, they put out albums that were consistent and received well by fans of rock, glam, and even grunge.
10. Wilson Phillips
An all-female group we have to mention is Wilson Phillips who formed in 1989 in Los Angeles, and they were a pop group that had several hit songs over the years. You may know the tracks Hold On, Release Me, You’re In Love, and The Dream Is Still Alive. They released their first album in 1990, and it ended up selling more than 10 million copies. They won Billboard Music Awards, had four songs in the Top 10 off of their debut album, and were nominated for several Grammy Awards.
11. The Judds
Fans of country music might remember The Judds as they were one of the biggest female groups of the ’80s, and between 1983 and 1991, they released six albums. They had several hits including Mama He’s Crazy, Why Not Me, Girl’s Night Out, Have Mercy, and Cry Myself To Sleep.
They made history in country music since they won five Grammy Awards, had over 20 songs on the Hot Country Songs Billboard chart, won nine awards from the Country Music Association, and remain one of the biggest country music acts of all time.
12. The Carpenters
While The Carpenters began their career in the ’70s and had success, it was in the ’80s that they became a household name. Some of their hit songs from the ’80s include If I Had You, Touch Me When We’re Dancing, Something In Your Eyes, If We Try, and Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night.
13. The Gits
We had to include the punk and grunge female group The Gits because they were on their way to stardom and became pretty famous before their lead singer Mia Zapata was murdered in 1993. During their time, they had two studio albums and had hits including Precious Blood and Second Skin. They also released a live recording and had various compilations released during their short-lived career.
Next on our list is the Divinyls, which most people know from their hit song I Touch Myself. It was their biggest hit out of all of the tracks released on their five albums. This Australian female pop rock band was popular from 1980 until 1996 when they broke up and topped the charts in multiple countries both with I Touch Myself and their albums.
15. 4 Non Blondes
Next on our list is 4 Non Blondes, who are famously known for the song What’s Up, which came from their one and only album. This band was more alternative rock, and it was all-female, which made it even more special. They were only active from 1989 to 1994, but during that time, their only album Bigger, Better, Faster, More sold over 1.5 million copies and was on the Billboard 200 for more than 59 weeks.
16. Sister Sledge
Sister Sledge had a ton of hits in the ’80s and deserves to be on this list because they are thought to be one of the best female groups of that time. While they wrote their own songs, their cover of My Guy is what most people remember them for. They released a lot of albums in the ’80s including Love Somebody Today, All American Girls, The Sisters, Bet Cha Say That To All The Girls, and When The Boys Meet The Girls.
17. Vanity 6
The next female group didn’t last long, but they still were huge for the short time they were together. We’re talking about Vanity 6, which was a female trio that was a protege of Prince and is best known for their hit song Nasty Girl. Prince believed that girls singing in lingerie and being okay with showing a lot of skin would sell, which is where Vanity 6 got its start. Other songs they were known for were He’s So Dull, Make-Up, and Drive Me Wild.
18. Company B
Next is Company B, and they were similar to Exposé since they had elements of freestyle and Latin in their music. They covered Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which was one of their most well-known hits as well as had a hit with Gotta Dance. Other songs that they had which were hits included Perfect Lover, Fascinated, Jam On Me, and Full Circle.
19. Sweet Sensation
Calling all freestyle dance lovers, Sweet Sensation makes our list because they were one of the best freestyle dance female groups of the ’80s, They started out in 1986 and were from the Bronx, and the group had several hit songs such as Hooked On You, Love Child, Never Let You Go, Sincerely Yours, and Take It While It’s Hot. Never Let You Go was one of their signature tracks, and it topped the charts which helped them become so successful.
20. Femme Fatale
Up Next is Femme Fatale, which was a female hard rock band that started in 1987 out of New Mexico, and they released their first album in 1988, which was self-titled. The album reached 141 on the Billboard 200 and there were two very famous songs on this record. They had hits with Falling In And Out Of Love and The Big One, which got a lot of airplay on MTV.
While they were similar to the male glam metal bands, they never found that much success. The band broke up in 1990 after the manager of the group developed brain cancer.
We have to talk about Pandora because this female group was popular in the ’80s, and they were known for Latin pop. One of their biggest songs is translated into English as How Have You Been My Love, and it was rated as one of the best tracks of the ’80s coming in at 16. They released several albums over the years once they signed to EMI Records in 1984 including Pandora, Otra Vez, Huellas, Buenaventura, and 999 Razones.
Next up is Seduction, which was an early project by C+C Music Factory, and even though the group had a hard time in Britain, they quickly became popular in the US. Known for being dance and pop, the group released Nothing Matters Without Love in 1989 and had hit singles including Seduction, (Your My One And Only) True Love, Two To Make It Right, Could This Be Love, Heartbeat, and Free Your Body.
23. Mary Jane Girls
We have to mention Mary Jane Girls, which was one of the popular female bands in the ’80s after forming in 1983. They became popular because they mixed soul, funk, and R&B and were protegees of Rick James. Some of their hit songs include Candy Man, Walk Like A Man, In My House, and All Night Long. They broke up in 1987 after releasing two albums, Mary Jane Girls and Only Four You. In 2019, were inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall Of Fame.
Up Next is We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It, which was shortened to Fuzzbox around the time of their first album release Bostin’ Steve Austin in 1986. They were one of the female groups out of Birmingham, England, that managed to become an international success although they only released one more album, which was Big Bang in 1989.
Some of their songs that were a hit included Rules And Regulations, Rockin’ With Rita, Love Is The Slug, Console Me, Spirit In The Sky, International Rescue, What’s The Point, Self, and Pink Sunshine.
25. Girl Monstar
Girl Monstar makes our list just barely since they formed in 1988 but were one of the more popular Australian all-female rock bands. In 1989, they released the single Surfing On A Wave Of Love/He’s Hell, and this song topped the Independent chart in Australia along with their 1990 hit Joe Cool. Their first and only album was Monstereo Delicio, which was released in 1992 before they broke up in 1993.
26. Shakespears Sisters
Next is the Shakespears Sister, which formed after Bananarama broke up, and they had a lot of success in the later ’80s and into the ’90s. They were rock, pop, and alternative and had two albums that landed in the Top 10, and they had numerous songs that landed on the Top 40 lists.
Some of their most noteworthy tracks included Stay, Goodbye Cruel World, Themselves, Hormonally Yours, and Hello (Turn Your Radio On). The group had been nominated for and won some awards over the years such as being nominated for the Most Promising New Group for the song Themselves in 1989. They eventually won the British Video Of The Year award for their 1993 hit Stay.
27. Calamity Jane
Calling all country music fans you might not have heard about the female group Calamity Jane who deserve a spot on our list even though they did not stick around for very long. There were four members in the band including a female on guitar and on drums.
They had four songs that ended up making it to the Billboard Hot Country Singles/Hot Country Songs chart. Some of their hits include Send Me Somebody To Love, a cover of the track I’ve Seen A Face, Walkin’ After Midnight, and Love Wheel.
Next up on our list is Klymaxx, which was one of the female groups from the ’80s that didn’t really become popular until around 1984. This group was known to be a mix of R&B and pop and in 1984, I Miss You and The Men All Pause were the two songs that really put them at the top and led them to become an international sensation.
They released six albums from 1981 to 1994 including their debut album Never Underestimate The Power Of A Woman, followed by Girls Will Be Girls in 1982. Meeting In The Ladies Room, Klymaxx, The Maxx Is Back, and One Day were the other albums that they released before calling it quits for good in the ’90s.
29. Pepsi & Shirlie
Pepsi & Shirlie were huge in the ’80s, with them being incredibly popular in the UK, and they started out as backup singers before they began their own band. All Right Now was released in 1987 and Change was released in 1991, but they only released those two albums before they broke up in 1995.
You may know them from their hit song Heartache, which hit number two on the UK Singles chart and US Dance chart. Other tracks that were popular included Goodbye Stranger, Can’t Give Me Love, All Right Now, and Hightime.
30. Mel & Kim
Next up is Mel & Kim, two sisters who came out of England and were in the pop genre. They became popular with their hit song in 1987 called Respectable. The track hit number one on the UK Singles Chart, and it also went to the top of the Dance chart in the US.
Other hits that they had included That’s The Way It Is, F.L.M., and Showing Out. The band was short-lived as Mel died in 1990 from cancer at the young age of 23, and Kim then went on a solo career where she had a couple of hits such as Don’t Worry.
Lastly, we have to mention Peaches, which was a girl group popular in the ’80s out of Australia. They covered Substitute, which was a Righteous Brothers song, and that is what they are mostly known for, although they had a lot of other hit tracks as well including Long Long Week-End and You’ve Got All Of Me. While not as successful as other female bands on our list, they deserve recognition.
Top girl bands/groups of the 90s
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.