Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Best Of Girl Groups - part 3: girl duos

JUMP TO: Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3

Originally posted in 2012. Updated in 2020.

In Part 2, I revealed my top girl group of all time: Bananarama. Despite the fact that for the majority of their 30+ year existence, Bananarama has been a duo, their period of greatest success was as a trio.

But there are several female duos I didn't include in my girl groups list since the word "group" generally implies three or more members. Hey, if it's good enough for the Grammys to distinguish between duos and groups, then it's good enough for me. 

Some acts that didn't quite make the cut for my top 5 include M2M, Mini Viva, S.O.A.P., and Pepsi & Shirlie. But now, without further ado: my favourite female duos of all time...

5. Mel & Kim

Members: Kim and Mel Appleby
Years: 1986-1988
Top 3 best songs: "Respectable", "Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)", "F.L.M."

I was actually surprised Mel & Kim weren't higher in my ranking (there's a spreadsheet involved in working out all my lists, by the way) but they were only able to release four singles (the three listed above and "That's The Way It Is") before Mel's ill health forced them to put music on hold.
Tragically, Mel wouldn't survive her battle with cancer - but fans of the music she made with sister Kim will always have those four singles, not to mention one of the best pop albums of all time in F.L.M., to remember her by. Kim returned to the charts (the UK ones, at least) in 1990 with "Don't Worry", the first of a run of great solo singles.


4. t.A.T.u.

Members: Lena Katina, Julia Volkova
Years: 2000-2010
Top 3 best songs: "All The Things She Said", "How Soon Is Now", "All About Us"

As well as a load of controversy, it's often forgotten that Russia's faux lesbians racked up a number of excellent singles in their time together. Their debut English-language album, 200km/h In The Wrong Lane, might have included worldwide smash "All The Things She Said", but second album Dangerous And Moving was actually much stronger - although by then, the gimmick had worn off for a lot of people.
Sure, their voices sometimes sounded dangerously close to those of Alvin & The Chipmunks - never more so than on their sacrilegious (but brilliant) cover of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" - but somehow it worked. Well, it did for me, anyway.

3. The Veronicas

Members: Jessica and Lisa Origliasso
Years: 2005-present
Top 3 best songs: "4ever", "This Love", "I Can't Stay Away"

Brisbane sisters Jess and Lisa were hotly tipped for world domination when they launched in an explosion of catchy choruses and fun film clips in 2005, but despite five singles being lifted from debut album The Secret Life Of..., that international success failed to materialise. Luckily, Australia was smitten with the twins and a second album was guaranteed - with Hook Me Up proving to be the album that contained that elusive worldwide hit, "Untouched".
Although The Veronicas' music has morphed from Pink-style powerpop ("4ever" even has the same chorus structure as "U + Ur Hand") to synth-based electropop over the years, one thing's remained the same: the girls have always known their way around an infectious tune. 

2. Tegan And Sara

Members: Sara and Tegan Quin
Years: 1999-present
Top 3 best songs: "Closer", "I Was A Fool", "I'm Not Your Hero"

I'm a latecomer to the Quin sisters' music and probably never would have got into them if they hadn't gone all pop on seventh album Heartthrob (which contains the three songs above). To prove it was no one-off, they followed that up with more catchiness on 2016's Love You To Death, which featured tracks like "Boyfriend" and "U-Turn". I can't say I've ventured further back into their catalogue, which was more on an indie and folk tip previously and so their ranking here is based on a fraction of their career's work.

1. Booty Luv

Members: Cherise Roberts, Nadia Shepherd
Years: 2006-present
Top 3 best songs: "Some Kinda Rush", "Shine", "Say It"

Before becoming Booty Luv, Cherise and Nadia were both members of short-lived UK R&B group Big Brovaz, who had a couple of big hits in Australia with "Nu Flow" and "Baby Boy" in 2003.
After that group self-destructed, the girls were signed to perform cover versions of American R&B tracks - but with a twist. Booty Luv's versions of songs like Tweet's "Boogie 2nite" and Luther Vandross' "Shine" were based on popular dance mixes of the originals rather than the album versions or radio edits.
Their dancefloor-friendly album also included covers of remixed songs by Mary J Blige and Lucy Pearl, but they proved with "Some Kinda Rush" (my favourite song of theirs) that their original tracks weren't too shabby. A second album has been in the offing for ages, but looking less and less likely as time goes on.

Girl groups: the best of the rest

Whether they weren't around long enough to produce enough great songs, or were but didn't, the girl groups below are all worthy of recognition.

Boy Krazy
Best song: "That's What Love Can Do"
Year: 1991

Best song: "Come And Get Me"
Year: 2000

Best song: "Let Me Be The One"
Year: 1987

Best song: "Sweet Love 2K"
Year: 2000

Girl Thing
Best song: "Girls On Top"
Year: 2000

Best song: "Sooner Or Later"
Year: 1994

Best song: "End Of The Line"
Year: 1998

Best song: "Everyday Of The Week"
Year: 1994

Best song: "Good Love"
Year: 1990

Mary Jane Girls
Best song: "All Night Long"
Year: 1983

Best song: "Rewind"
Year: 2000

Salt 'n' Pepa
Best song: "Push It"
Year: 1987

Best song: "Two To Make It Right"
Year: 1989

Best song: "Right Here (Human Nature)"
Year: 1993

The Three Degrees
Best song: "The Runner"
Year: 1979

Wilson Phillips
Best song: "Hold On"
Year: 1990

Young Divas
Best song: "This Time I Know It's For Real"
Year: 2006

I've had fun looking back at my favourite boy bands and girl groups, but after this Thursday's regular ARIA chart recap, it's back to the '80s to resume my year-by-year look at my favourite songs from years past. Next up: 1984.


  1. Agree t.A.T.u had some great catchy songs and definately used the controversy = sales strategy to good effect. The only Russian act to top the UK charts, possibly even to chart although not 100% on that.
    Cleopatra and Honeyz have also once been liked by me.

    1. That's the problem with causing a stir like that. Once the controversy dies down, no one cares anymore.

  2. Hi Gavin,
    Thank you for putting my fave all-girl band of all-time is 'Girlfriend/gf4' on your post. Great to see it! :)

    1. "Sooner Or Later" is a great song. I also liked "Without You" and "Love's On My Mind" from the first album.

  3. Do you heard Me & My and Shampoo?

    1. Yeah, "Trouble" was not bad. I have completely forgotten about Me & My - never really got into "Dub-I-Dub" but it was a big hit.

  4. Mel & Kim were one of my first favourite groups. It's a shame they didn't get to have a long career as a duo. But then, a lot of the girl groups I like did have rather brief careers (e.g. Toto Coelo, The Belle Stars, Shakespear(')s Sister as a duo). There's something appealing about quitting (whether by choice or not) while you're ahead; before you start to release rubbish anyway.