Here is Billboard's list of the 10 most iconic girl group videos. Only videos that achieved a great deal of popularity within the U.S. were included -- sorry, Sugababes or Girls' Generation fans -- since this is a list for the videos that pop fans should be able to recall instantly, possibly as even the first thing that comes to mind when they think of the group at all. And if you notice that it's been a while since the last video on this list... well, it's on the next generation of girl groups (Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, Stooshe) to do what they can to add to it.
The Go-Go's, "Our Lips are Sealed" (1981, dir. Derek Burbidge)
The group didn't even want to make the video, but you'd never know it from watching; they seem to be having a blast, their cheeriness and energy perfectly matching the song's driving beat and peppy melody. From the first shot of the band clumsily stepping in rhythm, they seemed like the coolest older sisters of the '80s, and the personality of the imminently likable video helped set them up as some of the biggest stars of MTV's first few years.
Bananarama, "Cruel Summer" (1983, dir. Brian Simmons)
The song and video were both huge hits for Bananarama, bringing them stateside success that lasted for most of the '80s -- though today, the remaining image of the band is still probably the girls in those overalls, dancing in front of the Manhattan skyline.
Wilson Phillips, "Hold On" (1990, dir. Julien Temple)
"Hold On" was the first of three straight chart-topping hits for Wilson Phillips, making them turn-of-the-decade mainstays on MTV and brief pop icons. The song and video have endured well into the next century, inspiring singalong scenes in hit comedies "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Bridesmaids," and you can probably still find groups of women in their 30s and 40s on the Venice Beach boardwalk today recreating the famous climactic shot.
En Vogue, "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)" (1992, dir. Matthew Rolston)
The looks were edgy but totally classic, and the En Vogue ladies -- "girls" almost feels insulting for them -- absolutely owned them. The video raised the bar for all En Vogue clips to come, became one of the most unforgettable clips of the early '90s, was nominated for a bunch of VMAs, and turned the group from hit-makers to outright superstars.
Salt n Pepa, "None of Your Business" (1993, dir. Matthew Rolston)
It was a pretty boundary-pushing video for early-'90s MTV, and what could have been exploitative instead comes off mostly as empowering thanks to the confidence of the women, the cross-gender evenness of the bodies on display, and the general "Let us be us with our personal lives" message of the song. It also helped cement Salt-n-Pepa's status as the baddest chicks on the music video block in 1993 -- though they didn't need much of an assist there at that point.
TLC, "Waterfalls" (1995, dir. F. Gary Gray)
Everything came together with "Waterfalls," the group's most famous music video and one of the most popular clips of the mid-'90s. A Sign-of-the-Times-style cautionary tale about the perils of drug dealing and unsafe sex, the F. Gary Gray-helmed clip splits time between enactments of the lyrics' stories and shots of the trio singing and dancing while standing on water, materializing from and dematerializing into the blue to bookend the clip. The setup gave TLC an obvious sense of otherworldliness, like they were some pure benevolent force of R&B sent to preside over the decade, and the public was very willing to accept their new girl-group overlords. "Waterfalls" took Video of the Year, Group Video and Viewer's Choice at that year's VMAs.
Spice Girls, "Wannabe" (1996, dir. Jhoan Camitz)
Along with Hanson's "MmmBop" -- another bubbly clip built around a sense of unstoppable momentum and movement, released a couple months later -- the "Wannabe" video launched a youth movement on MTV and eventually on radio, inexorably leading to the supremacy of "Total Request Live" and the boy band / teen pop boom of the late-'90s. Watching "Wannabe" almost 20 years later, it's still easy to see why: the clip was so intoxicating and unrelenting with its energy, leaving you reeling when the time the girls speed off on the bus at the end, it was either going to make the group the world's biggest sensation or get ignored entirely.
Destiny's Child, "Bills, Bills, Bills" (1999, dir. Darren Grant)
The "Bills" video proved the girls weren't one-hit wonders (after debut "No, No, No") and gave them their first ubiquitous smash hit, while also setting the precedent for most of their videos to follow -- fresh look, unique outfits, and plenty of anonymous scrub dudes to be righteously dismissed en masse.
t.A.T.u., "All the Things She Said" (2002, dir. Ivan Shapovalov)
Some cried exploitation at the clip, claiming it leered at its underage stars and encouraged others to do likewise, while others saw it simply as a provocative statement of forbidden love and youthful rebellion, the essence of rock and roll. Both sides probably had a point, but regardless, the clip became one of the most famous of the early 21st century, briefly turning the Russian duo into international pop stars and leading to an equally memorable performance of the song (with follow-up single "Not Gonna Get Us") at the next year's MTV Movie Awards, this time with an entire army of girls donning the school-uniform look from the video.
Pussycat Dolls feat. Busta Rhymes, "Don't Cha" (2005, dir. Paul Hunter)
It was inevitable that the song and video would become massive, and become massive they did, with the song heating up the Hot 100 chart and the video establishing the group as mainstays on MTV for many subsequent (though not quite as memorable) videos to come. Scherzinger would eventually leave the group, and the Dolls' original lineup would disband, but you can still buy her white hoodie from the video on eBay for $40.
Source: billboard.com By Andrew Unterberger,