As we continue to enjoy TLC Week here at VH1, we can help but get sucked by into the ’90s, when R&B was at its finest. From the early years of new jack swing to the house style that took over in the mid ’90s, the undercurrent of neo soul and the futuristic pop sounds that closed out the decade. But most importantly, ’90s R&B was the decade of the girl group. TLC was one of several groups that blew up nearly 20 years ago, helping to shape the music of our childhood. Everyone one from 702 to Brownstone and Jade to Xscape gave us something to remember.
Who: Our list kicks off with a more memorable group, 702, who rocked out the late ’90s during the era of ‘I’m not going to let my man do me wrong’ that saw the return of TLC and the rise of Destiny’s Child. Though they were formed in 1996, they didn’t peak until 1999 with their self-titled sophomore album. The group owes much of their success to Missy Elliott, who penned their biggest hits.
Biggest Hit: “Where My Girls At?”
2. All Saints
Who: This English quartet blurred the line between R&B and pop with dance beats balanced with a sultry R&B sound. They bounced between house (“I Know Where It’s At”), soul (“Never Ever”) and alternative (“Under The Bridge”). Their debut album dominated the the mid ’90s and helped them become one of the UK’s most successful female groups.
Biggest Hit: “Never Ever”
Who: A quartet comprised of Alia Davis, Linnie Belcher, Lalisha McClean and Akissa Mendez who were signed to Mariah Carey’s label, Crave Records. (Unfortunately for the group, Carey’s closed a year later in 1998.) They released their debut in 1997 and scored their biggest hit with 112 duet on “All Cried Out,” a cover of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.
Biggest Hit: “All Cried Out” (featuring 112)
Who: The first group signed to Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ production company, Left Eye Productions. Though the group was formed in 1996, their first single (“808″) wasn’t released until 1999. The seductive first single was written and produced by R. Kelly. Though, their biggest hit was released seven days later. “Bring It All To Me” benefited from the featured vocals of JC Chasez. The group would go on to star in Bring It On before the group eventually split.
Biggest Hit: “Bring It All To Me” (featuring JC Chasez)
Who: The contemporary R&B group formed in 1995 and was signed to Michael Jackson’s label, MJJ Music, less than a year later. Their debut album spawned this hit, “If You Love Me,” which garnered the girls a Billboard Music Award and Grammy nomination. Like many groups on this list, one of the members left after internal fighting and Brownstone struggled ever since.
Biggest Hit: “If You Want Me”
6. Changing Faces
Who: The group was a duo comprised of Cassandra Lucas and Charisse Rose. The girls came together in 1993, working at a dermatologist’s office during the day and recording demos at night. They eventually were signed and worked with R. Kelly, who wrote their first two singles, “Stroke You Up” and “Foolin’ Around.” The success of the first album led to spots on the Space Jam and Dr. Dolittle soundtracks.
Biggest Hit: “G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T.”
7. Destiny’s Child (original line up)
Who: Beyonce and crew didn’t really make an impact until 1999 when they scored with a trio of hits (“Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Bug A Boo” and “Say My Name”). While “Say My Name” saw the lineup change in the video, the song still featured the original roster’s vocals, which was won them the Grammy. But it can be argued that their first, often-overlooked single (“No, No, No”) was their best.
Biggest Hit: “Say My Name”
Who: The R&B trio formed in 1996 and released two singles before disbanding in 2000. The group scored with the number one hit “Lately” but failed to do anything of note to follow up. After the group disbanded, Kia Thornton auditioned for American Idol’s sixth season but was later eliminated during the Hollywood rounds.
Biggest Hit: “Lately”
9. En Vogue
Who: Fans can argue this group was hardly forgotten but after the departure of Dawn Robinson, the group’s success stalled. However, that doesn’t diminish the fact the girls dominated the early ’90s. Songs, such as “Hold On,” “My Lovin'” and “Free Your Mind” were massive crossover hits. They even appeared as prostitutes who attempt to seduce Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever. “Don’t Let Go” was the group’s last major hit as a quartet.
Biggest Hit: “Don’t Let Go”
Up next: For Real, Jade, Xscape and more!