Many are called. Most end up in the bargain bin of the local thrift store. For all the great bands like Fanny, The Slits, L-7, The Go-Gos, The Bangles, and so on, there are several dozen—nay, several hundred—who score one hit (or fewer) and then disappear before the ink’s dried on their record contracts.
And then there are bands like these glamorous groups—who managed a record deal, had the hit single and even produced a handful of albums—sometimes well-received albums.
These are the sometimes forgotten girl bands of the 1970s-1980s who may have looked like they borrowed their style from a spandex catalog but actually had greater success and in some instances a greater influence on other bands than is ever recognized….or should I say, admitted.
For example, the Love Machine (above) were originally dancers on the Benny Hill Show and not to be confused with the Italian Love Machine. The Love Machine were one-hit wonders like that other notorious dance group Hot Gossip—who had a major hit with “Starship Trooper.”
Phantom Blue—Heavy Metal band who released four albums between 1986-1997.
The Orchids were a rock/pop/New Wave formed and managed by Kim Fowley—they never quite managed the heights of The Runaways.
Cice-Mace—a Serbian disco-pop band produced by synth pioneer Miha Kralj.
Belle and the Devotions—almost a one hit wonder band (they actually released three singles) who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1984. It was rumored that “a backing trio, hidden off-camera, were doing the majority of the backing singing” during their performance. Some of the audience booed the group.
A La Carte—German disco band formed in 1978 who had hits across most of Europe with the singles “When the Boys Come Home,” “Doctor, Doctor” and “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy.” They even released four albums between 1980-1984. Who knew?
Arabesque—highly successful and (surprisingly) influential Eurodisco pop band from Frankfurt who lasted in various line-ups for over twenty years.
Babe—Dutch Europop band who had a string of hits and three chart albums between 1979 and 1985.
Girls Can’t Help It—British pop band who lasted two single releases 1982-83.
The Flirts—were one blonde, one redhead and one brunette who were brought together and produced by Hi-NRG legend Bobby Orlando. The Flirts released six albums between 1982-1992 and achieved considerable success in Europe.
Fantasm—a one-off, one single/one album band featuring Cynthia Lane, Liza Moberg, Rasheeda Moore, Susan Scanell, Tracy Scoggins. They were brought together in 1980 by French producer, composer and ‘artiste’ Didier Marouani.
The Star Sisters—Dutch trio who were briefly popular in the 1980s but are now perhaps best remembered for performing the Andrews Sisters hits on Stars on 45.
The Pearls—duo from Liverpool who had a successful run in the mid-1970s, even scoring a top ten hit with ‘Guilty.’
And then there are those who just dropped straight into the bargain bin…