Top 10 sister acts of all time

Categories: Lists
If you're like us, you probably had no idea that this past Sunday was Sister Day, a new holiday entirely fabricated by the Hallmark greeting card corporation. Even Hallmark's own website can't keep it straight, with some pages insisiting the "holiday" fell on last Sunday and others saying it will take place this coming Saturday, which may or may not also be "Friendship Day."

Ah, fuck it. Let's celebrate! Here's a list of the top 10 most notable sister acts of all time.

10. The Shaggs. Hey, we didn't say this was a list of the most talented, did we? The Shaggs were a lesson for us all. Money can by fame, sort of. Innocent little sisters Dorothy, Betty, and Helen Wiggin were forced into the recording studio by their father in the late '60s, after their grandmother claimed she foresaw the girls' fame during a palm reading. Since the girls didn't know how to play their instruments, the results were predictably terrible. However, their album was later unearthed by audiophiles and hailed, as audiophiles are wont to do, as a raw and avant garde cult classic, pressing them into the cultural landscape during a rediscovery period in the 1980s.

9. The Pointer Sisters. Though they started as a quartet with their sister Bonnie, the Pointer Sisters spent their time in the limelight as a trio with Anita, June, and Ruth Pointer singing R&B harmonies. Their most recognizable single is easily "I'm So Excited," which has been played into oblivion in every possible commercial and movie montage, the Pointer Sisters actually charted fairly consistently from the mid '70s until the late '80s. Ruth, Anita, and Bonnie just reunited last year for a few performances, and fans have begun campaigning BET to recognize the group with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at next year's awards ceremony.

The Pointer Sisters, "I'm So Excited"

8. The Bangles. A collaboration between Susanna Hoffs and sisters Debbi and Vicki Peterson, the Bangles quickly rose to fame in the early '80s with their punkish take on the jangly "girl group" pop of the '60s. The band even attracted the attention of early '80s pop icon Prince, who penned "Manic Monday" for the group and sent them to the top of the charts. The band peaked in the mid '80s but has reformed recently for a series of reunion dates, and band members have reported that they are almost finished with a new studio album.

7. School of Seven Bells. The newest group on our list, School of Seven Bells is a collaboration between identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza and Benjamin Curtis of the band Secret Machines. Since forming in 2007 the trio has already achieved modest success, touring with the likes of Blonde Redhead and Bat for Lashes and winning crowds over with their crystalline harmonies and ambient electro-pop.

School of Seven Bells, "Half Asleep"

6. Heart. Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are still going strong today (they just stopped in the Twin Cities earlier this month to play Lilith Fair), over 30 years into their successful career. They even smacked down Sarah Palin in recent history when the politician tried to use their hit "Barracuda" (without permission, of course) in her campaign for vice presidency, saying they felt "completely fucked over."

5. Wilson Phillips. Formed in the 1990, Wilson Phillips was bred from pop royalty, with Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie and Wendy joining forces with Chynna Phillips, the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas. The result was a #1 single, "Hold On," and album sales reaching into the millions. The three musicians have played off and on together ever since, and have recently announced that they will be releasing a Christmas album in October of this year. "I'm thrilled that the Wilson Phillips family is coming back together again," Philips said recently. "We've known each other for more than 20 years. We're like family."

Wilson Phillips, "Hold On" (live)

4. The Dixie Chicks/Court Yard Hounds. Founded by sisters Martie and Emily Erwin (who have since married and changed their names to Martie Maguire and Emily Robison), the Dixie Chicks went through a few configurations before settling on lead singer Natalie Maines. So it's no surprise that the two sisters were content to continue making music together while Maines takes a hiatus from performing. Maguire and Robison's new group, Court Yard Hounds, has already released an album and toured with this summer's Lilith Fair.

3. Tegan & Sara.
The Canadian twin sisters have become a longstanding force in the world of indie rock, releasing six albums over the last decade to widespread critical acclaim. In addition to keeping up a busy touring schedule, both Tegan and Sara Quin tried their hand at producing albums last year (Tegan with char2d2 and Sara with Fences and Hesta Prynn). Something tells us these ladies will be contributing their talents to the realm of indie music for years to come.

Tegan and Sara, "On Directing"

2. The Breeders. In the early '90s, was there anyone cooler than the Deal sisters? As action with the Pixies died down, bassist Kim Deal formed this side project with Throwing Muses' Tanya Donnely and her sister Kelley Deal, releasing Last Splash in 1993. The band has taken several hiatuses, just completing their fourth album in 2008, and still occasionally play together to this day. Fun fact: the name the Breeders came from a folk group Kim and Kelley Deal started together back in the '70s.

1. The Andrews Sisters. Let's give it up for the women who started it all. Before there were "girl groups" in the '60s there were the Andrews Sisters, who made a name for themselves in the late-'30s and '40s by entertaining World War II soldiers with their tight three-part harmonies and charming stage show. Raised right here in Minneapolis, the sisters blazed a trail through the male-dominated world of big band music with their trumpet-mimicking melodies.

The Andrews Sisters, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"


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