May 2015

Influences: Fifth Harmony to the Shirelles

Looking through history to trace the roots of Fifth Harmony’s all-female pop group style.

National Standards: 7, 8, 9, 11

Prepare: Have the class read Influences: Fifth Harmony to The Shirelles (page 22 of the student edition). With summaries of each artist, the article traces back the influence from Fifth Harmony to the Shirelles.


  • Fifth Harmony – all-female pop group, who says their style was influenced by female vocal ensembles of the past, including…
  • Destiny’s Child – one of the most successful R&B groups of all time, whose styles are rooted in an earlier era and artists like…
  • The Pointer Sisters – this group’s repertoire spanned multiple genres, but their signature soul-pop style was inspired by acts like…
  • The Shirelles – R&B/pop pioneers, considered by some historians to be the first African-American “girl group.” With hits like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” they anticipated the success of Motown.

Begin: Have students listen to the following videos, read the biographies linked in each artist’s name, and compare their work.

Performing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”:

How does the performance of this song embody the early R&B/pop genre?

The official music video for 1985 hit “Dare Me”:

How does this song compare and contrast to the Shirelles’?

Their music video for “Say My Name” from their 1999 release The Writing’s on the Wall:

How does “Say My Name” compare and contrast to “Dare Me”? Are there any traces of the Shirelles?

The official music video for “Sledgehammer” from their 2014 album Reflection:

What influences from the previous artists can be heard in Fifth Harmony’s music?