TGJ Replay: ‘The Very Best of En Vogue’

Published: Thursday 27th Jun 2013 by Rashad

Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.   Today, we’ll shine light on the succint, yet ever-successful careers of the Funky Divas’!  Tuck in for the very best of En Vogue


Much like today, the 80s suffered from a dearth of diva syndicates.  Indeed, since the decline of the girlgroup wave of Motown’s hey-day, most of the 70s and 80s – despite having a few worthy mentions (see:  Labelle, Pointer Sisters, Klymaxx, Mary Jane Girls) – was devoid of the girl power imparted by the Supremes and like groups of decades prior.

With R&B finding new footing on charts due to the New Jack Swing movement and more pop infused number come the late 80s, production duo of Foster and McElroy sought to rebirth the almighty girlgroup with a modern twist.  The result of that quest came in the form of four fierce female performers – Cindy Herron, Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones, and Terry Ellis.  

Collectively, they would form En Vogue.

‘Hold On’

Powerful vocals, awe-inspiring harmonies, high octane choreography, sex appeal, and style were just a few of the demonstrations decorating every performance of the composite.  A formula that would later take them to the top of charts, the ladies first outing was 1990’s ‘Born To Sing’.  A fitting title for the foursome whose vocal displays were quickly likened to some of R&B’s top performers.

Led by ‘Hold On’, the James Brown-sampled number quickly shot to #1 on R&B charts (#2 on pop charts).  Not only setting an almost untouchable precedent for the day’s R&B groups to follow, but long overdue filling the ‘girl group’ void that had plagued the genre.

‘Hold On’ (Live)

The tune’s success not only garnered the newbies a host of awards and nominations, but also helped its parent album shift over 1 million copies.  And, while fans itched for its follow-up, what the group was about to impart (unbeknownst to them) would lay the groundwork for girl groups to follow for decades to come.

It would also become their signature album. 

‘My Lovin’

Yet again taking to a James Brown sample to kick off their album, the ladies’ second album ‘Funky Divas’ blasted onto the scene with the Maxine Jones-led ‘My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)’.

Showcasing even more stylized offerings from the quartet, the enlistment of famed choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. would see En Vogue also step up in the era’s stage show and glossier music videos. 

‘My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)’ (live)

Evidence of such advancements can be found in the visuals for ‘Giving Him Something He Can Feel’ (Aretha Franklin remake) and their socially daring number ‘Free Your Mind’.

‘Free Your Mind’ (live)

The “advancements”, unlike so many of their counterparts, did not come at the expense nor ever overshadow their actual talent.  And, like its predecessor, ‘Funky Divas’ saw the accolades roll in – quickly tripling the sales of ‘Born’ and going on to win a host of industry awards.

As the years that followed would see the foursome release EPs, tour, and play assistant to some of the era’s most memorable hits (see:  Salt-N-Pepa‘s ‘Whatta Man’), it would be nearly 5 years before work on a ‘Funky Diva’ followup would come to fruition.  That, however, did not stop EV from impacting charts. 

‘Don’t Let Go’

Dawn’s departure from the group in 1997 put a halt on the creation of a 3rd studio album.  The decade that followed would see the group – throughout its numerous lineup changes – impart moderately well received numbers to R&B charts but never fully recapture their footing on Billboard.

2007/2008 signaled hope of return to chart prominence, however, as the ladies announced a reunion of the original four members.  That reunion was not only short lived, but was quickly followed by a presently ongoing feud between the ‘Funky Divas’ – one that has even transitioned to court rooms.


Regardless, fans are still longing for a reunion of the quartet fully equipped with the high soaring harmonies, sass, and sex appeal that assisted their early reigns atop charts.  Setting a blueprint that was clearly seen in the makings of future super groups like Destiny’s Child and more, En Vogue stood as the prototype for “the total package”.  Comprised of four voices that could easily sing lead as well as their peer, arguably, no group before or after them hit “the nail on the head” as precisely as they have.

For that, even though the likelihood is not very, we still long for a regroup of the songstresses to A) show the youngn’s how it’s really done and B) fulfill a legacy that was cut all too short.

While we press play on our jam ‘Hold On’, you tell us:



Your thoughts?

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  1. Harpo Who Dis B****? June 27, 2013


  2. Super Cisus June 27, 2013

    Nobody want these broke hags to reunite

  3. MCThePlaceToBe June 27, 2013

    I always struggle to decide who was better between EV, DC and TLC.

    • Happy face :) June 27, 2013

      Iconic music & videos – TLC
      Best vocals – DC3
      Sickest harmony – En Vogue

  4. Bey Fan June 27, 2013

    Beautiful, talented black woman…. harmonies were sick.

    Givin Him Somethin and Hold On are two of my favs by them.

    Whatta Man was Salt and Pepper feat. EnVogue

  5. Shauwndapooh June 27, 2013

    Cindy is so s***! All of them are but cindy tho:)

  6. MJM June 27, 2013

    “Comprised of four voices that could easily sing lead as well as their peer, arguably, no group before or after them hit ‘the nail on the head’ as precisely as they have.”

    I was so thrilled to read that. I’m glad my opinion is shared by others! En Vogue was indeed the prototype. Their vocals and harmonies were everything. Growing up, I adored them. I’m so disappointed in their current feud that I really don’t like to think about it.

    I agree with Happy Face, except the Best Vocals. I have to give that to En Vogue too. No disrespect or shade AT ALL to DC3, but it took them time to master their vocals. En Vogue’s individual/collective vocals were clearly developed when their first album dropped.

    I also believe the harmony of the original members of Destiny’s Child deserves mention. The four of them had BEAUTIFUL harmony (i.e. “Tell Me” and “Now That She’s Gone”). I believe LeToya and LaTavia could have sang lead too, but that’s in the past.

    Destiny’s Child obviously surpassed En Vogue in terms of sales, status, success, etc. I’m glad to see we haven’t forgotten about those that came before them. Overall, I believe the Supremes, En Vogue, TLC, and Destiny’s Child were the best to ever do it.

    P.S. I have to show love to SWV since the original members STILL doing their thing (releasing an album, touring, Grammy nomination & all!) free of drama

    • MJM June 27, 2013

      I forgot about the Spice Girls and Danity Kane! Both two of the best female groups to ever do it. Lets not forget Danity Kane is the only female group to have their first two albums debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. Believe it or not, no other female group has got it done. Check Wikipedia. I love me some DK.

      Yes, I know we could easily sit here and mock the Spice Girls vocally and all that, but no group will ever match their sales. Those records will never be broken. They’re the best selling female group of all time. Again, check Wikipedia.

      So let me re-phrase my statement: The Supremes, En Vogue, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, and Danity Kane were the best to ever do it.


    Yet again taking to a James Brown sample to kick off their album, the ladies’ second album ‘Funky Divas’ blasted onto the scene with the Maxine Jones-led ‘My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)’.

    and yet another rip off by beyonce you failed to mention when she ripped the video for Ego everything down to the curly wigs and dancing with the long stick.

    ….YEAH they need to come back and do their own ,,,,

    • king z June 27, 2013

      yet again the ignorant are the first to speak. bey did NOT rip off that video.

      frank gatson choreographs all of bey and en vogue’s stuff. most of the “stealing” bey often gets accused of is HIS doing. and him being the queen he is, he often steals from PLAYs. that “long stick thing” as u so eloquently put it was used in bey’s 2003 tour when singing “yes”. it is from a play

      • dev June 27, 2013

        Well, if people could notice why couldn’t she? She should’ve researched what was given to her to save moments like these

  8. HOWYOULIKEIT June 27, 2013

    I’m still not over the fact that this group fell apart. Money and ego destroyed these ladies.
    I want the 4 original ladies back please. There’s no en vogue without dawn.

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