As we get further away from their peak, doesn’t it seem like Destiny’s Child should be considered among the greatest R&B acts of all time? In less than a decade together, they produced four albums with four chart-topping hits, moved nearly 50 million units and — perhaps most importantly — influenced an entire generation of R&B stars. But before the solo albums, big-ticket videos, sold out tours and chart dominance, they had to start somewhere, and on this day in 1998, Destiny’s Child dropped their self-titled debut album.
The group began when the members were just teenagers. Originally called Girls’ Tyme, the group had as many as six members when they first started performing and attracting national attention from producers and record moguls. When the group finally got serious and focused on producing their first album, they changed their name to Destiny’s Child (a reference to a passage in the Book of Isaiah) and cut their membership down to the four core members who made up the first true version of the group: Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett. Under the leadership of manager Matthew Knowles (Beyoncé’s father), the group scored a deal with Columbia Records and put together their debut album, which featured input from some of the biggest names in music at the time (including Wyclef Jean, Jermaine Dupri and Rob Fusari, who would later go on to aid the career of Lady Gaga).
Strangely, Destiny’s Child was not much of a chart hit (it peaked at number 63 on the Billboard 200), but it did end up selling over a million copies and spawned the smash single “No No No,” whose remix ended up near the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Lineup changes, solo albums and worldwide domination came later, but this was our first glimpse into the world of Destiny’s Child.