The Truth About Wilson Phillips

"Celebrity Family Feud" fans got a blast from the musical past on this weekend's season finale. How so? Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips, members of '90s group Wilson Phillips, faced off against modern-day a cappella group Pentatonix (via TV Insider). Phillips and the Wilson sisters were joined by Chynna's half-sister Bijou Phillips and Wendy and Carnie's mom Marilyn Wilson (via ABC) and competed on the game show to raise money for some of their favorite charities: ASPCA, MusiCares and Los Angelitos Orphanage Foundation.

If the name Wilson Phillips sounds familiar, there's a good reason for that. The trio got together in 1986 and went on to release their self-titled debut album in 1990 (via Rolling Stone). The record housed what would become their biggest hit to date — "Hold On." A bubbly and hopeful anthem, it cinched the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1990 (via Billboard). Rolling Stone noted that the group dethroned Madonna's "Vogue" in the process. That's no small feat as the Queen of Pop had already had several chart-toppers to her name by then, and Wilson Phillips was comprised of three new-comers.

Although they were new to the game, the girls had some famous roots. Not only that, but they went on to create a legacy that's kept them relevant all these years later. Read on to learn more about the celebrated hitmakers.

The women in Wilson Phillips have famous parents

The band name Wilson Phillips is obviously a reference to its members last names. However, only a music fan with an appreciation for the classics is likely to recognize the fact that these last names already played a role in music history. Chynna Phillips is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, best known now for hits like "California Dreamin'" and "Dedicated To The One I Love" (via Billboard). Wendy and Carnie Wilson meanwhile are the daughters of Brian Wilson of surf-rock band the Beach Boys (via Rolling Stone).

Their famous fathers were close, which Phillips explained to Rolling Stone led to the young girls developing a close friendship. They fell out of touch for a few years as they grew up; however, they reunited when Phillips had the idea of recording a charity single recorded by the children of famous parents. Owen Elliot (daughter of Mama Cass of The Mamas & The Papas) also signed on. However, she departed the group. The rest was history.

Hold On and their debut album notched the group mainstream success

Chynna Phillips, Wendy Wilson, and Carnie Wilson had famous parents. They themselves became famous almost overnight with the release of their debut album. The previously mentioned "Hold On" topped the Billboard Hot 100. The song went on to cinch the top spot on Billboard's year-end Hot 100 chart (via Billboard). It wasn't the only hit on the tracklist. The album spawned two more chart-toppers — "Release Me" and "You're In Love" (via Billboard).

All that success led to them receiving plenty of love at the 1991 Grammy Awards. Going into the biggest night in music, the hitmakers were nominated for four awards. That included nods in some of the most prestigious categories: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist (via New York Times). Although the group did not ultimately win, they cemented their legacy. However, their time together was relatively short.

Wilson Phillips went on hiatus in the 1990s and had several reunions after that

Released in 1992, Wilson Phillips's sophomore album "Shadows And Light" hit number four on the Billboard 200 album's chart (via Billboard). It failed to notch a breakout hit similar to "Hold On," but that didn't really matter. The following year Chynna Wilson decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career (via Chicago Tribute). "We were devastated," Carnie Wilson said of the time during a 2017 interview. Thankfully, their time apart was not permanent. In 2000, Phillips pushed for a reunion. 

"We started writing songs," Carnie reflected. There was a caveat to the recordings, though. Most of them have not been released. "We have around 15 gems that are sitting there in the refrigerator. They're really great pop tunes that feel good and have great messages with catchy harmonies." What gives? It's unclear why Wilson Phillips is sitting on what sounds like solid-gold material. Thankfully, they have released some music including a covers album called "California" in 2004 (via Rolling Stone).

They dropped a Christmas album in 2010 and in 2012 released an album titled "Dedicated." The latter features covers of hits popularized by the Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas. "It's a celebration of music that inspired us our whole lives. We wouldn't have known harmony had we not known our parents music," Carnie explained. Of course, something else happened between the two records that cemented the band's legacy in popular culture.

Wilson Phillips got a major boost when Hold On appeared in Bridesmaids

"Hold On" was released in 1990, but the song got another life in 2011. That's when it got some major love in one of the final scenes of "Bridesmaids." In the film, Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips famously linked up with Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph to perform the song at the climactic wedding complete with ridiculously endearing air drumming and lip syncing on the parts of Wiig and Rudolph (via YouTube). The scene lived in infamy and likely introduced the song to a new generation of fans.

Rolling Stone noted that the brilliant move gave the song a second life. It got covered by Artie (Kevin McHale), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Blaine (Darren Criss), and Sam (Chord Overstreet) on an episode of "Glee" (via YouTube). Then Wilson Phillips teamed up with Kelly Clarkson to record a performance of the song for Clarkson's talk show (via YouTube). Last year, they celebrated the song's 30th anniversary in style (via Today). Of course, they've kept busy with a couple other projects, too.

They haven't dropped an album of original material in years, but Wilson Phillips remain iconic

It's unclear if we'll ever hear any of the 15 songs Carnie Wilson told the Chicago Tribune that the group recorded when they reunited in 2000. However, the members of Wilson Phillips have kept busy with plenty of other projects in the years since. Chynna Phillips competed on "Dancing With The Stars" in 2011 (via ABC). The group also starred in a reality TV show called "Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On" in 2012 (via IMDb).

If their voices sound familiar and you're not a "Hold On" fan, that's possibly because they sang backup on a Rihanna song. Not just any Rihanna song, either. They featured on the Paul McCartney and Kanye West-featuring "FourFiveSeconds." According to Carnie Wilson, West's team reached out to the group. "He said, 'When I think of authenticity and I think of angelic, I think of you" (via Billboard). The "Monster" rapper then gave them free rein to put together harmonies, which eventually built out the bridge of the track. If you didn't know the history of the latest stars to compete on "Celebrity Family Feud," now you have at least a passing knowledge of Wilson Phillips's iconic career.