Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top Ten Female Rock Singers

I was making a new station on Pandora One a little while ago, and I only wanted female rock singers. I came up with some of the usual suspects on my own, but I wanted a little variety so I googled "greatest female rock singers." I will readily admit I WTF a lot, but I actually said, out loud, WHAT THE FUCK when I read some of the lists the results pointed me to. I have questions.

  • How the HOLY HELL is Mariah Carey a rock singer? Did I fall off the planet and get sucked into an alternate reality where shrilly screaming pop princesses are considered rock stars? The only way I can even see her fitting into the category at all is if only her "crazy" were considered. Cause, yeah, some rock stars catch that pretty easily.
  • Alison Mosshart? Maja Ivarssen? Sharon Foo? What? Who the fuck are these people? I'm not saying they suck. What I am saying is how the fuck do they make the "top" lists when I, a certified pop culture whore, have never heard of them?
  • Pink is NUMBER 158? What? Are crack monkeys making these lists? 
Damn. I do get a little heated over little things, so I better get off of that subject before I have a stroke. 

I'm making my own list for posterity's sake. And, since those evil ass monkeys can make their insipid little lists (with Whitney Houston on them), I get to put whoever the hell I want to on mine. Feel free to comment with your favorites, or bitch me out about my taste in women, er, music (if you dare). My list is in the order I think of them, not in any other particular order (because the hamsters in my head are a fickle bunch).

10. Janis Joplin. It's impossible to make this list without her and fuck you if you try. (Unless you're only making a contemporary list, then your choices will be very limited since rock is all but dead.) If you think Janis would have achieved fame in this day and age, you are sadly mistaken. In a world of processed pop stars with an emphasis on physical perfection before talent, Janis would have stood out like a (shining) sore thumb. She might have had a cult following, if she had even managed to get a recording contract. She wasn't beautiful by most people's standards, but I dare you to look at photos of her and see the happiness in her face and her eyes and tell me that she wasn't beautiful. Who gives a shit if it was the LSD talking or not. Gone too soon? Hell yes. But don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. 

9. Joan Jett. She's another woman that didn't fit "normal" society's idea of beautiful, but damn. She gave hope to a whole generation(s?) of women who didn't look like they stepped out of Seventeen Magazine and didn't think like they spent half their time at PTA meetings and the other half at church. It angers me that so much emphasis has been put on her sexual preference (is she? isn't she? who gives a shit?) because she is so much more than any label music critics (or fans) could slap on her. I sometimes wonder if she watches music videos in this age of auto tune and wonders what the hell happened to people with talent. Maybe she just needs to come back and kick everybody's ass. I have no doubt she could do it. With both hands tied behind her back and in leg irons. 

8. Ann/Nancy Wilson. The band Heart has been around longer than me, and with good reason. Their album Dreamboat Annie pretty much started it all in 1976, with Magic Man and Crazy On You. Their success carried them through the eighties, and they even had a top ten record in 2010 (Red Velvet Car). The Wilson sisters had it all, talent, looks, talent and more talent. They wrote songs people could relate to and blew us out of the water when the played them. Plus, one of them plays the guitar. Rock on!

7. Beth Hart. You have probably never heard of her, but you should have. Solo and with her band, The Beth Hart Band, she's put out eight albums, and none have made much of an impact on the charts, though she does have a legion of loyal followers. Best described as what Janis Joplin might have been, Hart's vocals are true to life and her music can best be described as classic, edgy rock and roll. If you haven't heard any of her work, go to YouTube and search her song "Immortal."

6. Alanis Morissette. I, like most of the world, first heard of Alanis Morissette when You Oughtta Know hit the airwaves. My first thought was "damn, she's pissed." My second was "I need this album." Jagged Little Pill is a classic, and always will be. Honestly, I've never heard an Alanis song I didn't like. Add to the mix her portrayal of God in Dogma, and you have a recipe for Awesome to the Nth Degree.

5. Debbie Harry. Where would we be without Blondie? Seriously? Debbie Harry even beat Krayshawn (yikes) to white girl rap with Blondie's 1980 song Rapture. I've heard the band referred to as "non-corporate" rock, and they definitely deserved the adjective. Did you know they're still making music? They released an album in 2011. Rock on, Debbie Harry. Rock on.

4. Grace Slick. If we omit the catchy pop music that Jefferson Airplane/Starship put out in the 80's, Grace Slick belongs on this list. Songs like White Rabbit and Somebody to Love cemented her place in rock and roll history. Though she officially retired from the business in 1990 (saying "all rock and rollers over the age of fifty look stupid and should retire"), lurid tales of her rock and roll lifestyle live on. I love her as much for her sarcastic point of view as I do for her music. She's on my list of ten people I would love to meet.

3. Stevie Nicks. Some people do not like Stevie Nicks's singing voice. I am not one of them. She is one of those singers that you just know it's her when you hear the song. Distinctive. With or without Fleetwood Mac, her music is memorable. It's hard to pick one song of hers as my favorite, I'd have to rock, paper scissors between Rhiannon and the Edge of Seventeen.

2. Tina Turner. If it feels like Tina Turner has been around forever, it's because she has. There are very few people in the entertainment industry that can boast a FIVE DECADE career. After leaving the hell that was her marriage to Ike Turner, Tina turned (heh) the tables on everyone and emerged as THE rock chick of the eighties. I can still listen to her classics and remember hearing them for the first time.

1. Melissa Etheridge. With a somewhat country music slant, Melissa Etheridge has been all over the airwaves since 1988. Her slightly raspy voice and the subject matter of her songs place her firmly on this list with no apologies. She's been forced to live a lot of her private life in public and has been an inspiration to many people because of this. Though I don't do live shows, I've read so much about how fantastic she is on stage that I have put seeing her live on my bucket list.

Honorable mentions: Lita Ford, Amy Lee, Pat Benetar, Annie Lennox, Beverly McClellan, Lzzy Hale, Doro Pesch, Cristina Scabbia, Tarja Turunen, Sheryl Crow, Shirley Manson


  1. Nice! I can't believe how many folks over look Joan Jett. I like her stuff and I used to have a huge crush on her. I think I'd put her a little closer to the top, because she was what I like to think Rock is, only, from the girls point of view.

  2. Disappointed at the lack of Simone Simons, but I guess if you aren't into the european metal scene, you wouldn't have heard of her.

    1. I really don't know a lot about European metal, with the exception of Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and maybe Within Temptation. I will look up Simone Simons, though. Thank you. :)


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