Top 10 women of rock

Published on nxgzine.co.uk


10. Courtney Love

She is the Marmite of the alternative rock scene- and, personally, I love her. She is controversial and talented- what more could you want from a rockstar? Besides from being Kurt Cobain’s widow, she is the lead singer and guitarist for grunge band, Hole. I saw her live at Brixton Academy, and damn, she still knows how to bring it.

9. Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane)

For me, Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane are the sound of the 60s- psychedelic rock at its best. Her deep, screaming vocals made Jefferson Airplane unforgettable and certainly impossible to copy. Not the easiest karaoke option…

8. Joni Mitchell 

She inspired women every to pick up a guitar and play, Joni Mitchell was the voice of the female revolution and a truly innovative and inspiring artist. She began busking and singing in nightclubs in Canada before moving to NYC. She became heavily involved in the folk music scene and became known as a respected songwriter before finding fame as a singer. Her striking vocals and distinctive guitar style, alongside her experimentation with jazz, rock and folk, truly secure her place in this list.

7. Suzi Quatro

The Wild One of glam rock. She was the most prominent female of the British glam rock scene, and inspired the likes of Joan Jett- who also appears on this list somewhere… She sang undeniably awesome hits, such as Your Mama Won’t Like Me and Can The Can. She is also a pretty decent bassist.

5. Stevie Nicks

Stevie is one of the most successful female singers of all time – period. She is best known for her time with Fleetwood Mac, but she has also enjoyed a long and successful solo career. Viva la Stevie.

4. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was probably one of the first ‘proper’ female rock stars. She fused blues and rock in a way that have never been heard before, or since. Though she recorded only a few albums, she is perceived as one of the greatest women of rock and blues to this day, opening doors to a whole new generation of female musicians.

3. Ann & Nancy Wilson

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart fame, have been rocking since the 1970s and show no signs of giving up anytime soon. Throughout their career, which has spanned four decades, they have delved into hard rock, metal, folk rock and a whole host of other genres, enjoying success in all areas.

2. Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry ushered in a new wave of rock and roll when she arrived on the punk rock scene in the mid 1970s. Best known as the front woman of Blondie, she inspired women everywhere to hack their hair off, reach for the peroxide and sing along to hits such as Hanging On The TelephoneHeart Of GlassCall Me, and Rapture. Blondie are still just as relevant today- check out their new single, Mother:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXX8rUV4p9A


1. Joan Jett

There is no woman who is more rock and roll than Joan Jett. She has been paving the way for females in rock for over 35 years. She taught herself how to play guitar as a teenager and went on to form The Runaways in the mid 1970s; an all-girl rock group that proved to the male-dominated rock industry that women could show male rockers a thing or two. When the girls disbanded in the late 70s, she went solo before forming Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. She is best known for her number one hit, I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, and songs such as Bad Reputation, Crimson And Clover, I Hate Myself For Loving You and Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah).


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11 thoughts on “Top 10 women of rock

  1. Personally, I think Lita Ford gets a rough deal in a lot of these internet ‘women in rock’ lists. I dislike the pop-metal stuff she did in the 80’s, but she’s definitely one of the most accomplished female guitarists I’ve heard. It’s not like she is alone in iffy 80’s work – some of the stuff Joan Jett did after the Runaways was pretty naff – the cover of I love rock n roll is so blatantly commercial airplay seeking she is lucky her ‘punk and alt rock goddess’ rep survived it. I’m a bit of a Runaways fan, so nothing against JJ at all, but why she gets put on a pedestal as if she’s the female Joe Strummer or something whilst most of the others, especially Lita Ford, are largely ignored, I just don’t understand it. Women are pretty well represented in punk and alt rock music, but I can’t name another woman who can shred out a solo like Lita? Really, regardless of taste, she should be held up as a role model, not airbrushed out of history like she was in the recent biopic.

    1. I agree with you- she is a fantastic guitarist, and undoubtedly one of the best female guitarists out there. Had this list been called something like ‘Top 10 Female Guitarists’, she would feature and she would top Joan Jett. However, I based this on the overall ‘package’, so to speak, and whilst Lita may be a bloody brilliant guitarist, I personally find her quite ‘blah’ – not to mention that I neither was not a fan of the pop-metal stuff. This is of course my personal opinion, and for the many that are avid Lita fans she would be here, but her music is not really the kind of music I generally really, really like. I think the reason Joan is always held in high regards is due to the fact that she is a likeable personality who oozes ‘rock and roll’, with an all-round talent including song writing and throughout her time she has managed to not only inspire a lot of her fans, but also a lot of females that are in the music industry today. And let’s not forget Blackheart Records.

      I wouldn’t say that Lita was brushed under the rug, she frequently features in these sorts of lists and I think she had a fairly substantial part in the 2010 biopic, but she distanced herself from the project and didn’t want to be involved. Also, the book it was based on was written by Cherie Currie – and it’s no secret that they didn’t get on during their time in The Runaways.

  2. Introduced me to Grace Slick – never really listened to Jefferson Airplane that much. And the Wilsons – I have to admit to only really having known Alone. Asked my musical guru about them all and he pointed me in the right direction of a few tracks. That’s the beauty of music – there’s always something new to learn 😀

    Also encouraged me to go back and listen to a few of Joni’s tunes and I bought Bad Reputation so great article – did a good job 🙂

    WWJJD? is a play, I assumed, on WWJD?

    WWJD? is a wrist band kids wear that means What Would Jesus Do?

    So I kinda thought Kay meant What Would Joan Jett Do? Now that would be a cool wristband!!! 😉

    1. I think I need to expand this to a Top 20, there are just too many women that need to be mentioned, particularly Brody.

      Woah, I watched a few of your videos, you are totally incredible. I think I need to include you too, haha!

      1. Thanks very much! 😀
        Lol…. maybe in a few years’ time people will be able to find my mug on lists of this kind, who knows?
        \m/ Rock on \m/

  3. Top article – introduced me to a couple of new people to listen too as well!

    Courtney Love… “…is the Marmite of the alternative rock scene” Fantastic line – love it 😀

    hehe… and to Kay – WWJJD? – too funny 🙂

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