When one mentions rock and roll, it’s both natural and normal to think of a leather coated, hard rocking, mean motherfunker with a beard you could lose a badger in and denims coated in many a dubious substance. Whilst this may be true, it doesn’t detract from the fact that there are a lot of women out there who rule the roost as the queens of music. Here’s who I love.
1. Stevie Nicks
For many, many reasons. She was ethereal and beautiful and strange. She wrote incredible music, and she was never afraid to bare her heart to anyone who would listen. Fleetwood Mac are amazing band, no doubt about it. I love the original group and I love the ‘new’ Mac, if you will. I loved her gentle hippy chick attitude, she wasn’t a leather coated vixen from hell but nor was she a hopeless wall flower. I see many a girl in a belly baring top and a floaty skirt and I know exactly who she’s trying to copy. No judgement here. I’d give my right hip to look like Stevie.
2. Suzi Quatro
We owe Suzi a lot, perhaps more than we’re willing to admit. She was a tiny little dot of a thing, if you look at her, yet she packed a punch verbally and vocally. I love, love, love her voice. It’s gravelly and strong and yet she wrote songs of such eloquence, like “If you can’t give me a love”. She played bass like an absolute demon despite the fact that the instrument swamped her tiny frame. She was a trail blazer and exuded confidence.
3. Joan Jett
I adore Joan Jett. There’s a woman you wouldn’t want to mess with. From The Runaways to her solo career, she didn’t take any rubbish off anyone to the extent that even Lemmy from Motorhead said she knew what she was doing when it came to music. I had the pleasure of seeing her live a few years ago as a support to Alice Cooper and she was simply amazing- and let me tell you, the woman is in her late forties and has the kind of body most women need surgery to obtain. She gushed about how happy she was to be there in a voice as soft as a sugar fairy and then played guitar so loud I felt like my throat had been kicked in by a donkey.
4. PJ Harvey
I love Polly Jane. I mean, for a start, her name is Polly. How cute it that? Anyway, she makes odd music. It is rock, but it’s a bit folky and softer- she name checked Joni Mitchell as a huge influence and it isn’t hard to see why. “This is Love” and “Good Fortune” are my favourite songs of hers. She has a talent I’ve not yet seen equaled elsewhere.
5. Debbie Harry
I mean, seriously, don’t be daft. The woman makes sandwiches using her cheekbones as a knife. That’s a genuine fact right there, sort of. Anyway, stick me in a bin liner and some marigolds and I’d look like I was on day release but plonk her in them and she’s more beautiful than I could ever imagine. She knew how to rock, she sang with grace, effortlessly- it almost makes me mad to watch videos of her- she looks bored at all times! No fair. Anyway. She’s a goddess.
6. Louise Wener
The woman was not only at the forefront of Britpop but she also writes novels and they’re really, really, really good. She had a way with lyrics and I love her voice- it’s sweet and true and yet tinged with boredom and sarcasm. Talented it as talented does and this lady has it in bucket loads. If you haven’t read her books, I can’t recommend them enough. If you’ve never listened to any of Sleeper’s music, where have you been? Living in a cave?
7. Alison Mosshart
Stop it, just stop it okay, you beautiful, talented, strange creature. You make me sick with jealousy. She’s a new girl to the scene Alison but that means nothing, she’s got talent in droves. Her music is dirty rock, and she swans around in mens shirts and skintight jeans looking like a fashion model. She’s effortlessly cool.
What talent. A solo performer, but that doesn’t mean a thing. I love her music, it’s so unusual and different-rock and synth added together can never be a bad thing in my eyes. She hasn’t released any music for a while but I really hope she does again- she’s a very different and odd performer and I like her a lot.
There are so many others in here I could go on but I don’t want to bore you. Bikini Kill, L7, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman, KD Lang, Elastica, Kate Bush…oh, there are hundreds. Ladies, thank you. Sisters are indeed doing it for themselves.
Note: Here Mum! If you’re reading, weren’t you a dead ringer for young Suzi? Can I buy you a jumpsuit?