by Olivia Cunning
There aren't very many women rock stars. I admire those few have crushed the glass ceiling (guitar?) and made it in a male-dominated music genre.
One of my favorite rock bands is Heart. Ann Wilson, who has one of the most beautiful voices in rock 'n' roll, and her younger sister, Nancy Wilson, who has amazing skills on the electric guitar, became superstars not once, but twice. In the mid-seventies, they released several successful albums and had hits such as Barracuda, Crazy on You, Magic Man, and the softer Dog and Butterfly.
In the late 80s, Heart had several more hits, including These Dreams, What About Love, Never, and Alone. This summer they are on tour with Def Leppard. You know I want to see that show. I heart Heart. (and had major crushes on the members of Def Leppard in the 80s...)
Another group of women who made it big in the rock 'n' roll genre are The Runaways. This was a band completely composed of teenage girls. There's even a movie about their rise to fame. Have you seen it? They were more successful in Japan than in the US, but what blows me away is that when they were on tour, their opening bands were huge names like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, and Van Halen. Those were their opening bands. You go, girls! Their best known single is Cherry Bomb.
Even though the group broke up in 1978, most of the members continued in the rock music genre. The lead guitarist, Lita Ford, did a duet with Ozzy Ozbourne (Close My Eyes Forever) and had a big hit in the eighties called Kiss Me Once. The woman wails on the electric guitar.
Personal bias here, but the rhythm guitarist of The Runaways, Joan Jett, is in my opinion the hardest rocking woman in the business. I adore her. Total fangirl here. I want to be her when I grow up. My favorite of her songs is I Love Rock 'n' Roll.
I can't listen to this song without singing it at the top of my lungs. Aren't you glad this isn't Skype. :-)
These women were the rock 'n' roll trail blazers. I admire them for following their dreams and bringing music I love into the world and sharing it with millions.
Some more recent rock groups that I love that have female band members or singers include:
Evanescence. Their lead singer, Amy Lee, has the voice of an angel. I used to sing this song with my son every morning on the way to his junior high school. Ah, memories. This is Bring Me to Life. It's on the playlist of my first novel, Backstage Pass.
Sick Puppies. Their talent bassist, Emma Anzai, is a blast to watch in concert! I love their live shows. This is one of their many, many hits: You're Going Down.
Skillet. There are two women in this band. The rhythm guitarist, Korey Cooper (who is married to the lead singer), and the drummer/vocalist, Jen Ledger. I'm not sure how one drums as hard as she does and still manages to sing, but she's awesome. Here's their song Awake and Alive. Awesome!
Okay, one more. And then I'll rock out quietly on my own...
Halestorm. This is a relatively new band. I saw them in concert last summer. They rocked. The lead singer, Lzzy Hale, also plays guitar. This song will be on my fictional drummer's play list when his book comes out. If you've read Backstage Pass and/or Rock Hard, you'll totally get why this song MUST be on Eric Sticks' playlist. It's called I Get Off.
I admire all rock stars (obviously). I wanted to be a rock star as a teenager. My attempts to play the guitar are laughable, and I don't think I have the right attitude. What I wouldn't give to walk a mile in the leather of any one of these lady rockers.
Who are some of your favorite female musicians? They don't have to be rockers... ;-)