There are dominant female influences in music that we are well aware of. Artists like Madonna, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner have undeniably paved the way for countless women rockers of today, standing up as influences and icons to today's generation of female musicians.
But what about the killer, rigid edged female metal girls of yesteryear that raged through the male dominated world of hard rock and heavy metal with a 6 inch stiletto implanted firmly into the buttocks of their male counterparts and hold their own in the rock arena, only to burn out and not given the credibility and integrity they were well deserved?
When we, as a western society, think of the female innovators of rock and roll, we seem to disregard and surpass the great artists like 1979's London bred metal-muthas Girlschool, or the lashing metal cords of teen rockers The Runaways in the mid seventies, both bands which trail blazed along side male groups like Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, Motorhead and Black Sabbath and could effortlessly hold their own against the bad boys of rock.
The Runaways are a high-quality case in point.
Featuring Lita Ford and Joan Jett, two powerful forces who would both later have flourishing solo careers, the Runaways profoundly went unnoticed not only because they were female, but because they were 15 and 16 years old when they began. Huge in Japan, The Runaways were the innovators of all female bands likewise to come. Although Japan embraced them with open arms and a raised leather fist in the air, American audiences, so conditioned by our testosterone laden culture, recoiled in horror at the thought of seeing 16 year old schoolgirls clad in black leather and heavy eye makeup belting out crunchy guitar riffs screaming out such lyrics as [i]"hey street boy what's your style, your dead end dreams don't make you smile, I'll give ya something to live for, have ya, grab ya, till you're sore"[/i], with front woman Cherie Currie smothered tightly in a corset and thigh high platform boots.
Were the American audiences, who were so accustomed to heavyweight male front men such as Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy Kilmiester, intimidated by The Runaways? Or in the case of Girlschool, Motherhead in high heels? Scared to accept little girls playing along side the bad boys of metal and actually holding their own in the rock and roll court?
Throughout history, critics and media alike have honored pop sensations The Go Go's as the most credible, first female group to actually play their instruments and have commercial success, but yet there is never any mention of The Runaways or Girlschool who both came years before The Go Go's even existed. Bassist Kathy Valentine of The Go Go's was even once in Girlschool while under the moniker Painted Lady in the late seventies. We, as a culture, praise girl bands like The Donnas (who the Runaways were a MAJOR influence and continually heard through their tongue-in-cheek lyrics and stiff driven guitar riffs) and vocalists like Courtney Love who is now deemed rock's bad girl many years AFTER Plasmatics front woman Wendy O Williams was blowing up Cadillac's on stage, getting arrested for punching a police officer after he ˜mishandled her', driving a red convertible into the Hudson River and wrapping herself in black electrical tape and shaving cream.
This topic is to take a look at all the female rockers you may have overlooked. The women of metal I have loved since I was a child, who paved the way for the 90's artists to be accepted into mainstream rock. The forgotten ladies who, with sweat, blood and balls, smashed down the male dominated metal scene with a swift kick of a high-heeled stiletto boot and a lipstick sneer.
My own personal favorite? GIRLSCHOOL; I was 8 years old when i first heard the screaming guitar riffs of the opening of Screaming Blue Murder and have had the honour of actually running their Official Website and conversing with them through email and phone years later (the website is currently being revamped though when i get time to do so). It was a dream come true for me. I even have their logo tattooed on my left shoulder. How about yours? Who's your fave female rockers and why?
[This message was edited by ViperBoy on 12-20-02 at 08:57 PM.]