An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

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An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by slasher on Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:12 pm

Every now and then, the unsung heroes of rock
and roll get their due—but being a groundbreaking woman in music is
like being unsung twice. Despite their incredible contributions and
influence, legendary woman musicians from Etta James to Joan Jett to Chrissie Hynde are often resigned to generic “Women in Rock” stories, despite superstar status, writes Gibson.com reporter Russell Hall.
Great as they are, they only barely scratch
the surface of the great music cranked out by women since the birth of
blues and rock and roll. The same can be said of this story—for every
amazing woman artist we could think of, there were dozens of others
that we left out. It’s a start, though. Here—in no particular order, so
don’t write in all mad that you don’t like the ranking because there
isn’t one—are some incredible artists who deserve some due credit.
Check ‘em out, and let us know who we left out by writing to editor@gibson.com. The only way we can justify leaving out people like Wanda Jackson, Suzie Quatro, and Melanie is to promise a Part II.
Watch video here.
Bessie Smith


Billed as the “Queen of All Torch Singers,” Bessie Smith is generally
regarded as the greatest female blues vocalist America has ever
produced. In addition to recording with some of the finest musicians of
the 1920s, Smith wrote much of her own material—a rare thing in those
years. When she died in a car crash in 1937, more than 10,000 mourners
paid tribute to the singer as she lay in state.
Billed as the “Queen of All Torch Singers,Bessie Smith
is generally regarded as the greatest female blues vocalist America has
ever produced. In addition to recording with some of the finest
musicians of the 1920s, Smith wrote much of her own material—a rare
thing in those years. When she died in a car crash in 1937, more than
10,000 mourners paid tribute to the singer as she lay in state.
Watch video here.
Ruth Brown


With the notable exception of Ray Charles, Ruth Brown was the artist
most responsible for putting Atlantic Records on the map in the late
’40s. By the time she left the label in 1963, Brown was the
best-selling artist in the company’s history. Broadway stardom soon
followed, but her early gospel and swing recordings helped shape
American rhythm and blues.
Watch video here.
Marianne Faithfull


The spate of strong-willed female artists who emerged in the early ’90s owe an incalculable debt to Marianne Faithfull.
Shedding her late ’60s doll-like image, Faithfull emerged in the ’80s
as an audacious songwriter and as one of the most gifted interpretative
singers of her time. Janis Ian once described Faithfull as one of the
few artists capable of “using liberal helpings of obscenities in a brilliant way.
Watch video here.
Laura Nyro


To get a sense of Laura Nyro’s impact on the music of the ’60s and
’70s, one need only look at the names of the artists who recorded her
songs. Frank Sinatra, Three Dog Night, Aretha Franklin, and the 5th Dimension are just a few who heeded the beck and call of Nyro’s distinctive compositions.
Judee Sill


The very first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records label,
Judee Sill made two albums that established the “Laurel Canyon sound”
subsequently embraced more fully by Carole King and Carly Simon. Her
signature song, “Jesus Was a Cross Maker,” was covered by Warren
Zevon on his 1995 album, Mutineer. Deeply troubled and prone to
substance abuse, Sill died in 1979, at age 35, from a cocaine overdose.

Watch video here.
Maureen Tucker


As a founding member of the Velvet Underground, Maureen Tucker ushered
in a newfound respect for the role of women in rock music. Although
vastly different in style, her Olajunti-influenced drumming was every
bit as distinctive as that of Ringo Starr. Former bandmate John Cale
summed up Tucker’s contribution to the Velvets with a single word:
monumental.
Watch video here.
Jessie Mae Hemphill


A pioneering blues artist, Jessie Mae Hemphill
defied male-dominated traditions in the ’60s and ’70s by singing
original material, accompanying herself on electric guitar, and playing
tambourine with her foot. Foregoing the standard 12-bar blues style of
her day, the Mississippi native favored open tunings that gave her
playing a hypnotic, droning quality. French filmmaker Marc Oriol
produced a documentary about Hemphill—titled Me and My Guitar—that was
shown on France’s TV Cannes in 2001.
Watch video here.
Penelope Houston


Penelope Houston has essentially enjoyed two careers: one, as the
frontwoman for San Francisco’s best-ever punk band; the other, as a
gifted solo artist who helped shape the West Coast’s “New Folk
movement. It’s in the first role that she made her most formidable
impression. As vocalist for the Avengers, Houston established the
template for the likes of Chrissie Hynde with her strong-willed,
aggressively intelligent punk songs. The Avengers’ sole full-length
album—released in 1983, after the group disbanded—remains an
under-appreciated classic.
Watch video here.
Susan Tedeschi


Blues music will remain malleable and vibrant as long as the genre
keeps spawning the likes of Susan Tedeschi. Like Bonnie Raitt, to whom
she’s often compared, the Boston native grew up devouring the work of
Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, and Freddie King—all
of whom are detectable in her guitar playing. Not beholden to
traditional expectations, Tedeschi blurs the lines between gospel,
rhythm and blues, and straight-up blues-rock.
Watch video here.
Exene Cervenka


X frontwoman Exene Cervenka was a poet first and a rocker second, which probably goes far toward explaining why Jim Morrison’s
band mate Ray Manzarek produced X’s first four albums. At her best,
Cervenka evoked vintage Grace Slick in the way she anchored X’s
quixotic blend of revved-up rockabilly and knife-sharp punk songs.
Among her X-tra curricular activities are several spoken-word albums,
and in 2005 her journals and mixed media collages were featured in a
one-person exhibit at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Watch video here.
Wendy O. Williams


The late Plasmatics frontwoman was the most obvious cog in the lineage
that eventually spawned Courtney Love. Blessed with a voice that
sounded like crushed glass, Williams was among the first women to fuse
punk rock with performance art. Her appearance on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow
Show—during which she blew up a car—remains one of the most memorable
moments in TV history. Williams died in 1998 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Watch video here.
The Lunachicks


Giving the oh-so-serious New York rock scene a much needed does of
humor, and estrogen, the Lunachicks were a visually striking
powerhouse. Fronted by the towering and bellowing Theo Kogan,
flanked—often in matching vinyl cheerleader outfits that sported the
words “Luna” and “Chicks”—by guitarist Gina Volpe and
bassist Squid. With Volpe’s screaming Zeppelin and Sabbath-influenced
guitar lines and Squid’s rapid-fire Dee Dee Ramone attack, the band
were a ferocious live experience, from tiny New York clubs to the
Warped Tour. Throughout the '90s the group reveled in songs filled with
scatological, tongue-in-cheek lyrics delivered in a punk-metal style.
Is there any better song title than "Fallopian Rhapsody"? Or better album title than Babysitters On Acid?
Watch video here.
Karen O


Karen O was honored with Spin magazine’s annual “Sex Goddess Award” in
both 2004 and 2005. Truth is, however, the Yeah Yeah Yeah frontwoman’s
vocal talents make that assessment all the more superficial. In
addition to being art-punk’s premiere trendsetter, Ms. O can turn on a
dime from screeching banshee to cooing seductress. At her most feisty,
she comes off as a more amped-up (and taller) version of vintage Polly Jean Harvey.

Thanks for the info to Gibson.com.
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by carrotmadman6 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:21 pm

Where's Michael Jackson? Razz
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by morinn on Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:53 pm

I always wanted to be the next Maureen Tucker! Razz
Long live women! yaay!! Razz
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by star_rant on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:47 pm

yaa micheal jackson was a groundbreaking lady! ROFL
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by slasher on Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:08 pm

sign huh Michael Jackson paedophile (though judged otherwise) and not travesty.
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by offbeat_chick on Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:53 am

WOW! i did not know about most of these ladies. It's a great thing to pay tribute to them. they are too often forgotten.
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Re: An Incomplete Tribute To Groundbreaking Women In Music

Post by Jevin on Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:52 am

I actually liked Michael Jackson (as an artist). I still do...

Joni Mitchell should be in there.
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