Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought I would write up a post about some of the most powerful women in music. To start my research for the post, I began Google-ing the most influential musicians of all time. Automatically I was brought to Rolling Stone’s list of their 100 Greatest Artists, and I excitedly starting scrolling through, looking for some awesome women to write about.
That is until I realized how male-dominated the list really was. Out of the 100 artists, there were only nine females that made the cut (and I’m including the Talking Heads for their bassist here). So I decided to put together a small list of my own. Here are some influential women that have truly shaped the music industry.
Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox. At just fifteen and sixteen years old, these ladies proved that girls can rock just as hard as the boys can, if not harder. Even after the Runaways disbandment, the members were still making history. Joan Jett was one of the first female artists to create her own record label and she’s also one of the few gals inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It didn’t matter if she was singing with Fleetwood Mac or if she was doing her own thing. Stevie truly knew how to make music. With Fleetwood Mac, the band received five Grammy nominations and their Rumours record won Album of the Year. Then, as a single performer, she accumulated eight Grammy nominations and was also nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal five time, more than any other woman. Stevie is a rocker legend.
Tina has sold more concert tickets than any other solo artist in history. She’s won eight Grammys in total and her famous “Proud Mary” song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. And just because she’s not really making music anymore, doesn’t mean she’s stopped being phenomenal. Two years ago, she became the oldest person to ever model on the front cover of Vogue, and at 73 she still looked impeccable. You go girl!
She’s the Queen of Pop, and for good reason. Not only does she write most of her own music and produce most of her own songs, but by selling more than $300 million records, she’s the best-selling female artist and fourth best-selling artist of all time. She’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and if all of that wasn’t enough to show how talented she is, Madonna was also able to create a great acting career for herself.
This powerhouse has been awarded more times than any other female artist (415 times!!!). She was also the only singer ever to get seven consecutive #1 hits on the charts and her first ever album was the biggest selling album for any woman in history. In addition to her achievements in music, Whitney flourished with the success of “The Bodyguard” and her many other acting roles.
Annie was half of the Eurythmics but she’s also a whole lot of amazing. Not only did she embark on a successful solo career in the 90s with her album “Diva,” but she also has eight Brit award, four Grammys and was also once granted the Billboard Century Award by Billboard Magazine. On top of all that, she’s also a huge activist for HIV/AIDS awareness. It’s no wonder the Queen of England loved her enough to have her perform at Buckingham Palace.
Of course this list can’t be complete without the Queen Bey herself. Beyoncé is all about women empowerment and feminism, breaking old school boundaries by showing the world that women have the right to embrace their sexuality. And then on top of her girls “Run the World” attitude, she’s won 20 Grammies, has been nominated more times than any other woman in music history and she’s also listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Let’s be real, can she get any more fabulous?
And there are so many others. Janis Joplin, Christina Aguilera, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Patti Smith, Alicia Keys, Shania Twain, Amy Winehouse. And that’s just to name a few. So in honor of Women’s History Month, put on your best girl-power playlist and rock on to some great songs.
~ Morgan Hughley