Strong women rock! And on this International Women’s Day, here’s a playlist of female rockers:
I always try to start my playlists with a Springsteen song. But on Women’s Day, how to do that? Because the Night was written by both Springsteen and Patti Smith, however, she was the first to release it. The story goes Springsteen had the hook and the music but he couldn’t get a feel for the lyrics. His producer at the time, Jimmy Iovine, brought the unfinished song to Patti Smith, who he was also producing, and she wrote the rest of the lyrics, recorded it, and had a hit.
Stevie Nicks wrote Stand Back on her honeymoon, inspired by Prince’s Little Red Corvette. Prince even came in to play the synthesizers on this song (uncredited), and they split the royalties 50/50 so there would be no bad feelings. Stevie was considered one of the Queens of Rock & Roll, between her work with Fleetwood Mac and solo.
I don’t know how you could have a rockin’ women’s playlist and not include Tina Turner. Her career began in the world of the 1960s and continued for quite some time. In the music video era, she seemed to thrive with this new medium. What’s Love Got To Do With It? went to number one on the Billboard charts and is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Magic Man, written by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, is the story of a girl being seduced by an older man, much to the chagrin of her mother. It went to number nine on the Billboard singles chart in 1976. The song is noted for its guitar work as well as the early use of a Minimoog synthesizer.
Chrissy Hynde stands out as a lone female in a band otherwise made up of men. I don’t think The Pretenders would have had the success they did without her, though. Brass In Pocket was written about the bravado she felt she had to project when performing. Hynde wrote the lyrics to the chords James Honeyman-Scott had come up with in the introduction.
When you think of Joan Jett, you usually think of her solo work. Prior to that very successful solo career, she was a member of The Runaways with Lita Ford, Sandy West, and Cherie Currie. Jett did rerecord the song with The Blackhearts, but it was the original Runaways version that made it onto the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack in 2014.
No one can argue with the success Debbie Harry brought to the band Blondie. As their lead singer, she was a consummate performer and had a terrific voice to boot. One Way or Another was a group effort, with the lyrics being based on a stalker Debbie had in the early 1970s.
Long Island girls are the best in the world, and there’s probably no better voice out there than Pat Benatar. I’ll fight you on it. Promises in the Dark was written by Benatar and her second husband, guitarist Neil Geraldo. It’s hard-driving rock, plus that melodic opera-trained voice. Wowza!
Siouxsie Sioux (a.k.a. Susan Ballion) is a British punk rocker who was known for quirky songs with the band Siouxsie and the Banshees. Peek-A-Boo went to number 16 on the British charts and was very popular on alternative stations in the United States.
I found it very difficult to choose just one song by another Long Island girl, Cyndi Lauper. She grew up close to where I did and even worked at Belmont Park for a time. Although Girls Just Want to Have Fun might be her most well-known song, I think True Colors really shows her voice well. It’s been covered a bunch of times by other artists, but I prefer Cyndi’s version.
Bonnie Raitt has collaborated with just about everyone in music, or so it seems. She was one of the organizers of the No Nukes concert in 1979, however, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that she really broke through to the mainstream with a solo album that included Something To Talk About.
I have a very vivid memory of this song involving my oldest daughter. We were driving somewhere and suddenly out of the back seat, her 6-year-old voice started singing along… “I wanna come over…. the hell with the concert plans… you told me you loved me… that’s all I believe…”
This song by the Eurythmics is one of my favorites. Would I Lie To You is a great song of female empowerment, as an abused woman who has been cheated on finds the strength to kick her lover to the curb. And in some great guitars and brass and it’s a lot of fun too.
And there you have it! There are many more women who could be included here, but these were my top rockers that I salute on International Women’s Day. To view all of these songs on one playlist, follow the YouTube playlist link below: