Pioneering Women In Heavy Metal And Hard Rock Music

Pioneering Women In Heavy Metal And Hard Rock Music

You possibly can depend the pioneering girls musicians in heavy metallic and exhausting rock on two palms. That mentioned, these artists – from the Runaways to Vixen to the late Wendy O. Williams – set the stage and set the bar excessive for individuals who got here after. And there are various – the Butcher Infants, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, Otep Shamaya of Otep, Angela Gossow and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, and Inside Temptation’s Sharon Janny den Adel – and their numbers are rising.

As soon as upon a time, people music, a seated, often-demure acoustic guitar efficiency, was a “secure” musical pursuit for younger girls. Then got here the late 60s “Ladies’s Liberation” motion, a phrase that right now sounds as archaic as pantyhose. You had just a few girls deeply exploring heavier, wilder music like, say, Grace Slick in Jefferson Airplane. However then, within the 70s, got here the appearance of heavy rock/metallic, and the too few girls who broke floor purveying it.

Whereas there’s nonetheless an enormous disparity within the numbers of ladies vs. males in heavy metallic and exhausting rock bands, thanks in nice half to the pioneering girls under, the doorways have been blown open. As of late, the scene is extra welcoming for a female-identifying heavy music aspirant than it’s ever been.

Take heed to the very best of The Runaways on Apple Music and Spotify.

The Runaways

The Runaways’ story – 5 younger teenagers from mid-‘70s Los Angeles – is the stuff of the flicks. And their story did certainly turn out to be one in 2010’s The Runaways. Whereas the Queens of Noise shocked some with now-iconic songs like “Cherry Bomb” and have been initially dominated by an precise Svengali, Kim Fowley, The Runaways got here into their musical chops and selves. A number of core members, together with singer Cherie Currie, guitarists Lita Ford and “I Love Rock & Roll” hitmaker Joan Jett, have solid careers that stick with it to this present day, and rightly so.

Suzi Quatro

Detroit firecracker Suzi Quatro got here up with The Pleasure Seekers, a household pop band along with her sisters. Within the mid-60s, the sight of the diminutive Quatro singing and on bass – taking part in along with her fingers, not a choose – was an anomaly. Quatro normalized the sight and sound along with her powerful, catchy tackle rock in a solo profession that noticed her achieve worldwide fame with glam-friendly songs like “Can The Can” and “48 Crash.” Although she was extra widespread abroad than in her native US musically, her late 70s function on Comfortable Days as Leather-based Tuscadero introduced Quatro into almost each TV in America. The one-time Rolling Stone cowl lady has additionally written books, together with The Hurricane and Unzipped.

Bam Bam/Tina Bell

Earlier than Pearl Jam and Nirvana, there was Seattle band Bam Bam, fronted by Tina Bell. Dubbed the “Queen of Grunge Punk,” a 1984 demo of Bam Bam’s “Villains [Also Wear White]” finds Bell’s bluesy, powerhouse vocals atop punky musicality, whereas further tracks, together with the speed-demony, attitudinal “It Stinks,” are collected throughout numerous streaming companies. A 2012 article in Seattle’s The Stranger opined that “Bam Bam struggled, partially as a result of audiences weren’t on board with an African American feminine punk singer.” Because the late singer’s son noticed, “The press in contrast her to Tina Turner, as if that made any sense.” Regardless of their too-short tenure and Bell’s subsequent dying, Bam Bam’s groundbreaking affect and songs will not be forgotten.

Doro Pesch

Warlock’s irresistible chant-along 1987 anthem “All We Are” was the introduction for a lot of to German singer Doro Pesch. Like Canadian Lee Aaron, Doro was dubbed “the Metallic Queen,” and it’s a title the likable and ever-busy Pesch simply lives as much as. First with Warlock, then solo as Doro, she’s put out 18 albums, residing between her native Dusseldorf and New York. The frontwoman, along with her cool, partaking attraction is perennially on tour. Within the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, her traditional ballad, “Fur Immer” (Ceaselessly), was redone, reminding audiences of her songwriting expertise.


Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead didn’t undergo fools gladly, and because the British all-female lineup Girlschool was one in every of his frequent collaborators, you will be certain they have been the true deal. The core members, singer/guitarist Kim McAuliffe and drummer Denise Dufort, have been with the lineup since its 1978 inception. With a jeans-and-leather picture akin to their New Wave of Heavy Metallic brethren Iron Maiden, they first broke with 1981’s Hit and Run album. Additional highlights embody their Motorhead collaboration “Please Don’t Contact,” “Race With the Satan,” and “Cmon, Let’s Go.”


Mohawked frontwoman Wendy O. Williams spewed intense punk-metal along with her band the Plasmatics. Her onstage persona was within the vein of Alice Cooper, pushing the boundaries of rock into shock. Six albums fronting the Plasmatics, 5 solo albums plus display work – together with an SCTV sketch with John Sweet in 1981 and the 1986 exploitation farce Reform College Women are simply part of the legacy that she left behind. The multi-faceted artist was an Amazonian pressure in all she did, however regardless of the spectacular area of interest she carved for herself, Williams took her personal life on the age of 48.


Vixen had large hair, sparkly, skintight outfits, and plied their commerce on L.A.’s Sundown Strip… identical to lots of the dude bands of the period. Initially from Minnesota, Vixen scored a major-label take care of EMI/Manhattan and their 1988 self-titled debut Vixen offered gold and almost crashed the Prime 20. With hundreds of thousands of Spotify streams, Vixen’s irresistibly melodic 1988 single “On The Fringe of a Damaged Coronary heart” nonetheless has legs; ditto the tune “Crying.” As of 2019, the band carries on with Lorraine Lewis, a veteran of one other all-female LA-based band, Femme Fatale.

Rock Goddess

Earlier than drummer Julie Turner was even 10 years previous, she was making music along with her sister, singer/guitarist Jody Turner, 13. By 1977 the siblings had fashioned a trio recognized appropriately sufficient as Rock Goddess, becoming a member of the New Wave of British Heavy Metallic alongside bands like Judas Priest and Girlschool. Songs like “Hell Hath No Fury” and “The Celebration By no means Ends” captured 80s followers, together with strident rockers that includes deft guitar solos, together with the stellar “Raiders.” Regardless of an extended hiatus, Rock Goddess now carries on as a trio with the Turner sisters and bassist Jenny Lane. The threesome’s 2019 file, This Time, was an exhilarating metallic throwback.

Lee Aaron

Rising up a fan of Led Zeppelin, The Strawbs, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, and The Runaways, by her mid-teens, the multi-talented Karen Lynn Greening was requested to hitch a band referred to as “Lee Aaron.” Becoming a member of as singer, keyboardist, and alto sax participant, Greening took the identify of the band as her personal. She additionally turned recognized by one other identify – the spectacular title “Metallic Queen,” after her hit 1984 album and track. With a dozen albums between 1982 and 2018, Aaron has explored a wide range of types, even jazz and blues. In actual fact, 2016’s Fireplace and Gasoline, was her first-all rock album in twenty years.

Assume we missed some pioneering girls in heavy metallic and exhausting rock? Tell us within the feedback under.

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