In rock ‘n’ roll, it’s the men that get most of the glory. It may seem like a man’s world, but screaming guitars and head banging isn’t just reserved for the guys. Unfortunately, the history books don’t often show women making noise. There’s an egregious lack of women in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2016, just two women were nominated out of the 15 possible inductees.
Women In Rock Are Powerful
Gorgeous, tough-as-nails women have been causing a ruckus throughout rock ‘n’ roll history and it’s time they get the attention they deserve – from Kim Gordon’s epic guitar solos to Stevie Nicks’ powerful voice. Women can do it just like the boys, and these leading ladies prove it. See who’s on our list for the top rockin’ babes in the industry.
The Voice of The Cranberries: Dolores O’Riordan
Dolores O’Riordan was the fierce-as-anything front woman for the ’90s rock outfit the Cranberries. Her voice helped to define the band’s sound and catapulted them into mainstream rock success. Her sexy style certainly didn’t hurt, but her writing chops are what make her one of the hottest frontwomen in rock history.
She wrote the band’s biggest, most recognizable hits “Linger” and “Zombie,” which perfectly showcased her amazing voice and cemented the band’s signature sound. O’Roirdan is the reason the Cranberries are the Cranberries. Sadly, O’Rierdan died suddenly in a London hotel on January 15, 2018. A cause of death was not immediately available but her publicist reported that everyone was shocked and devastated by the news.
Gwen Stefani Is All of Us
What’s the hottest women in rock list without Gwen Stefani? Before her foray into pop music and reality TV, the singer fronted the band No Doubt. No Doubt’s music inspired a generation of young women, from their single “I’m Just A Girl” which is a heartfelt approach about the difficulties of being a young woman in a male-dominated world, to her record-breaking, ska-tinged “Don’t Speak.”
Stefani won two Grammys for her record Rock Steady. Gwen’s signature voice, experimental style, and wild hair colors helped create a lasting image for her band. Without her, No Doubt may have never risen to their immense level of fame.
Susanna Hoffs Records In The Buff
Susanna Hoffs, the co-founder of the rock band The Bangles is a bonafide shredder. She also paved the way for women in rock music. In the 1980s, it was almost unheard of for a group of all women to be in a rock band, but Hoffs and her Bangles bandmates did it anyway. They eventually signed to Columbia Records in 1984 and released their first full-length album All Over The Place.
Two years later, the band released their breakthrough record Different Light with the hit single “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Hoffs’ hotness can be attributed to her immense talent but her unique recording style certainly doesn’t hurt. The singer admitted that she sang “Eternal Flame” the band’s biggest-selling single completely naked.
Alison Mosshart Paved The Way
You may know Alison Mosshart as the fearless, gorgeous haired frontwoman of The Kills, but her career has been longer and more influential than you may have ever realized. Mosshart got her start as the vocalist of the groundbreaking punk band Discount.
Though they disbanded in 2000, Discount paved the way for female-led punk bands like Paramore and The Donnas. In recent years, when she’s not fronting The Kills, she’s busy hanging out with indie rock legend Jack White. She’s a key member of his group the Dead Weather, which also includes bandmates Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence.
Stevie Nicks’ Talent Cup Is Full
There’s a reason Stevie Nicks is often considered the queen of rock n roll. The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman is one of the best-selling musical acts of all time. Nicks has sold over 140 million records worldwide and produced over 40 top 50 hits. Nicks has been nominated for a whopping eight Grammy awards and two American Music Awards for her solo work alone.
Her work in Fleetwood Mac has landed her a Grammy and five nominations. If that doesn’t make you hot, we’re not sure what does. Nicks is also a multi-talent. The legendary songstress has landed a number of acting gigs including a role on the popular FX series American Horror Story.
Debbie Harry AKA Blondie
Blondie was absolutely groundbreaking and the reason behind their fame and success is the too-hot-to-touch Debbie Harry. Blondie led a new wave revolution, and Harry’s voice and charisma is at the forefront.
She’s graced the cover of Rolling Stone and her cool, sexy style and bleach blonde hair became so synonymous with her band that people actually just started calling her Blondie (though she assured everyone she was, in fact, Deborah Harry, a real person). Harry is also an accomplished actress with a career spanning over 60 film roles and a number of TV appearances.
Grace Slick Tells It Like It Is
Grace Slick is another classic rock icon who paved the way for women in rock n’ roll. The Jefferson Airplane frontwoman has a music career spanning four decades with numerous credits including lending her vocals to the mega hits “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit,” and “We Built This City.”
Slick may have retired stating that “All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire,” but even in middle age, she managed to smash records. At 47 years old the songstress blew age stereotypes and broke her record for being the oldest female vocalist on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Shirley Manson Is A Legend
Grunge goddess Shirley Manson has a haunting mystique that is the hallmark of her band Garbage’s aesthetic. This gorgeous rocker is smashing age stereotypes and taking names. At the age of 50, she’s still performing with Garbage who released their most recent record Strange Little Birds in 2016.
Quite frankly, it’s Manson’s I-Don’t-Care attitude that created her band’s legacy and allows her to still perform today. What’s hotter than a confident woman who doesn’t care a stitch about society obsession with youth? “Only Happy When It Rains” remains the band’s biggest hit and is still played on popular radio stations today.
Cherie Currie Doesn’t Avoid Controversy
You may have known Joan Jett as the face of the Runaways because of her massive commercial success with the Blackhearts, but Cherie Currie was actually the lead singer and her punk spirit changed rock music forever. Currie proved teen girls are powerful – and they have a voice that’s worth listening to.
She also wasn’t afraid of controversy. When she sang songs like “Cherry Bomb,” the definitely not-of-legal-age rocker, would dance around in her lingerie. Though Currie went down in rock history, she never gave up on being an artist even in retirement. She currently creates chainsaw wood carvings – just as spunky as ever!
Avril Lavigne Made Canadian Rock History
Avril Lavigne made it okay for tomboy teenage girls to be pop stars, but she always had one of her hands firmly planted in hard rock. This front lady rocks her own solo project like it’s no one’s business – she’s in charge and rightly so.
After rising to fame as a teenager with her songs “Complicated” and “Sk8 Boi” in 2002, she garnished a decades-long career with over 40 million album sales. She is the second best-selling Canadian female artist of all time, only behind the legendary Celine Dion. Also, Avril totally patented the epic tie and t-shirt combo.
Jenny Lewis Knows How To Rock
Jenny Lewis may have started as a child actor, but her musical talent and ultra-sexy voice lead her into indie darling success. We’re also totally jealous of her long, fiery red hair. Lewis fronted the band Rilo Kiley, who made waves in the early ’00s with their single Portions for Foxes.
The band released the major label debut Under The Blacklight with Warner Bros. then disbanded. This wasn’t the end for the prolific singer/songwriter, who made a name for herself as a solo artist. Her record Voyager was declared one of the albums of the year by A.V. Club, Spin and NPR. Lewis has lent her vocals to a number of amazing artists including Bright Eyes, Elvis Costello and Brandon Flowers.
Alexis Krauss Plays With Guns
Alexis Krauss is a voice of a new generation of rockers. The singer fronts the electro-punk band Sleigh Bells and found massive commercial success when her music was used in…well, commercials. Krauss’ punchy vocals help define Sleigh Bells’ disjointed, punk sound. Her music is powerful – throwing femininity into an otherwise masculine sound.
Krauss breaks down gender barriers, adopting a sexy, vintage pin-up style while screaming into a microphone. She’s adorable in that way where it seems like she’d be able to drink the boys under the table. In her music video for “Comeback Kid,” she embraces this aesthetic by jumping around in bed with a shotgun – scary but you have to admit that she looks good!
Lzzy Hale is taking modern metal by storm after forming the hard rock band Halestorm in 1997. This way hot singer appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and was voted one of Revolver’s 25 Hottest Chicks in Metal.
Lzzy has a long track record of singing with some of hard rock’s biggest acts. She’s done guest spots with Amy Lee from Evanescence and Alter Bridge. She also used her good looks and posed in Revolver’s Hottest Chicks calendar. Hey, if she doesn’t mind showing off what she’s got, why should we?
The Iconic Courtney Love
Few women are as iconic in the ’90s grunge scene as Courtney Love. Courtney fronted the alternative rock band Hole and was in a highly publicized marriage with Kurt Cobain (and they got a gorgeous daughter out of the deal). Courtney is known for her bleach-blonde hair and baby doll dresses, but she’s quite the prolific songwriter.
Courtney is credited with writing Hole’s most commercially successful record Celebrity Skin alongside Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. The record sold millions of copies and led to a performance at the 1998 Billboard Music Awards. Courtney also received a Golden Globe nomination for her acting.
The Talented Juliana Hatfield
Juliana Hatfield is best known for her work with the Lemonheads, but she’s also the amazing frontwoman behind the ’90s alternative act The Juliana Hatfield Three. Hatfield got her start in Blake Babies, an alternative rock band from Massachusetts. Blake Babies never saw mainstream success, but Hatfield started working with her collaborator Evan Dando and joined the Lemonheads for their groundbreaking record Its A Shame About Ray.
Hatfield saw her biggest success with her own project, the Juliana Hatfield Three. 1993’s single “My Sister” hit number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and was regularly played on MTV.
Nina Persson’s Vocals Are On Point
Nina Persson is the soft-singing, gorgeous front woman of the Cardigans. The powerpop band saw immense success with their single “Lovefool” and they became an international sensation.
The song was included on the soundtrack to Romeo + Juliet. Persson is still at it and breaking stereotypes that older women can’t rock. After a five-year hiatus, the Cardigans started touring again in 2012. The band has sold 12 million albums worldwide, which is no small feat, and much of this has to do with Persson’s signature vocals. She’s unlike anyone else and really helped catapult her band into success.
Beth Ditto Promoting Diversity
Beth Ditto broke beauty barriers when she proved you don’t have to be a stick figure to be smoking hot. The singer is best known for her work fronting the intensely chaotic rock band Gossip. The singer describes herself as a “Fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas.”
Ditto is always outspoken in her beliefs and can be seen thrashing around stage in skimpy outfits. Ditto has seen commercial success outside of just her band. In 2012, she collaborated with MAC Cosmetics to create her own makeup line and continues to fight for more diversity and plus-sized representation in mainstream fashion magazines.
Brittany Howard Brings The Noise
The Alabama Shakes gained a lot of traction when they earned a best new artist nomination at the Grammy’s in 2012 with their album Boys & Girls. Brittany Howard fronts this group and she has a life-changing voice. After you hear her once, you would understand what we mean. They have an electric, festival-ready live show.
Their album after Boys & Girls, Sound & Color was the group’s first number one album back in 2015. We would amiss not to include them in this list. Much more success coming their way with each new project they drop.
Gladys Surely Led The Pips
Gladys Knight had a voice of an angel. Her great vocals along with her male backup singers (The Pips) helped mold the sound of Motown in the ’60s and ’70s. We know what you are thinking also, “are they rock?”
If they aren’t rock they surely helped influence some of your favorite rock bands and it is safe to say that is equally impactful as any rock song you learned to love. Their song “Midnight Train to Georgia” was an instant hit and classic and their run continued long after that song.
Rock On With Roxette
They’ve got the look. And more noticeably, Marie Fredriksson has the look and all the essentials to be the lead vocalist of this pop rock duo. These two were pretty much unstoppable in the late ’80s when they dropped hits like “The Look” and “Listen To Your Heart”.
Marie truly made those songs what they were and she made them even better with her prom dances throughout the decades. They were good pretty much audio cocaine and fans couldn’t get enough of what they had to offer. It helps that they were established artists before forming a duo.
Amy Lee Leads These Guitar Chuggers
They were founded in Little Rock but they are far from little rock. This American rock/metal band led by singer and pianist Amy Lee were a shining light in rock music in the mid-2000’s.
The song that started that musical reign was the hit song “Bring Me To Life”. A song that brings just enough hype to get you going in the morning and enough good vibes that you can play in the car with your grandparents and they won’t question what type of music you enjoy in your spare time.
Hayley Williams Bolsters Her Pop-Rock Crew
The band was formed in 2004 and they are from Franklin, Tennessee. They have gone through some changes but that hasn’t stopped them from being more popular than ever. Their debut album All We Know Is Falling released in 2005 and only peaked at the number thirty spot on the billboards.
Fortunately, their second album would go platinum in America. When they released their self-titled album in 2013 is when they hit their stride and started to sell out arenas. Their biggest hit is “Ain’t It Fun”. Hayley Williams leading the vocals is perfect for their sound.
Women Run This Band
Hello world, meet Haim. If you haven’t been acquainted yet, don’t worry because you will soon know and love these lovely ladies. They were signed by Roc Nation and their debut album was released in 2013 titled Days Are Gone. Hailing from Los Angeles, the group consists of Este Haim (bass), Danielle Haim (lead vocals and guitars) and Alana Haim (guitars and keyboards).
This pop rock group has been slowly making a name for themselves as the years go on killing their sets at festivals. Their most recent album, Something to Tell You (2017) has a great vibe to it.
Sydney Sierota Leads The Siblings
“I wish that I could be like the cool kids. Because all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.” Probably a lyric that every high school and middle school student who vied to be liked during their time at school sang in their heads with the utmost swagger, hoping they could to be cool.
Another all sibling group led by Sydney Sierota from Los Angeles broke out in 2014 when their hit “Cool Kids” released after years of building a fan base and doing shows. Their first album was released in 2013, Talking Dreams.
The Pretty Reckless And The Pretty Taylor Momsen
This band was formed in 2009 from New York and consists of lead vocalist, Taylor Momsen. If you were not aware before, Taylor was previously an actress known for her role as Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl.
The other members are Ben Phillips, Mark Damon and Jamie Perkins who all do something different with their individual skill set. They have toured with acts like Nickleback, Marilyn Manson and Evanescence. You can say they have done quite well for themselves, especially Taylor Momsen. Their subject matter is a bit anti-Christ but the tunes sound good.
Chrissie Hynde Is Not Pretend
For about three decades, The Pretenders were one of the most consistent names there was in rock. Led by Chrissie Hynde from 1979 to 2008, they could do no wrong. The most time they took between albums was five years.
The band has gone through several facelifts due to various reasons such as drug related deaths but Hynde is the only member that has remained through it all. For two years, Hynde went solo from 2014 to 2016, which led to the band being dormant. But when 2016 came along, they got back together and went on tour.
Erika Wennerstorm Put The Heart In Heartless Bastards
This group has been going around gaining the respect of festivals since the mid-’00s. They are an American garage rock band led by Erika Wennerstorm’s great vocals. Since their conception in Cincinnati, Ohio back in 2003, they have released five albums.
The Rolling Stone had good remarks about their first album saying, “the Heartless Bastards are a small-town band who are ready to show the big city no mercy.” The Village voice wrote, “deadeye accurate in pitch and message… what we’ve got is a hard, gnarled voice singing simple-seeming melodies that feel archetypal rather than ordinary.”
Who Could Forget The Yeah Yeah Yeahs?
This American indie rock band led by Karen O came together in New York back in 2000. When they perform live, they are accompanied by another guitarist, David Pejo, who joined as a touring member just in 2009. With four albums under their belts, they sure have gained a huge following since hitting the scene, especially with help from their single “Heads Will Roll” from 2009.
They have bounced around genres like fuzz-rock, gospel and post-punk but still have managed to keep their identity while doing so. Only few can accomplish that.
Siouxsie Sioux Leads This Classic Band
This band was formed in England way back in 1976 and were led by soothing vocalist Siouxsie Sioux (hence their name Siouxsie and the Banshees). They were first associated with the punk rock scene before evolving into a post-punk discord.
“The intersection of rock music and avant-garde goth art pulses through the work of Siouxsie and the Banshees, with leader Siouxsie Sioux (born Susan Janet Ballion) becoming a crucial voice in the U.K. post-punk movement of the late ’70s,” Billboard wrote. “Every modern indie artist citing The Cure and The Smiths as major influences typically name-checks the unflappable Siouxsie and the Banshees as well.”
Alison Mosshart Brings The Flames
This group is what you would call a rock super group. They have members from other great groups that come together and make great music. With three studio albums to their name, their first live performance was at the opening of Third Man Records’ Nashville headquarters.
That’s a pretty big event to be performing live at for the first time. “In 2009, The Kills (another band that already made this list) saw singer Alison Mosshart lead a rock supergroup that included Jack White on drums, Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita on guitar and The Raconteurs’ Jack Lawrence on bass,” wrote Billboard. “The psych-rock project produced two albums, and rumblings of a third have recently begun.”
Marissa Brings The Energy
Members King Mike and Marissa Paternoster formed a band in high school with the name of Surgery On TV but they probably wouldn’t have guessed it would have taken them this far. It took for a couple of lineup changes for them to decide on being a group of three and changing their name to Screaming Females.
“The raw energy of Marissa Paternoster has been serving as the fuel for Screaming Females, an indie-rock band hailing from New Jersey, for a decade,” wrote Billboard. “Rose Mountain, the trio’s triumphant sixth album, was released in February 2015.”
Look Out For Jill Janus
Lead vocalist Jill Janus moved to Los Angeles and met the underground metal band, Professor back in 2009. They have a style classified as classic heavy metal and their songs have lots of screaming.
“Although some social media comments have cast some doubt on their continued existence, Huntress made an undeniable impact on the metal scene in recent years with their aggressive, thrash-inspired sound and their confident stage presence, led by talented focal point Jill Janus,” wrote Loudwire. “Though classically trained as an opera singer, Janus seems happiest when bellowing like a savage beast, to the terrified delight of metal fans everywhere.”
Mlny Parsons Brings The Thunder
The band is from Atlanta, Georgia and was founded by Josh Weaver in 2004. Their influence is classic rock and ’90s grunge. Other elements are involved too but those are the main ones.
“As her curiously spelled name would suggest, Mlny Parsonz isn’t one to take the easy route to stardom, and her Atlanta-based band Royal Thunder has supported this presumption with an intriguing discography that melds heavy alternative metal with stoner and psychedelic ingredients,” wrote Loudwire. “But Parsonz’s powerful pipes are a force to be reckoned with, and it’s only a matter of time before Royal Thunder graduate from cult to headliner status.”
Meet Anette Olzon
This amazing band is from Kitee, Finland. They came together in 1996 and were formerly led by Anette Olzon dating back to 2007 then in 2012 the band announced they were parting ways with her.
“Singer Anette Olzon was plucked out of semi-obscurity (remember the band Alyson Avenue?) to fill Tarja Turunen’s very tall boots in symphonic-metallers Nightwish, but the diminutive Swede beat a reported 2,000 candidates for the gig, and duly rose to the occasion for two well-received studio albums,” wrote Loudwire. “After breaking with the band, Olzon released her solo album ‘Shine’ in 2014.”
These lovely ladies were formed back in 1996 over in London, Ontario. They have six studio albums out and various other works in their name such as four extended plays. They’ve had many different members but now they are set on their three.
“Kittie were able to break through in the male-dominated world of nu metal when they burst out of Canada with 2000’s Gold-selling debut album, ‘Spit.’ The oft-changing quartet led by singer/guitarist Morgan Lander has weathered the storm of the changing tides of metal and has enjoyed continued success over six studio albums released in the ensuing decade-plus,” wrote Loudwire.
Simone Simons of Epica
This band is a Dutch symphonic metal which Mark Jansen founded after he departed After Forever. The band has gothic tendencies with death metal influences. “When guitarist Mark Jansen fell out with his bandmates in After Forever, he wasted no time assembling a new symphonic metal outfit called Epica, but his masterstroke was securing the services of Simone Simons as his lead singer,” wrote Loudwire.
“The duo hasn’t looked back since, releasing six albums and outlasting the now defunct After Forever, while Simons has proved her worth and become a minor celebrity in South America, Japan, and, of course, Europe.”
Lacey Sturm Is All That
Back in 2002, this American rock band was formed hailing from Texas. Flyleaf toured America in 2003 in preparations to release their first album. “Lacey Sturm found fame as the frontwoman of Christian rockers Flyleaf, whose eponymous debut from 2005 had no difficulty crossing over to metal fans of all religious persuasions and selling over one million copies, in the process,” wrote Loudwire.
“Three more albums followed (2009’s ‘Memento Mori’ and 2012’s ‘New Horizons’), after which Sturm left the band to focus on family. She re-emerged in early 2015 with her debut solo album.”
Alice Merton Is A Rock Child Of The Universe
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Alice Merton’s powerful voice exploded on the music scene. Her hit debut single “No Roots” released at the end of 2016 describes her nomad lifestyle. Born in Germany, Merton has also lived in Canada, the U.S., and England.
All of her residing countries showed the artist some love, as “No Roots” hit number 1 in France and number 2 in Germany. There’s no doubt that Merton has a successful music career ahead of her. She’s already founded her own record label, Paper Plane Records International.
ZZ Ward Kills It At Festivals
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ZZ Ward’s sound blends multiple music genres together. Combined with her smooth and sometimes bellowing voice, ZZ Ward belts out songs like “Put the Gun Down”, and “365” that gets the crowd clapping and stomping their feet. She’s played Coachella and Bonnaroo and was named one of 30 must-see artists at SXSW in 2013.
Her songs touch on topics that all females can relate to, like being stuck in a bad relationship. Other artists recognize ZZ Ward’s musical talent, and many have partnered with her on collaborations, including Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrums and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
Bishop Briggs Will Give You Goosebumps
On the alternative rock side, we have Bishop Briggs. Born in London, her Scottish parents named her after the town they lived in their home country, Bishopbriggs. After living in Japan and Hong Kong, she made her way to Los Angeles and never looked back. Her singles “River” and “Wild Horses” climbed the charts, including top 3 on the Billboard Alternative Songs and top 10 on the Billboard Hot Rock.
A professionally trained musician, Briggs says most of the songs she writers begin with her sitting down at a piano. She’s toured with Coldplay and has several festivals lined up for 2018.
Korey Cooper And Jen Ledger Of Skillet
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Skillet is known to keep a busy schedule with plenty of tour dates each year. The band members have changed up since they initially formed in 1996, and now includes lady rockers Korey Cooper and Jen Ledger.
Cooper’s husband John is the lead vocalist and bassist, while she takes on guitar, keyboard, and backup vocals. Ledger is on the drums and percussion, also lending her voice. Skillet has opened for Korn and Stone Sour in 2017 and started 2018 with number 19 on the Billboard rock top 50.
Grunge Goddess Kat Bjelland
One of the ladies of grunge, Kat Bjelland started her career alongside Courtney Love. The two met at a rock club in Portland, Oregon and Love told Bjelland she wanted to form an all-female rock band. Soon the band Pagan Babies began practicing, in 1985. Love said, “The best thing that ever happened to me, in a way, was Kat.”
The all-female band didn’t last long, as grunge artists bounced from one project to the next. Bjelland then became the lead singer of Babes in Toyland from 1987-2001. Her schizophrenia made keeping her career on track difficult, but Bjelland left her mark on grunge forever.
Kathleen Hanna Uses The Spotlight To Support Women’s Issues
Photo: Burak Cingi/Redferns
Pioneer of the feminist punk riot grrrl movement, Kathleen Hanna rose to prominence in the mid-’90s as the lead singer of Bikini Kill. Like many of the top musicians of the ’90s, Hanna was born in Portland, Oregon and made her way around the Pacific Northwest music scene.
Her efforts in activism equaled her music career, as Hanna used her time in the spotlight to speak on issues including sexism, violence against women and AIDS. Hanna is now in two bands: Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin. She’s also married to Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys.
Don’t Throw Mud At Donita Sparks
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A true female of rock, Donita Sparks shows no mercy. She has loads of talent, as a vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and drummer. Sparks founded the band L7 with Suzi Gardner and most recently performs with her band Donita Sparks and The Stellar Moments.
Her punk rock attitude has landed her in hot water in the past. In 1992, while performing at the Reading Festival, L7’s speakers blew out. When angry fans started throwing mud onstage, Sparks retaliated by throwing her soiled feminine product back at them, along with a few choice words.
Melissa Auf der Maur: The Bassist Everyone Wanted
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Melissa Auf der Maur has several bands on her rock resume, including Hole, Smashing Pumpkins, Tinker, Constant Comment and more. VH1 named Maur #68 of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll, as she’s continued to contribute to the music world spanning three decades.
Maur opened for the Smashing Pumpkins in 1993, playing at the Metropolis in front of 2,500 people. Afterwards many recognized Maur as a talented bassist, and bands began to reach to her to play with them. Today she dabbles in solo work and is married to indie filmmaker Tony Stone.
Don’t Upset Inger Lorre
Lead vocalist for The Nymphs and Motel Shootout, Inger Lorre started off her career with a bang. Her first record deal was a big one, with Geffen Records in 1989. The Nymphs created a unique sound of grunge meets punk rock, glam, and goth. Their wild shows and punk rock tendencies excited fans and put their mark on the rock scene at the time.
However, the Nymph’s relationship with the record label soon began to crash and burn. Lorre even urinated on a desk at Geffen Records when she was upset by the decisions being made. It seemed the same attitude that attracted labels to the band began causing a rift between the music and contract obligations. Lorre began struggling with drugs and alcohol and checked herself into rehab in New Jersey. Her last show was an acoustic set in 2004 at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood.
Ann & Nancy Wilson Of Heart
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Heart is one of the most successful rock bands of all time. They’ve sold over 35 million records since 1973 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Ann and Nancy Wilson became rock goddesses, landing on the cover of Rolling Stone on July 28, 1977. The following year they performed at the Cotton Bowl alongside legends like Aerosmith and Van Halen.
Their popularity saw a decline in the early ’80s but Heart bounced back when they signed with Capitol Records and their album Brigade reached number three in the UK. They’ve continued touring over the years and released the album Beautiful Broken in 2016.
Pat Benatar Brings The Hits
Pat Benatar needs no introduction. The female rocker has gone down in history with 15 Billboard Top 40 singles, including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Love Is A Battlefield”, “We Belong”, and “Invincible”. Born in Brooklyn, Benatar quit her job as a bank teller to pursue a career in music.
She sang in lounges and comedy clubs before landing her big break. Her debut album In The Heat Of The Night reached #12 and her singles became smash hits. While she hasn’t released a ton of new music in the last 10 years, she does occasionally record singles for important causes like the Women’s March in 2017.
Carly Simon Is A Legend
Carly Simon was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994, and for good reason. The talented artist has 13 Top 40 hits, including “Anticipation” and “You’re So Vain” and 24 Billboard Hot 100 singles. Her name is synonymous with ’70s folk/rock and she’s one of the most active artists of her time.
Simon has an Academy Award, Boston Music Award, Golden Globe and two Grammys for her work. After 40 years of fans wondering who she was talking about in “You’re So Vain”, Simon revealed one of the men she was referring to was Warren Beatty.
Bea Miller Has More To Say
After finishing ninth on season two of The X Factor, Bea Miller’s music career began to shine. Miller signed on to Hollywood Records and released her debut EP in 2014. Her album Not An Apology hit #7 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on iTunes Pop chart.
Miller’s songs describe bad relationships, moving on and the struggles along the way. The young artist is hard working and has major plans for the future. She told her label, “As an artist, if you want to stay relevant in other people’s lives, you should always be bringing them along on your journey.”
British Rockers Rule
Debora Anne Dyer or as her fans know her, Skin, looked poised to lead her band to the big time in the early ’90s. The band was named Skunk Anansie and they were based in the United Kingdom. They had a politically charged stance so that ended up slowing them down on their quest for greatness. It also doesn’t help that they didn’t have a pop hit coming out soon.
Nonetheless, Skin became an unforgettable role model in fields outside of music like modeling and activism. The band is now just on an on-and-off basis.
Kim Gordon Is A Total Badass
Alternative rock shredder Kim Gordon is the hallmark of NYC-based rock band Sonic Youth. Without her vocals, guitar chops or bass playing, the band wouldn’t be a fraction as successful as it is. Kim Gordon’s distinct command over guitar and the way she crafted her sound really set Sonic Youth apart from the other alternative rock bands in the ’90s. She even managed to take a sound that caters to an underground audience and make it a commercial success with Sonic Youth’s Goo.
Gordon’s rock n roll spirit is inspiring – not only did she divorce her co-front man Thurston Moore and still manage to keep the band together, but she wrote a book, fought breast cancer and won.
She Has A Great Name
Meet Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice. She isn’t someone everyone knows about but her stage name has everyone’s favorite holiday in it. She does, however, have huge underground respect. Not only did she lead the Made Ouf of Babies band but she also gave her vocals to Battle of Mice.
Christmas also came out with a solo project in 2010 titled The Bad Wife. It was pretty well-received too. Not every person on this list will have the same prowess as Gwen Stefani but they all put in a lot of work!
Maria Brink Is In This Moment
It took until the mid-2000’s for In This Moment to join the class of female-led bands but by then the competition was insanely fierce. Maria Brink leads this band and she packed a great voice so that is what allowed In This Moment to leap over the crowded scene.
Not only did she have a great voice, but she also packed a ton of charisma! That combination is great for entertaining. The lifespan of the band has now been going on for over a decade and five albums. Not everyone can pull it off how Brink did. They just aren’t built the same.
The Metal Queen
In America, Doro Pesch was not who she was in Europe. The leader of the band Warlock, Pesch had a reputation that was always in flux out in America. However, in Europe, she was deemed as “Metal Queen” thanks to her work with the band and her work as a solo artist.
And it wasn’t like that name just fell in her lap. This woman has been hard at work throughout her career. She has been in the business for over 30 years and has a dozen studio albums! She also used to go on punishing tours.
Angela Of Arch Enemy
Before Angela Gossow was introduced to Arch Enemy, the group was on a path to a nice career in melodic death metal. When Gossow was brought forth prior to their album Wages of Sin, the band launched into orbit with a new high level of recognition.
She was showing the world that a woman could be as fierce as a man. They had good reason to gain more notoriety. She also opened the door for many other metal frontwomen. Her impact is evident.
Tarja Turunen is probably one of the more renowned women leads on this list. She has one of the greatest ranges of her voice, a soprano-like skill that goes three octaves. She came to fame globally with Finland’s Nightwish with the work of six studio albums.
The fusion of her and the band eventually came to an end due to her growing musical differences and her huge musical profile she was starting to gain as an individual. It was clear that she had the talent to go solo so that is what she did.
Call Her Cristina Scabbia
The Italian beauty Cristina Scabbia had a quiet start to her career. That also is true for her band, Lacuna Coil. They put out serviceable albums but they were far from life-changing. But soon, like anybody who puts in the hard consistent work, things began to look up.
In 2002, they had a breakthrough with Comalies. They followed that up in 2006 with Karmacode and then in 2009 with Shalow Life. This led to them becoming American summer tour mainstays. She became one of the most popular frontwomen out there, a status she still holds.
Can’t Stop The Rock: Exene Cervenka
Exene Cervenka is one of the most unrecognized influential women of rock – and she’s hot with her reckless, uncaring attitude. Cervenka pioneered the ’70s punk scene, where women were almost entirely unheard of, by fronting the band X. X’s first studio records Los Angeles and Wild Gift were rated by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Though the band never saw immense chart-topping success, they did make it to the UK independent charts in 1980, where they clocked in at number 14. Cervenka is still rocking, even in middle age, as X reunited and regularly performs.