Bonnie Raitt (b. 1949)
I’ve been a Bonnie Raitt since the ’70’s and she is still turning out great records. Daughter of the late John Raitt a renowned Broadway actor, Bonnie is an accomplished blues and slide guitar player who knows how to rock the house. She’s had her biggest hits with songs like “Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (both below). Truly a girl who rocks with the boys.
Chrissie Hynde (b. 1951)
There’s no mistaking Chrissie Hynde’s voice as the front-woman for The Pretenders. With a long string of rock hits, Chrissie is the prototype of a female rock vocalist. Born in Akron OH, she summed up her adolescence as follows
“I was never too interested in high school. I mean, I never went to a dance, I never went out on a date, I never went steady. It became pretty awful for me. Except, of course, I could go see bands, and that was the kick. I used to go to Cleveland just to see any band. So I was in love a lot of the time, but mostly with guys in bands that I had never met. For me, knowing that Brian Jones was out there, and later that Iggy Pop was out there, made it kind of hard for me to get too interested in the guys that were around me. I had, uh, bigger things in mind”.
I’ve included two of my favorites “Back on the Chain Gang” and “Stop Your Sobbing” (a hit for The Pretenders and a cover of a Kinks tune)..
Madonna (b. 1958)
I was going to comment on the eye patch as a fashion accessory but I realized I had no official knowledge of whether Madonna had been a pirate in her early years. Despite her acting career and ability to have her personal life in the news almost non-stop, I always liked her early work the best. I was never a big fan of the big stage show with choreographed dancers but Madonna had some rockers in her past too. So she makes the list…easily.
I’ve included here two classics, “Like A Prayer” (check out the aria starting at 1:00) and “Like A Virgin“.
Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970)
I’m leaving the best for last. Janis Joplin is THE best example of a woman who rocks (or, unfortunately in her case, who rocked). As the front woman for Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kosmic Blues Band, and Full-Tilt Boogie she knew the blues and she knew how to put her heart into every song.
Born in Port Arthur, TX, she was rebellious by nature and created an identity after the great hard-living, hard-drinking Southern blues women. She headed west and arrived in San Francisco just in time for the explosion of psychedelia.
During Festival Express she commented as follows:
“I’m a victim of my own insides. There was a time when I wanted to know everything … It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn’t know what to do with it. But now I’ve learned to make that feeling work for me. I’m full of emotion and I want a release, and if you’re on stage and if it’s really working and you’ve got the audience with you, it’s a oneness you feel.”
Her hard living and wild way caught up to her on October 4, 1970 at the age of 27 at The Landmark Hotel in Hollywood, CA.
I’ve included her classic tracks “Piece of My Heart” and “Cry Baby“. The latter sends chills up my spine.