Once in a while, throughout the history of rock and roll music, a band would come around that was fronted by a powerful voice – a powerful female voice. In the world of rock, normally dominated by powerful men, a few brave women broke through and impacted music for the next generation of female singers. Here are a few of my favorite female-fronted bands through the decades.
Jefferson Airplane– Jefferson Airplane was formed in 1965 and originally featured Signe Toly Anderson as the female singer on their first album; she left late in 1966 after giving birth to her first child. Shortly after Anderson left, Grace Slick – who was the singer with a band called The Great Society – made her first appearance with Jefferson Airplane. The band went on to international fame with tracks “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love.” Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Blondie – As the mid-1970s ushered in punk rock and new wave music, singer Debbie Harry teamed up with guitarist Chris Stein to form Blondie. Their music merged reggae, disco, new wave, rap, and pop to create a sound all their own. After some underground and Australian success in the mid-1970s, they found American acceptance with the album Parallel Lines in 1978, which featured the huge hits “Heart of Glass” and “One Way Or Another.” After breaking up in 1982, the group reunited in 1997 and released the album No Exit in 1999; in 2006, Blondie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Pretenders – founded in 1978 in London, Ohio-born Chrissie Hynde is the only original member still with the band. In 1979, the band had its first international hit, “Brass In Pocket,” but is probably best known for its early 1980s singles “Back on the Chain Gang” and “Middle of the Road.” Hynde still tours with the latest incarnation of the band, and in 2005, the Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Garbage – founded in 1994 in Madison, Wisconsin, Garbage is fronted by Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson, who has also performed with the band Angelfish and was a Terminator in the television show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Their sound was alternative/electronic, and they quickly racked up hits with songs like “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl,” and “Push It.” During Garbage’s extended hiatus, Manson recorded a solo album, which has yet to be released; a new Garbage album is expected to be released in 2011.