Once upon a time female-fronted rock bands were somewhat of a rarity, but thankfully the times have changed. These albums by female-fronted bands give new meaning to the phrase “I am woman hear me roar.” Here are 10 of the most memorable albums by girl rockers.
Heart- Dream Boat Annie (1976) Back in the prehistoric days of rock and roll, lead female rock singers were practically unheard of. Enter Ann and Nancy Wilson, two “foxy” sisters (this was the 70’s after all) and that all changed. Heart’s debut album spawned three hit singles — “Magic Man”, “Crazy On You” and the title track. And although a battle with their record company put a damper on things, it was the beginning of a long and successful career for the Wilson sisters.
Hole- Live Through This (1994) Even if you’re not a Courtney Love fan, this album from 1994 was her band’s shining moment. Unfortunately, the release of Live Through This coincided with the death of Love’s husband, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. While the timing of the album’s release (just four days after Cobain’s death) certainly gave the album attention, the music speaks for itself. Some of the best tracks on Live Through This include “Violet” and the Cobain-inspired “Doll Parts”.
Patti Smith Group- Wave (1979) While this album lacked a breakthrough single like the band’s earlier album, Easter (“Because the Night”), it spawned several little gems, most notably “Frederick” (Smith’s ode to hubby Fred) and “So You Want To Be a Rock and Roll Star” (a better version than The Byrds’, in my opinion). But the best song on the album is the Smith- Ivan Kral penned “Dancing Barefoot”. The totally singable and whirling danceable “Dancing Barefoot” has been covered by everyone from U2 to The Celibate Rifles, but PSG’s version is by far the most mesmerizing.
Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes (1992) Tori Amos’ debut album showcased a female alt rocker with an unusual accompanying instrument: a piano. But somehow she made it work, belting out songs like “Crucify” , “Silent All These Years” and “Winter” while simultaneously tickling the ivories. If you were lucky enough to nab a copy of the CD single to “Crucify/Winter”, it also included bonus track covers of The Rolling Stones’ “Angie”, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.” To that I say, thank you, Tori Amos.
Evanescence – Fallen (2003) Lead singer Amy Lee has a killer rock star voice, which helped keep this Grammy award winning album in the Billboard Top 20 for over a year. Singles included “Bring Me to Life”-which featured guest vocals from 12 Stones singer Paul McCoy- and “My Immortal”.
Alanis Morissette –Jagged Little Pill (1995) This Canadian rocker stormed onto the international music scene with “You Oughta Know”, her angry song about a nasty breakup (rumored to be about her ex, Full House star Dave Coulier) and continued on with four more hits on this album, including “Ironic” and “You Learn”.
Pat Benatar-Crimes of Passion (1980) Just in time for the debut of a little music channel called MTV, Pat Benatar released this album to critical success. Songs like “You Better Run” and “I’m Gonna Follow You” received heavy rotation on MTV (in fact, “You Better Run” was the second video to ever air on the network, right after The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”). Once Crimes of Passion hit the record stores, Benatar was a bonafide rock- and video- star.
Blondie– Parallel Lines (1978) Deborah Harry brought cool sophistication to this new wave band (it didn’t hurt that she looked like a model) and this, the band’s third studio album, contained hits like “Heart of Glass” and “One Way or Another”. A few years later she’d help pave the way for mainstream rap with the song “Rapture”.
No Doubt –Tragic Kingdom– (1995) In the thick of the mid-90’s grunge movement, the female-led No Doubt stood out with this pop-infused ska/rock album and perky blonde singer, Gwen Stefani. The Grammy nominated Tragic Kingdom included hit singles like “Just a Girl”, “Spiderwebs” and “Don’t Speak” and Stefani became a fashion icon when she later debuted her L.A.M.B. clothing line.
Liz Phair –Exile in Guyville (1993) This indie rocker had to switch gears later on in her career to make it into the mainstream, but it was her lo-fi debut album that received the critical acclaim. The original release contained 18 tracks and Phair told NPR Music that the album was her answer to the Rolling Stones’ classic, Exile on Main Street. Yep. Just a girl and her guitar.