Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Albums of All Time
When I saw Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Albums of All Time, I was shocked to find that a mere five of the top 100 were female artists. Female musicians have struggled to gain credibility in a largely male dominated field since the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll.
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks sneak onto the list with 26, “Rumours”, a Fleetwood Mac album. Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” places at 30 while Carole King’s “Tapestry” enters the list at 36. Patti Smith’s “Horses” is ranked as 40. Women of color are virtually forgotten until Aretha Franklin’s “Lady Soul” is listed as 84.
A Few Things Forgotten:
“Give it Up or Let Me Go,” Bonnie Raitt
Although pop music may remember Bonnie Raitt for her ’90s pop hits, she enjoyed a long career as a blues and rock ‘n’ roll queen in the ’70s. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, Raitt was famous for her ragtime infused tunes and deep, soulful pipes. Raitt has recorded with rock and roll legends such as John Lee Hooker, Jackson Browne and John Prine.
Raitt’s second album, “Give it Up or Let Me Go” was released in 1972. The album features classic blues, Dixieland, folk and rock ‘n’ roll. After one spin, you will likely be belting Bonnie’s ballads in the shower.
“Parallel Lines,” Blondie
It is an undisputed fact: Debbie Harry is a rock and roll genius. Harry is famous for her punk roots and new-wave style. Harry penned many of Blondie’s chart toppers herself, proving she was more than her peroxide.
1978’s “Parallel Lines” covered all the bases- even disco! “Heart of Glass” was the first Blondie hit to reach number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Parallel Lines” launched Blondie into a commercial pop music icon. Give this one a spin when you have the urge to dance around your bedroom in your underwear.
“Pearl,” Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin was known for her free spirited attitude and her tongue in cheek lyrics. Many modern day female artists cite Joplin as an influence and inspiration. Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
“Pearl” was released in 1971, four months after she died from a heroin overdose. Aside from a happy birthday message to John Lennon, “Mercedes-Benz” was her last recording. The song appears acappella on the album because she died before finishing the accompaniment. Many argue the song is hauntingly stronger in this format. Pull this one out when you want to unwind.
Modern Musical Mavens
Female artists often struggle to be taken seriously beyond appearance. Female musicians are often judged on their sexuality and not the music they create. For years, radio stations refused to play two female artists in a row for fear listeners would change the station.
Lately, I have witnessed many females flourish in the music world. Although she may not be my bag, I have to applaud Taylor Swift for writing her own music and positioning herself as a positive role model for young girls.
Female-fronted acts like She & Him, Jenny & Johnny and Best Coast renew my faith in modern day music. These are women are involved in the music from the first strum all the way to the studio. These are women who command attention based on tunes, not tits.
Who do you think Rolling Stone forgot? Let me know in the comments.
Oh yeah, and Lady Gaga is ruining rock ‘n’ roll.