On Top of the World

Well behaved women rarely make history.

Women Who Rock: Call for Nominations

Unsatisfied with a Best of the Decade list, a friend of mine started a project to catalog the Best Rock Songs Ever. Twenty people each nominated five songs, and they are going through the process of ranking them. Of the 100 songs nominated, two feature a female vocalist. Two. And I love Stevie Nicks, but I wouldn’t rank Rhiannon very high on a Best Rock Song Ever list.

The project parameters define a best rock song as one that ROCKS OUT. In their list, I’m pulling for Jimi Hendrix’ All Along the Watchtower and I can’t necessarily think of a song featuring a female vocalist that would out-rock it. I don’t even really blame the twenty people in the project for the lack of girl rocker song nominations. It’s a problem with the industry. It’s an issue with society.

Ninety percent of the songs nominated are more than fifteen years old, which makes some sense, how sure can we be the newer ones have the staying power to be the Best Ever? But the further back you go, the fewer women are involved at all. And Rock music is loud, angry and revolutionary — three things women traditionally are not, or more truthfully, traditionally are not supposed to be. But women CAN and DO rock, so, I say let’s make our own list.

Project Women Who Rock

For the next week, I will collect nominations. Anyone can nominate as many songs as they wish. The criteria are simple:

1. The song must feature a female vocalist. Women absolutely rock the instrumentals but that’s not what we’re going for here.
2. The song must rock. This is free to interpretation, but again, think Hendrix.

That’s it. Comment or Email. Next week I’ll put up a list of the semi-finalists. Any questions, just ask, but this is a very laidback project so don’t worry about doing it wrong. My brother’s already sent in 30 songs that range from the B52s to Avril Lavigne to Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (I have no idea who they are but I’m certainly curious now!). So. Nominate! Thanks in advance!



  Jason wrote @

Off the top of my head, “Stutter” by Elastica rocks hard. Just about anything by Sleater-Kinney is mind-blowing.

Will try to think of more.

  Matt Ampersand wrote @

I absolutely love female rock vocals! Find me a girl with a good set of pipes (that sounds kind of wrong, I meant a good voice) and I’ll listen to anything that is going on in the background.

That being said, I’ll forgo the obvious ones, and nominate some of the stuff I personally like, which is along the lines of punk (in all it’s varieties). The hardest thing is going to be choosing the one song that I prefer the most…

Synthesized by The Epoxies (from Stop The Future)
I Am Revenant by The Distillers (from Sing Sing Death House)
Runaway by Go Betty Go (from Nothing is More)
Russian Roulette by Tsunami Bomb (from Ultimate Escape)
Don’t Speak by No Doubt (from Tragic Kingdom)

I’ll post more when I think of them. I hope my taste in music doesn’t scare you too much, haha.

  Jennifer wrote @

The very first person who comes to mind is Joan Jett, who I saw in concert just a few years ago and is STILL rocking. To that end, I nominate “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”

I also feel like Melissa Etheridge’s discography in general is worthy of note — but for rocking passion, how about “I’m the Only One”?

I may think of more later!

  Matt Ampersand wrote @

Man, I can’t believe I forgot both Sleater-Kinney AND Joan Jett. Good choices too!

  BookGnome wrote @

Ok, I was going to try & do one list but since reading this challenge my mind has been going crazy thinking about all the women rockers that I think should be nominated. So, here we go…

First, I’m going to second Elastica, Joan Jett & Melissa Etheridge, who all came to the top of my list.

1. Heart – well anything really, but I’d say ‘Crazy on You’, ‘Barracuda’ or ‘Music Man’ are the top ones.
2. The Runaways – Joan has had the longest career but let’s not forget where she came from. Especially ‘I Love Playin’ With Fire’ or ‘Cherry Bomb’.
3. Patti Smith – ‘Because the Night’
4. Hole — sure, she’s a crazy mofo, but Courtney Love knows how to rock. Screaming ‘Celebrity Skin’ is so cathartic at times.
5. The Pretenders – Chrissie Hynde, leather pants, rock & roll!
6. Liz Phair – ‘Exile in Guyville’ – the whole damn album
7. Janis Joplin – because if you’re gonna cite Jimi, you gotta include his sister-in-rock.

So that’s just the start of my list. It’s probably showing my age a bit, but good rock & roll is good rock & roll.

  Magnet Girl wrote @

Thanks for the noms, guys! Keep them coming 🙂

  Jenn wrote @

I’m seconding Heart: Crazy On You, Kick it Out, Heartless, Magic Man, etc.

Bif Naked: I Love Myself Today, her cover of We’e Not Gonna Take It, Twitch.

LiveOnRelease: I’m Afraid of Britney Spears.

The Breeders: Canonball

Alannah Myles: Black Velvet

Metric: Empty, Monster Hospital, Dead Disco, Succexy

  Jason wrote @

Oh yeah, one more: “Pull Shapes” by The Pipettes. That song rocks my soul.

  Hendrik wrote @

How can no one have mentioned Blondie?!?

Blondie – Call Me
The Go Gos – Our Lips Are Sealed
Pixies – Gigantic
My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow
Yo La Tengo – Blue Line Swinger
The Pretenders – Precious
Belle and Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
Michelle Branch – Breathe

  Magnet Girl wrote @

Blondie was my suggestion for the original project.

  Professor Obscure wrote @

Poe- Wild
Alanis Morisette- You Oughtta Know
No Doubt – Open The Gate
Hole- Violet
Helium- Pat’s Trick

  BookGnome wrote @

Round 2 —

Pat Benatar
The Gossip
Gang of Four
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
PJ Harvey
The Slits
Lisa & Wnedy
Missing Persons

It’s late. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow.

  Jason wrote @

Oh man, how could I forget Curve? Either “Die Like a Dog” or “Coast is Clear”.

  Sigrid wrote @

BookGnome has named all of mine. But Pat Benater’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” has got to be under consideration. Also Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.” The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Also Garbage’s “Stupid Girl.”

  Matt wrote @

What about the Donnas? I love their cover of Motley Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” and their original song “You Don’t Wanna Call.” All their records are great.

  BookGnome wrote @

I really feel like I’ve hijacked this thread, but here are a few some more:

Evanescence – Bring Me to Life
The Gossip – Standing in the Way of Control
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Peek-A-Boo
The Donnas – Take it Off

  Matt Ampersand wrote @

Here are some more

Horrorpops – Julia
Sleater-Kinney – One-Beat
Joan Jett has already been mentioned, but I can’t believe no one mentioned “Do You Want to Touch Me”
Amy McDonald – This is the Life (may not fall under “rock” though)
The Soviettes – What Did I Do?!
Krakovia – Breaking Doors (hopefully not too obscure)

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