5 Fearless Females in Rock Music History

Celebrate Women’s History Month with five fearless females in rock.

Mar 8, 2018
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks perform at The Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977

Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks perform at The Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977

Brave enough to break the mold in a traditionally male-dominated musical genre, iconic women in rock shaped the history of music, paving the way for more female artists to come. With as much to say as any man in the room, these women overcame barriers, proving that they could hang with the boys performing as songwriters, instrumentalists, and singers while being unabashedly themselves. Celebrate Women’s History Month with five fearless females in rock.


Her power quote: “I believe that there is a certain amount of mysticism that all women should have, that you should never tell all your secrets, that you should never tell everybody all about you.”

Whether solo or with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks open doors for so many female artists, influencing a generation of musicians including Beyonce, HAIM, Lorde, FKA Twigs, CHVRCHES, and Grimes. It comes as no surprise that Rolling Stone Magazine named her the “Reigning Queen of Rock”. Underneath chiffon, lace, and velvet, she created her own identity, refusing to meet the expectations of what a woman rocker should look like. Her distinctive, husky voice and deeply personal, pagan-influenced songwriting portrayed women as mysterious, wise, and strong with an underlying cry of hopelessness and redemption.

Must Hear Tracks: Dreams, The Chain, Rhiannon, Landslide

Stevie Nicks singing in the recording studio, wearing headphones (Fin Costello/Redferns)


Her power quote: “I certainly wasn’t the first female singer to have an attitude and do my own thing. But there was definitely a shift around the time of punk and I was part of that shift.”

Rising to fame as the front woman of the new wave punk band, Blondie, Debbie Harry commanded the room with her stunning beauty, fearless attitude, and iconic bleach blonde hair. The band formed out of the New York punk scene in the mid-70s along with the likes of The Ramones and Talking Heads. The genre-blending Blondie combined elements from all the popular music at that time, from hip hop to punk to reggae to disco.

Must hear tracks: One Way or Another, Heart of Glass, Dreaming

(Public Domain)


Her power quote: “I never felt oppressed because of my gender. When I'm writing a poem or drawing, I'm not a female; I'm an artist.”

Called the “Godmother of Punk”, Patti Smith stands out as another iconic female artist that grew out of the 1970s New York City punk movement. Her bold, unconventional style combines art with rock and roll and has influenced the likes of Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Sonic Youth, U2, and Michael Stipe (REM). Her brash, poetic debut album, Horses, has ranked as one of the greatest albums in lists of magazines like Rolling Stone, Time, and NME.

Must Hear Tracks: Because the Night, Dancing Barefoot


Her power quote: “At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it.”

In an underground scene dominated by hardcore male musicians, Kim Gordon was more than just “a girl in a band” propping up the boys. Gordon’s grinding vocals made it difficult to hear her through the sounds of her signature gut-wrenching bass guitar. She started Sonic Youth with her husband, Thurston Moore, emerging out of the alternative music scene of the 1980s before becoming one of the most pivotal art-rock bands. Quintessentially postmodern, Sonic Youth created a dissonant, unpolished music, paving the way for the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, and Beck.

Must Hear Tracks: Kool Thing, Teen Age Riot, Pattern Recognition


Her power quote: “People forget the punk thing was really good for women. It motivated them to pick up a guitar rather than be a chanteuse. It allowed us to be aggressive.”

Siouxsie Sioux has been called “one of the most influential British singers of the rock era”. A true original, Siouxsie Sioux exuded individualism with her macabre mystique, public antics, exotic makeup, and provocative clothing. The powerful, utterly confident Siouxsie Sioux came of age during the heydey of punk rock in London during which she joined a teenage group known as the Bromley Contingent who followed around the Sex Pistols. Thom Yorke of Radiohead once said, “My favorite show I ever saw then was Siouxsie, and she was absolutely amazing. She’s totally in command of the whole audience. She made an especially big impression in concert. She was really sexy, but absolutely terrifying.”

Must Hear Tracks: Hong Kong Garden, Carcass, Jigsaw Feeling

Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.