5 Women Who Changed the Face of Rock and Roll

Here’s a guest post from Zac Green, editor-in-chief over at popular music blog ZingInstruments.com.

The stereotypical rock ‘n’ roller is often a long haired man, clad in leathers. However, as we’ll see in this article, women rockers have contributed just as much to the history of rock and roll music.

In this post we’ll showcase five women who have changed the face of rock and roll and shaped the landscape for those that would follow them. We will also provide a brief bio of each of these interesting and extremely talented female rockers, as well as some words detailing their rise to super stardom.

Pat Benatar

No list of women rockers would be complete without the name Pat Benatar. A former bank teller turned American rock star, Benatar is one of the first females to delve into the hard rock scene. Benatar’s success can be traced back to 1979, when she released her first album, In the Heat of the Night. This record was followed by her extremely successful Crimes of Passion LP and chart-topping mega-hit “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” which was regularly featured on MTV and won her the admiration of millions of fans on her rapid ascent to fame.

Joan Jett

An accomplished singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer, Joan Jett and her band the Balackhearts burst onto the music scene in 1981 with their hit album and single “I Love Rock and Roll.” The immense success she earned from this LP came after nearly a decade of performing with her former band the Runaways, with whom she established herself as a one-of-a-kind rocker, musician and vocalist.

Janis Joplin

With music that was borne out of the mostly-male dominated 1960s rock and folk music scene, Janis Joplin broke the mold with her raspy sound that endeared her to music fans around the world. Known mostly for her raw rendition of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and the song “Mercedes Benz,” Joplin got her big break in 1967 when, backed by the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, she performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. Her success at this performance led to an invite to 1969’s Woodstock Festival in New York, where she wowed the mostly-hippie crowd with her original voice and lyrics. Addled by drug and alcohol problems, Joplin died tragically of a drug overdose in 1970.

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks, a major vocal star and songwriter extraordinaire, first found success as the lead singer for the band Fleetwood Mac, who she joined forces with in 1975. While she was still (an ostracized) member of Fleetwood Mac, Nicks launched what would later become a hugely successful solo career in 1981, performing songs like the enormously popular “Landslide.” Many of today’s most successful female rock and roll artists cite Stevie Nicks as one of their primary inspirations for pursuing a music career.

Deborah Harry

The lead singer for the popular band Blondie, Deborah Harry boasted one of the most recognizable sounds of any female rock and roll artist since Janis Joplin—a sound artfully demonstrated in the band’s mega-hit “One Way or Another.” Although Blondie was officially considered a New Wave band of the 1980s, Harry, with her wide and beautiful musical range, steered the band into many different musical genres, including rock and roll and an extremely early version of what would later become modern hip-hop.


Front and Center: Singer-Songwriter, Zella Day

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Singer-Songwriter, Zella Day

By Gabriella Steffenberg

Zella Day is fresh off the June 2 release of her new album, Kicker. Filled with blends of dreamy folk, grungy-indie rock, a dash of country and catchy pop hooks, the album is treasure chest of musical gems with something all fellow music lovers can enjoy.

'Kicker' LP cover Photo by Alexandra Valenti

‘Kicker’ LP cover
Photo by Alexandra Valenti

A native of Pinetop, Ariz., Day is now a Los Angeles dweller, rooming with musician and friend, Garrett Borns of BØRNS. Recently performing her single “High” on Conan, and receiving stellar coverage from Billboard, Nylon, Paste, V Magazine and more, Day is on the road to rock stardom.

Keep up with Day at zelladay.tumblr.com, as well as via her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

WiMN: Congrats on your new album, Kicker. How does it feel to have your new songs out there for the world to hear?

ZD: It feels like I’ve had a breakthrough, and now I get to enter into an entirely new phase in my life that involves live performances.

WiMN: Which tracks do you hold the closest to your heart, and what was your experience while writing them?

ZD: The song of the record that always gets me is “Jameson.” That song was both started and finished with tears in my eyes. I wrote it during a time when I felt like I was losing myself. “Jameson” reintroduced me to my core belief system.

WiMN: How has your songwriting progressed as you’ve grown?

ZD: Each year that goes by is full of positive and negative life-altering experiences. I’m growing rapidly as a person as I am entering into my 20s, and the more I get to know myself, the more I have to say. In the past three years my songwriting has emotionally progressed, making it more relatable.

WiMN: Who do you love collaborating with in the studio?

ZD: My two producers Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry have been with me every step of the way. I consider them to be my band – they are the ones I spend my time with in the studio hashing out songs.

WiMN: Have there been any women in your life who have inspired you to take the musical journey that you’re on?

ZD: My mother is a very talented vocalist. I watched her perform in a jazz standard band when I was growing up, and she inspired me with the soul that she poured into every song she sang.

WiMN: Your stage presence is magnetic and you always seem to be fully in the moment while performing, with your recent Conan performance as a perfect example. Do you have any advice to musicians out there who struggle with stage fright?

ZD: You have to be completely in the moment without thinking about other people. The only thing that matters on stage is the relationship between you and the song you are playing.  

WiMN: Your voice is so unique, and is a bit reminiscent of Stevie Nicks. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

ZD: I’m a Stevie Nicks fan as I am a fan of the Jackson 5, Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Norah Jones, Violent Femmes, Edie Brickell… The list goes on and on.

WiMN: Do you have a specific time period in music that you find inspires you the most?

ZD: The late ’60s early ’70s era!

WiMN: Have you faced any adversity in the music industry related to your gender?

ZD: There is a stereotype that comes along with girls that play pop music, but I’m proving myself every step of the way with each song I write and each show I play. I’m not worried about being held down because I’m a female when there have been so many strong women that have made a name for themselves in the industry.

WiMN: This past year you’ve performed at a couple of festivals and have played various shows and venues across the states. Did you have any favorite performances that were truly memorable?

ZD: I just played a show in Telluride, Colo., where I was legitimately singing out to the mountains. The festival was at the base of a huge summit and everyone was basking in the sunshine, singing along to my songs.

WiMN: What are your plans for the rest of 2015 through 2016?

ZD: I have a music video that I’m shooting for “High” on Friday so keep your eyes out for that! I’ve also got a ton of shows coming up around the country that extend all the way to the end of the year… I will definitely be coming to a city near you. xoxo.

Stevie Nicks Dishes Up Details on Her Wild History During Interview with Billboard


Stevie Nicks was very candid during an interview with Billboard magazine, in which she shared details on her past pregnancy with The Eagles’ Don Henley, and talked about a warning her doctor gave her about her serious cocaine abuse.

Nicks talks extensively about her latest material 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, and breaks down the meaning of her songs.

Check out the entire interview at www.billboard.com.

Stevie Nicks to Release New Album in October


Stevie Nicks just announced the release of her new album 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault due Oct. 7 on Warner Bros. Records.

The package will include never-before-seen Polaroid photos taken by the singer throughout her career. A special limited-edition double vinyl album will be released on Sept. 29. In addition, a deluxe photobook CD album will be available for fans, which includes two bonus tracks plus 48 pages of exclusive photos from Nicks’ personal collection.

Pre-orders are available beginning Aug. 5. For more info, visit Nicks’ official website here.

Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum Perform on CMT Crossroads


On Sept. 13, CMT Crossroads premiered a collaboration between legendary singer Stevie Nicks and country stars Lady Antebellum.

Watch the full five-song performance below as well as an interview with both groups discussing what it was like to learn each other’s songs:

Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks interview:

Get More:

Stevie Nicks Opens Up on Drug Addiction, Affair on Oprah’s Master Class

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 10.48.44 AMBy Pauline France

Earlier this week we told you Stevie Nicks would appear on Oprah’s Master Class to talk about her marriage, drug addiction, affair, and more.

If you missed the segment on the legendary songstress, you can catch it in its entirety below:

On her breakup with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham and why she’ll never date rock stars:

 On her mother’s unexpected death:

On the real meaning of “Landslide”:

 On why she married her best friend’s husband:


On her cocaine addiction and her affair with Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Mac’s drummer:

On why writing is so important:

On the love affair that almost broke up Fleetwood Mac:

Watch Sneak Peak of Stevie Nicks Interview on Oprah’s Master Class

cover_crystalvisionBy Pauline France

Legendary music icon Stevie Nicks was hand-picked by Oprah to appear as a guest on Oprah’s Master Class, a series which tells little known stories of true modern masters.

In the candid interview, Nicks discusses her mother’s death, the mistakes she’s made, such as marrying her friend’s husband, her battle with drug addiction, and more.

Watch a preview of Nicks’ interview below, and catch the whole series on Sunday, March 24, at 10/9c on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) channel.