It’s Friday! That sentence alone used to be some of the most exciting words in a person’s heart. Yet, when you are retired, as I had to take early a decade ago, your week is seems like six Saturdays and a Sunday. Which is cool, but I do miss the excitement of a Friday either at school on game day or in the hospital knowing this one was the Friday that signaled my three-day weekend in my schedule. And, let’s not even consider what a Friday night meant in college (PARTY!).
Therefore, in an effort to muster up some excitement for this particular Friday, I decided to split of my Women Who Deserve to Be Inducted in the RRHOF into four parts as a way to build some excitement into my life. As if looking out my music room’s window to see about eight inches of snow blanketing the neighborhood won’t garner some latent SNOW DAY excitement left in my body. No, today is the day on which I reveal my Top 25 Women Who Need to Be Inducted into the RRHOF soon.
Let’s get this thing rolling!
25. The Pointer Sisters. This undervalued singing group was first written off as just another disco group with a novelty act (40s attire and music set to a disco beat) then as an 80s pop/dance band. But, if you do a little time travel through their catalog, you will find these women are a group for the ages. Best song: “Slow Hand”
24. Sonic Youth. During a moment in history when the synthesizer represented a whole new world, this alternative NYC band came along with their guitars going into worlds then-unknown to create a whole new rock & roll vocabulary. And holding down the base was sometime-vocalist Kim Gordon, who became something of a fairy godmother to a whole generation of 90s alternative rockers. Best song: “Teen Age Riot”
23. Sheryl Crow. The former elementary music teacher-turned Michael Jackson background singer-turned alternative rock goddess has been a beacon in the whole pop/rock/alternative genre. Best song: “If It Makes You Happy”
22. Labelle. In the mid-70s, no band had nailed down the girl group/funk/space alien sound and visual like Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash did. This was the one time when you were not certain that Patti was always the lead singer since the other two were virtuosos in their own rights. Best song: “Lady Marmalade”
21. Grace Jones. Grace Jones was a formidable presence, and I am not just talking about her physical looks. Her musical demeanor was every bit as imposing as she had patrons hitting the dancefloor all over the world with her own songs and covers filtered through her larger-than-life personality. Best song: “Slave to the Rhythm”
20. Mary J. Blige. Arguably, Ms. Blige is the first diva of the hip hop era. Sure, Mariah Carey dabbled in the hip hop arena with remixes and duets, but Mary J. grew up in it and has the DNA to prove it. Although she continues to grow musically, her 90s music was some of the most exciting diva work since Donna Summer put a whole generation in the disco clubs. Best song: “Real Love”
19. Chaka Khan. With and without the terrific band Rufus, Khan was the diva vocalist who links Aretha Franklin to Donna Summer through the funk years. Khan has influenced some many singers in her wake that its almost embarrassing that she remains on the outside of the Hall: Whitney, Mariah, Taylor Dayne, Mary J., etc. Best song: “I’m Every Woman”
18. Cyndi Lauper. Upon first glance, we all thought she might just be a novelty act with her new wave New York trash chic in the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video. But, her debut and sophomore albums revealed an artist with far more depth than any other at the time. She had a real and fresh take on feminism that started with Donna Summer’s Bad Girls and grew from there. Best song: “She Bop”
17. The Bangles. Unfairly, these women have been compared to The Go-Go’s. While The Go-Go’s were steeped in LA punk before discovering the pop in their music, The Bangles were bathing in the psychedelia of the mid-60s. At first, their take on power pop might capture you, but you end up staying for the four-part harmonies they throw at you. It is their vocals that make their music so timeless. Best song: “Hazy Shade of Winter”
16. Eurythmics. Take Annie Lennox’ warm soulful vocals and set them against Dave Stewart’s icy synth-based noise, and you get a golden juxtaposition of sound that is otherworldly. Best song: “Love Is a Stranger”
15. The B-52’s. The first of the great bands who hailed from Athens, Georgia, helped segue people from the disco sounds of the 70s to the new wave dance sounds of the 80s. The band originally consisted of two women and three men and played some the most off-kiltered dance music this side of DEVO. Best song: “Rock Lobster”
14. Loretta Lynn. Ms. Lynn’s influence on society was solidified decades ago with the film based on her life A Coalminer’s Daughter. And, her influence on country is undeniable. But, when Jack White gave her a production boost in the Aughts, her stature among rock stars became clear. Best song: “The Pill”
13. Suzi Quatro. This Detroit native had to go to the U.K. in order to find stardom. No matter that she found a lukewarm reception in her homeland, because it seems that every female star in her wake was influenced by her. Plus, can we really continue to deny Leather Tuscadero a spot in the Hall? Best song: “Devil Gate Drive”
12. Sade. By the mid-80s, some were burned out on the whole synthesizer thing. Along came Sade Adu and her band Sade to bring some smooth jazz to the mix. Her music continues down the same path, but it is the confidence of her vocals that grow each time the band releases a new album in a new decade. It’s about time for Sade to release a new one. Best song: “The Sweetest Taboo”
11. Salt-n-Pepa. The most successful all-female rap group remains the most influential as well. No one that has followed in their wake could have done so without Salt, Pepa and their DJ Spinderella. These ladies blazed the trail that everyone from TLC and Mary J. Blige to Nicki Minaj and Doja Cat have traveled. Best song: “Let’s Talk About Sex”
10. Sylvia Robinson. No, this is not an endorsement for her duo that had one hit. No, Ms. Robinson deserves induction because she (1) founded Sugar Hill Records, one of the first and most successful labels for hip hop, and (2) recorded and released the most important single in hip hop history – the one that started it all – “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang. Most important song: “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang
9. Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldi. Many female rockers came knocking up the hard rock glass ceiling, but it was the diminutive Benatar, with the help of her musical partner and husband Neil Giraldi, who broke through that barrier making all of rock hereafter the realm of anyone talented enough. Best song: “Hell Is for Children”
8. Chic. DON’T LET THE HALL FOOL YOU JUST BECAUSE THEY INDUCTED GUITARIST/PRODUCER NILE RODGERS! Chic was the child of Rodgers AND bassist/producer Bernard Edwards, along with the collaboration of drummer Tony Thompson AND singers Norma Jean Wright, Luci Martin and Alfa Anderson. Remove any of them, and the mix is not quite correct. So, stop the BS and induct the WHOLE band! Best song: “Le Freak”
7. New Order. I probably will always lobby for New Order and Joy Division to be inducted together since they are essentially the same band with keyboardist Ms. Gillian Gilbert replacing the late singer Ian Curtis in the lineup. And, there is precedent for such a combo induction with Parliament/Funkadelic doing it first, followed by The Small Faces and The Faces a decade later. But, New Order realized the promise of Joy Division by combining JD’s darkness with creative dance beats that set dancefloors ablaze worldwide. Best song: “Bizarre Love Triangle”
6. Diana Ross. How can one of rock history’s most successful divas continue to be left out of the Hall? Oh sure, Ms. Ross has been inducted with The Supremes, but her solo career towers over the lofty heights set by her original group. Plus, how can we deny a million or so drag queens their moment in the spotlight? Best song: “I’m Coming Out”
5. Cher. So, how do you top the excitement of a Diana Ross induction? You induct Cher, that’s how! What more does this woman have to prove? She’s had hits with Sonny in the folk-rock genre, struck AM Gold in the early-70s during her tenure on The Sonny & Cher Show, followed by some disco hits in the late-70s, recorded a bombastic duet with Meat Loaf in the early-80s, did her take on hair metal in the laste-80s and got back to dominating the dancefloor in the late-90s? Nothing, I say, except she did cover ABBA songs recently. The woman has done more that enough for all 100 women on this list to be inducted. Best song: “Believe”
4. Mariah Carey. How do you top Cher? You go with the most successful diva of them all, that’s how! And, that woman is Mariah Carey. She has done it all, dominating ballads, 90s R&B, hip hop-influenced dancefloor hits and becoming THE Christmas Queen of all-time. Best song: “Fantasy”
3. The Runaways. In the wake of Suzi Quatro came a LA band of teenage girls who could flat-out rock and write their own music, although they were put together by rock impresario Kim Fowley. They were way ahead of their time with their take on punk and hard rock, as a solo Joan Jett scored a number one song in 1981 with “I Love Rock & Roll” and guitarist Lita Ford became a force during the hair metal days of the late-80s. Best song: “Cherry Bomb”
2. Big Mama Thornton. She originated much of what ended up being called rock and roll on the chitlin circuit in the South that was only for blacks. How can this woman continue to be denied a place in the Hall when it was HER version of “Hound Dog” that Elvis stole the arrangement for his hit? Best song: “Hound Dog”
1. Dolly Parton. If you are a female songwriter and are not familiar with the catalog of Ms. Parton, then you probably will never become a star. Sure, Dolly is country through-and-through, but her attitude is pure rock and roll. She has done it all and is deserving of this recognition. Plus, we could always use some honest-to-goodness good people in the Hall, and Dolly fits the mold. Hell, put her in the Hall simply because she donate a million dollars for COVID-19 vaccine research back when most people had no idea what a virus was. Best song: “Jolene”
There you are folks! The 100 women I feel as though should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, and remember, the Hall is entitled “Rock AND ROLL,” so we gotta have some roll in the form of R&B and rap to go with our rock. Peace.
4 thoughts on “The Final Step: The Top 25 Women Who Deserve to Be Inducted into the RRHOF”
No Pixies? Crystals? Smashing Pumpkins? Gloria Gaynor? Or rock hall nominees The Chantels and Little Esther Phillips?
It’s a work in progress
Sure but you’ve ignored some pretty big names in Rock and Roll, some Rock Hall nominees even in favour of minor acts (L7? 7 Year Bitch?) who have absolutely no prayer of even getting a sniff of consideration. Gloria is probably the biggest Disco diva outside of Donna Summer. The Crystals were the foundation of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, equally if not more than The Ronettes, etc, etc, etc.
Still, appreciate the effort.
That’s why I have people read it for the suggestions. Thanks.