Girls Rock!

Girls Rock!: Fifty Years of Women Making Music

Mina Carson
Tisa Lewis
Susan M. Shaw
Jennifer Baumgardner
Amy Richards
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130j6dp
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  • Book Info
    Girls Rock!
    Book Description:

    With a foreword by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

    Girls Rock!explores the many ways women have defined themselves as rock musicians in an industry once dominated and controlled by men. Integrating history, feminist analysis, and developmental theory, the authors describe how and why women have become rock musicians -- what inspires them to play and perform, how they write, what their music means to them, and what they hope their music means to listeners. As these musicians tell their stories, topics emerge that illuminate broader trends in rock's history. From Wanda Jackson's revolutionary act of picking up a guitar to the current success of independent artists such as Ani DiFranco,Girls Rock!examines the shared threads of these performers' lives and the evolution of women's roles in rock music since its beginnings in the 1950s. This provocative investigation of women in rock is based on numerous interviews with a broad spectrum of women performers -- those who have achieved fame and those just starting bands, those playing at local coffeehouses and those selling out huge arenas. Girls Rock! celebrates what female musicians have to teach about their experiences as women, artists, and rock musicians.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5010-9
    Subjects: Music, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

    Rolling Stonerecently made one of their typical pronouncements: a list of the “100 all time best guitarists:” Unsurprisingly, 98 percent of the list was men—Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett had made it, while Bonnie Raitt had not. But more shocking than the low XX turnout were our low expectations. It didn’t occur to either of us that any chick guitarist would break the top one hundred. In our brainwashed heads, the wordguitarwas still synonymous withmale. If it had been the hundred best singers, we could have named dozens of women. If it had been the...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-xx)
    Mina Carson, Tisa Lewis and Susan M. Shaw
  5. CHAPTER 1 GIRLS WITH GUITARS
    (pp. 1-20)

    Wanda Jackson built her career on a dare. When she was twelve, her church friends dared her to try out forThe Local Talent, a fifteen-minute radio spot hosted by Jay Davis on KLPR in Oklahoma City. Scared to death, Wanda hauled her guitar to the station and won the tryout. “One thing led to another,” she recalls. She began winning local contests, and when the radio station announced a contest to win a daily quarter-hour slot for six months, Wanda won that one too.

    At the end of six months she was not ready to give up her show....

  6. CHAPTER 2 SEX, RACE, AND ROCK ’N’ ROLL
    (pp. 21-41)

    A visionary promoter, Dick Clark combined what was right with what sold. Running mixed-race caravans of “stars” through the segregated South in the early 1960s, he pushed the edges of America’s rigid racial envelope. Some performers paid a higher price than others. Mary Wilson of The Supremes remembers one of Clark’s Southern bus tours around 1964. “Many places we were not allowed to come in. They said that the white groups could come in, but the black groups would have to go. So Dick Clark was really a great guy. . . . And he said, ‘Well, if you can’t...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE SINGER AND THE SONG
    (pp. 42-64)

    Every so oftenRolling Stone,that notoriously and sometimes hilariously misogynistic publication, feels compelled to recognize that women play rock music. The magazine does it by constructing women as a special group in rock. In a recent nod to the ladies, the 2002 “Women in Rock” issue, Joni Mitchell was asked to respond to Bob Dylan’s years-old comment—to the same magazine—that “chicks” who perform “whore themselves.” Joni, he had struggled to explain, was “almost like a man. . . . Joni Mitchell is in her own world all by herself, so she has a right to keep any rhythm she...

  8. CHAPTER 4 THE GIRLS IN THE BAND
    (pp. 65-94)

    In middle school, New Yorker Deborah Frost could not find girls to start a band with. She got her best friend to go toA Hard Day’s Night(1964) and talked her into forming a band. Deb was able to buy the sheet music for those Beatles songs, but by the time she had saved enough money toalmostbuy a small plastic drum at Corvette’s, her friend had lost interest. This was a shame because her friend already had a guitar. “People really thought that this was bizarre;” Deborah recalls about her passion to be a rock musician. “I...

  9. CHAPTER 5 IMAGINE MY SURPRISE! THE WOMEN’S MUSIC MOVEMENT
    (pp. 95-114)

    Deb Frost knew she could be in a rock band because of Fanny. In 1970, as far as she knew, there were two girl rock bands, Birtha and Fanny, and she was particularly taken with Fanny. She played their music at every opportunity, and often based friendships and even a dating relationship on a shared appreciation of the group who represented everything she wanted to be doing.¹

    Thirty years later, Deb introduced us to June Millington at the Rockrgrl conference in Seattle. We knew June best through a well-worn solo album,Running;in a subsequent interview we learned more about...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  11. CHAPTER 6 WHO’S THAT GIRL? WOMEN AND IMAGE IN ROCK ’N’ ROLL
    (pp. 115-134)

    When Susan first saw Lynn Frances Anderson perform at a little coffee shop on a funky street in Portland, Oregon, in 1994, she never would have guessed Lynn had ever fronted Top 40 bands. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Lynn’s powerful voice took the audience on a journey through bluesy songs reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks, with an occasional dash of James Brown. She was dressed simply, her long dark hair moving hypnotically as she swayed to her music. Her music too complicated for commercial radio and her image definitely her own, Lynn exuded determination to set...

  12. CHAPTER 7 THE BUSINESS
    (pp. 135-156)

    Scarlet Rivera has had no illusions about the music industry since she figured out what happened to her on that Thanksgiving Day when a company executive invited her to dinner with his family. He followed up the feast by having Rivera sign away a hundred percent of her own publishing for the next two years. “I didn’t expect to be screwed on Thanksgiving Day. It’s family; it’s warm. You know, he was like a father figure on that day to me.” Alas, history is replete with stories of such father figures. “I really deplore anybody who does that, who knows...

  13. CHAPTER 8 SURVIVAL [“PRETTY GOOD FOR A GIRL”]
    (pp. 157-180)

    The most important thing we have learned from talking with our informants, from the seventeen-year-old music student to the sixty-year-old veteran, is that making popular music is hard work. It is work of the body, the mind, and the emotions—most of all, the emotions. Making music central to her life is something the musician does and something that is done to her. Both events are painful. “Most of the musicians that I know, or songwriters that I know, have always wanted to do this. And the idea of doing something else just doesn’t even enter into the brain,” Janis...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 181-214)
  15. SOURCES CONSULTED AND FURTHER READING
    (pp. 215-222)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 223-235)