With so many incredible female musicians who have graced our ears since the beginning of time, choosing "the best" of anything is subjective, to say the least, and perhaps impossible at best. But we're narrowing things down to the age of the guitar, and the iconic ladies who have picked and strummed their way into our hearts over the years.
Press play now + celebrate the Women of the '90s, Women of Alt, Women That Rock, and the Leading Ladies of Country on Audacy!
We know we're missing a lot, but this list would never get off the ground if we didn't exclude quite a few incredible musicians. Who could forget Joni Mitchell, Nita Strauss, Susan Tedeschi, Kaki King, Lzzy Hale, Joan Jett, and Lita Ford, or the ladies of Vixen, Babes In Toyland, Veruca Salt and many more -- and of course all of the Country singers and songwriters of past and present? Not us... but the list below should definitely kick off the right kind of conversations!
24-year-old R&B singer and guitarist Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, better known by her stage name H.E.R. (an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed"), burst onto the music scene in 2016 with her debut, H.E.R. Volume 1, which would go on to be nominated for five GRAMMYs, winning Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album that year. Her second release was also nominated for five GRAMMYs, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Hard Place". In 2021, H.E.R. received the GRAMMY for Song of the Year for her track "I Can't Breathe," as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song for her single "Fight for You" from the film Judas and the Black Messiah. Did we mention she's only 24-years-old?
Singer, guitarist, songwriter, and activist, Bonnie Raitt has been bridging the gap between Rock, Blues, Country, and Pop for a good half-century. After getting her start in 1971 with her self-titled debut, which caused a stir since not many females in Pop music at the time were also strong guitarists, Bonnie worked through the press and forged a stellar career which is still burning like wildfire. Her 21st studio album, Just Like That is set for release on April 22, 2022.
Nancy Wilson (Heart)
See: "Barracuda." Nuff said. C'mon, let's be honest here. Every. Single. Guitarist -- young and old, amateur or professional -- knows this Heart lick by Nancy!
Annie Clark (St. Vincent)
Double GRAMMY winner, singer, songwriter, actress, artist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark, known professionally as St. Vincent, has had fans enthralled since getting her start working with Tim DeLaughter’s The Polyphonic Spree and as a member of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. Clark broke out on her own in 2006, dropping her solo debut the following year and a number of subsequent fan-favorite albums thereafter. St. Vincent then broke the mold with her David Byrne collaboration, Love This Giant, in 2012, and has continued with a steady output ever since. St. Vincent's sixth album, Daddy's Home, was released in 2021.
Sister Rosetta Tharp
Late American Blues and Gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe gained popularity in the 1930s and '40s with her faith-based records filled with the sounds of the electric guitar, making Tharpe a principal force in the establishment of Rock N' Roll.
Aussie singer and guitarist Orianthi Penny Panagaris, best known by her stage name Orianthi, has been shredding for the best and brightest since the late 2000s, when she was tapped to tour with Michael Jackson on his planned This Is It concerts before his passing. In 2009, Orianthi was named one of the "12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists" by Elle magazine, and in 2010 also received the "2010 Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year" award from Guitar International magazine.
Gabriela Quintero (Rodrigo Y Gabriela)
One half of the acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, Quintero and her partner Rodrigo Sánchez have been leaving audiences in awe with their impeccable acoustic instrumentals and reimagined Flamenco versions of some of the biggest rock and metal hits.
OK, let's keep it going... Fans of Rock music have had some truly incredible female artists to obsess over through the years, many redefining the genre time and again. Take a look at some of our favorite female rockers right HERE, and celebrate women EVERY DAY with these all-new stations on Audacy.
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