‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine Pays Homage To ‘Women Who Rock’


Rolling Stone magazine is very fond of making lists of things and this month, they have compiled what they consider the Top 50 Albums from Women Who Rock. In the magazine’s introduction to the feature, they don’t really explain exactly what quantifies a “woman in rock” … instead, they give a laundry list of music genres (and personal titles) from whence comes their collection of Women Who Rock. As usual, I do not agree with this RS list entirely (either by selection or rank) but, of course, I do agree with some of their selections. Click below to learn more about this Rolling Stone list of Top Albums from Women Who Rock and see which of their selected albums are my faves.

From Blondie to Beyonce, from Aretha to Adele, these are just 50 of the fiercest albums that female rock & rollers have given the world. There are plenty more where these came from – but these are all essential musical statements. Including, but not limited to: girl-group glamazons, guitar warriors, blues wailers, country cowgirls, disco queens, rappers, folkies, gold dust women, sweethearts of the rodeo, funky divas, punks and poets and pop stars. A little toot toot. A lot of beep beep.

Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You (1967): The greatest rock, pop or soul singer ever steps to the mike and clears her throat. Franklin was shocking in 1967, and still is: Nobody has ever sung with more intensity, more swagger, more soul. Essential moment: “Respect,” which never stops kicking your ass.

Madonna, Like A Prayer (1989): Such a nice quiet Catholic girl, at least for the first 30 seconds. Then she starts getting out of hand. Madonna’s best album has her brightest pop along with her most cathartic confessions. Essential moment: The title song, when she gets down on her knees to feel the power in the midnight hour.

Liz Phair, Exile In Guyville (1993): A smartass indie-rock rebel grabs her guitar and cooks up a perfect debut album of wisecracks, obscenities, tortured love songs and freewheeling sex songs. She’s never topped it, but who has? Essential moment: “Fuck and Run,” in which the ironic ice queen breaks down and admits to a sentimental streak. Of course, she takes it all back in the next song.

The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat (1981): SoCal vixens-next-door fuse punk attitude with pop exuberance, full of garage-band overdrive, get-up-and-go handclaps and classicist melody. Essential moment: Gina Schock’s drums on the chorus of “How Much More” demand some kind of Nobel Prize in Awesome.

Siouxsie and the Banshees, Once Upon A Time (1981): Somebody needed to create the ultimate goth archetype. But only one woman had the style, the pretensions, and the demon-queen voice for the job, and she spelled her name with an X. Essential moment: “Spellbound,” a psychedelic guitar meltdown.

Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (1995): The jagged little Canadian with the jagged little voice manages to make sensuality and rage act like kissing cousins. So give her a hug. She’s not angry at you. And her record is hook-y as hell. Essential moment: From “You Oughta Know”: “Will she go down on you in a theater?”

The albums I list are are not only among my fave albums of all time but they are, IMHO, some of the most essential albums of all time. I would absolutely rank Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Go-Go’s much higher (and I have no comment on Lady Gaga’s placement at #11) but I do see what Rolling Stone is trying to do with this list. I’m very pleased to see The Breeders on the list (even if they are placed at #49) and am impressed that both Missy Elliot and Mary J. Blige made the list. Undoubtedly, these sorts of list only serve to spark conversation and debate … they can never be taken as gospel. You can see the full list of Top 50 Albums of Women Who Rock HERE. Did your fave female rockers make the list? Are they ranked high enough for you? Do you see any glaring omissions?


  • Ben@pr

    I can’t believe Alanis is at #50. She and Madonna should have been in the top 10.

  • I definitely don’t agree with the ranking, and I truly believe that Born This Way is overhyped and just plain awful. I would have agreed with Gaga on this list under the Fame or the Fame Monster. Both are so much better than BTW. (And I’m NOT a Gaga fan.)

    We’re missing Patti Smith, Jefferson Airplane, Pat Benatar, Cher, Regina Spektor, Amy Winehouse Back to Black, Christina Aguilera Stripped, Amy Grant…

    C’mon now.

  • Krissy

    I never like the ranking of “top” things…whether it is movies, music, guitar players, beautiful people, etc. I just can’t handle someone telling me that one is better than the other, when most of the time they are all great it is just in different ways. A better presentation, IMO, would be just saying these are great artists/albums and you should check them out. But arguing is what drives comment boards, so I am sure that is RS’s intent.

    • Krissy

      That said, I am glad to see Rythm Nation and Patti Smith’s Horses on there. ;)

  • Krissy

    I noticed you edited their introduction to remove the Gaga reference, “A little toot toot. A lot of beep beep. And of course, Lady Gaga.”

    Sneaky! ;)

    • @Krissy — No comment :)

  • Josh C.

    The Whitney album by Whitney Houston no where to be seen?!?! And what about CrazySexyCool by TLC which has made RS’s list of 90’s and All-Time lists. Travesty!!! Alanis #50…crazy! Gaga > Madonna…only in my nightmares and apparently this lame list.

  • Matt

    I usually find issues with Rolling Stone’s “lists” but this might be they’re worst one yet!! Yoko Ono and Taylor Swift should not be on this list. Janet Jackson I agree, but wrong album, should have been the Janet album. Beyonce makes the list, yet the 3 people who were very, very big influences on here (Tina Turner, Whitney, Mariah)don’t even make the list?? Mariah and Whitney are 2 of the must successful and influential female artists ever! How are they not here? Where is Pat Benatar? Pink? Kelly Clarkson? So many issues with this list I could go on and on.

  • Jesse

    Yeah.. I figure they do these lists to court readership but this list is terrible. Everyone brings something different to the table. Why list like ones better than the other?