Find out below how much you really know about these great female artists.
1. Her video for “Love Is a Battlefield” was the first to include dialogue as well as the musical performance.
Pat Benatar. Benatar’s Billboard hit “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” was written by a man (Eddie Schwartz, who had written for Carly Simon, Joe Cocker, and others) and originally included the line “put another notch in your lipstick case.” The only word Benatar changed when she recorded the song was to turn “your” into “my.”
2. She worked at the Playboy Club before her band had its first U.S. hit with “Heart of Glass.”
Debbie Harry. So many people thought that the name “Blondie” referred to Debbie Harry as a solo act that, in 1979, she started handing out buttons at her shows that said “Blondie is a group.” (The band’s name came from the fact that truck drivers used to lean out their windows and call out “Hey, Blondie!” as Harry walked by. Before that, she’d planned to call the band Angel and the Snakes.)
3. Before this new-wave frontwoman formed her wildly successful band in 1978, she attended Ohio’s Kent State University—and was on campus during the 1970 Kent State shootings.
Chrissie Hynde. Despite his having drastically different political views, Hynde allowed conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to use part of her song “My City Was Gone” as the theme song to his radio show…provided that he donated all the royalties to her favorite charity: PETA.
4. Rolling Stone magazine featured only two women on its 2003 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. This 1980s rocker was one of them. (Joni Mitchell was the other.)
Joan Jett. Joan Jett was the first female musician to establish her own record label.
5. Publications from Rolling Stone to the Village Voice heralded her band’s sophomore album—1994’s Live Through This—as a musical masterpiece. Time even called it one of the top 100 albums of all time.
Courtney Love. Mythconception: In 2003, rumors swirled that Marlon Brando was the grandfather of Courtney Love, whose mother had been adopted at birth. Fact: They’re not related.
6. Born in Scotland and the daughter of a big band singer, this rock star studied piano at the City of Edinburgh Music School before joining her first band at the age of 16…and that’s no “garbage.”
Shirley Manson. Manson’s father is a geneticist, and he was one of the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996.
7. This gravelly voiced rocker was a member of her high-school glee club before hitting it big in the 1960s. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Janis Joplin. “Me and Bobby McGee,” one of Joplin’s best-known songs, only became a hit after she died in 1970. It was posthumously released as part of the 1971 album Pearl, and she sang the song only four times live before she died.
8. She’s been called “punk’s poet laureate” and is one of America’s most influential singer-songwriters, yet she’s had only three Top 20 singles in her career—“Because the Night,” written with Bruce Springsteen, is the best known.
Patti Smith. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Gilda Radner loved Patti Smith. In a 1978 Saturday Night Live episode, Radner played a character called Candy Slice, who was based on Smith.
9. This influential punk and new wave groundbreaker changed her name in the 1970s because, she says, people would “stare at my surname and could not pronounce it.” She picked her new name as an homage to a Native American tribe because she “hated cowboys.”
Siouxsie Sioux. Her real name is Susan Janet Ballion.
10. This San Francisco rocker went to the same college as first daughter Tricia Nixon, and has been called the “Queen of the Summer of Love.” But she retired from music in the late 1980s and today works as a painter.
Grace Slick. Slick and former president Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, were both alumni of New York’s Finch College. When Slick was invited to an alumni event at the White House in 1970, she brought activist Abbie Hoffman as her date. The Secret Service wouldn’t clear the two because of Hoffman’s radical ideology, so the pair had to leave
Originally published in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music”. Translated from original text in English. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books are currently printed in English only.