It’s Women’s History Month, and we’ve been given a chance to celebrate all of the joyful roles that women fill in our lives. Today, we’re looking back at several decades of music we’ve been gifted with from the fairer sex. While I don’t expect the highlights here to encompass everyone’s taste in music, the intention was to take us along the progression of musical history. I hope I’ve inspired you to share your own favorites from your favorite era. Grab a drink, let’s toast to the ladies!
1930’s – Billie Holiday started in nightclubs, found herself with big bands and one of the first black singers to work with a white orchestra, and in 1939 performed her signatory piece in Greenwich Village.
1940’s – The Andrews Sisters were a household name by the early 40’s, with their patriotic wartime tours, singing and dancing for the enlisted men.
1950’s – Patsy Cline’s career began in the early 50’s as a fifteen-year-old. She had her first recording success early in the 60’s, and was killed in an airplane crash in 1963 — leaving a legacy of influence after a short career.
1960’s – Aretha Franklin brought a little respect to the decade of soul and civil rights, and was crowned “The Queen of Soul.”
1970’s – Carole King was a proficient pianist by the age of four, and a prolific songwriter by her teens. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles was only the beginning of her songwriting career. Her own recording career kicked off in 1970, and her album “Tapestry” held the charts at number one for a female artist for 20 years, only to be replaced by Whitney Houston.
1980’s – Madonna dominated the music scene in the 80’s with a trend toward visual performances in the world of MTV and video music. Guinness calls her the best-selling female artist, and she holds many titles prefaced by “greatest,” “highest-grossing,” and “most” — and likely many unofficial titles.
1990’s – Janet Jackson, the tenth and youngest child of the Jackson family of Gary, Indiana, dominated the decade with provocative stage performances. Her mix of rhythm and blues, funk, disco, rap, and industrial music sold over 100 million records.
2000’s – Alicia Keys was writing songs at 12, and had earned five Grammy awards with her debut album release in 2001-2. She was named by Billboard as the top R&B artist of the 2000’s decade.
2010’s – Lady Gaga, or Stefani Germanotta, also began as a songwriter, and sang at open mic nights and performed in school plays. Her fame has led her to philanthropic youth and LGBTQ causes, she is regarded as a trailblazer for using controversy to bring attention to various issues.
Happy Friday, Happy 5:00, Happy Women’s History Month!