If you are from the MTV generation (or MuchMusic in Canada), then you’ll remember your teenage years rocking to some of rock music’s female royalty figures. Those were the days when star idols were all about girl-power, female strength and showing the young viewers that girls could do it as well as boys when it came to rocking an audience. The message of these female rocker-super-stars was conveyed in a much different fashion that the current underwear-missing-party-crazy-rehab-in-and-outs-psychologically-fragile-scandal-seeking starlets of today.
In this era where most videos are showing women as victims or as sex-hungry lobotomised creatures (don’t get me started on some of these hip-hop videos), I thought it would be refreshing to go back two decades and celebrate the women who were video queen pioneers and who had such a different message for young viewers like myself at the time.
Sass Jordan (47, born in 1960): This British-born of French origin (from France) singer grew up in Montreal and became famous for 1988 album: Tell Somebody. Today Sass is the female judge on “Canadian Idols”. There is no doubt that a combination of lifestyle and good genes have kept Sass looking as sexy today as did when she accepted her Juno Music Award in 1988. You can catch Sass Jordan updates on her official site.
Pat Benatar (55, born in 1953): Pat’s videos were strong and powerful. Everything about the message was: “don’t even think of messing with me”. Today, this four-time Grammy Award-winning American rock singer who counts millions of album sold is still making her voice heard. In 2006 and 2007 some of Pat Benatar’s songs made their way to the big and small screen as music for films and commercials. One on my favourite Pat Benatar songs: We Belong was featured in the 2006 ad campaign for Sheraton hotels and in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. If you want to know more about Pat Benatar’s whereabouts, you can keep up-to-date via her site!
Joan Jett (49, born in 1958): Do you remember the 1982 smash hit: I Love Rock and Roll? What an amazing tune that was! Joan Jett was a no-nonsense kick butt on stage performer and she was simply brilliant as the lead vocal of her band: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan Jett is also the one who gave us “Crimson and Clover”. I cannot believe how young I was when these songs were hitting number of the billboard charts. These days a less edgy Joan Jett has been seen on Broadway and on television. She might be a little less edgy than she was two decades ago, but Joan Jett is still rocking live audience. She was recently spotted in November 2007 in Birmingham (UK). You can catch Joan Jett and the Blackhearts updates on their official site.
Annie Lennox (54, born in 1954): I recently saw Annie Lennox’s performance on the ceremony for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winners and she’s lost nothing of her sexy and raspy voice. Annie Lennox’s peers call her “The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive” and justifiably so because the depth of that woman’s voice is incredible. I still remember how dazzled I was when I saw two of my favourite Eurythmics’ (the Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart duo) videos “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and “Would I Lie to You?”
Today, after selling over 80 millions records, Annie Lennox (who’s Scottish) is still very busy doing what she does best: singing from her soul. Annie Lennox has created a really cool Web site where you can find all new updates.
Stevie Nicks (59, born in 1948): Stevie Nicks is another 80s female rocker who had an unmistakeably distinctive voice that mesmerized you the first time you heard it on the radio. I think that Fleetwood Mac would have been just another “passing” 70s/80s band had it not been for Stevie Nicks’ raspy and deep vocals. Today, Stevie Nicks still tours and in 2007 she put out a compilation record: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks in the US, which debuted at #21 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart … not bad for a woman who will be adding 60 candles on her birthday cake later this year! You can keep up with Stevie Nicks’ tours and records via her official Web site.
Tina Turner (68, born in 1939): Tina is the quintessential survivor. She had a major career comeback in her 40s and she really makes her 60s look so effortless, radiant and sexy. If you’ve seen Angela Bassett’s performance in: “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (Tina Turner’s bio), then you’ll know how much of a tumultuous and emotionally damaging life Tina Turner led with her ex-husband Ike Turner. It’s surreal to find out that a woman who once picked cotton in the South of the U.S. has turned out to be the most influential female rockers alive. The long list of Tina Turner’s accomplishments could easily fill many posts, but suffice to say that after over 180 million records sold and a tsunami of concert tickets sold, this singer is still able to fill stadiums today. The fact that Tina is almost 70 years old and she still has legs that most of her juniors envy is incredible. It’s rumoured that Tina Turner will put out another album soon and we’ll have to see if she’ll be rocking audiences during a live tour … in her late 60s! You’ll find more details on Tina Turner’s Web site.
Chrissie Hynde (56, born in 1951): As the lead singer for The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde’s mellow voice brought the 70s rock band to new heights of success. Since I was never a fan of The Pretenders, I’d have to say that Chrissie stood out for me when she performed the duet on “I Got You Babe” with one of my favourite 80s British band: UB40.
It’s said that Chrissy wrote advice to young female rockers about the dos and don’ts of the business … no doubt a number of younger singers might not have had the good fortune to read Chrissie’s wise words. Today, Chrissie is still performing, although she’s been doing quite a number of duets with international bands.
Alannah Myles (49, born in 1958): This Canadian singer who became famous for her song: “Black Velvet”, which hit #1 on the American Billboard chart in 1990. Although she might not be topping charts these days, Alannah is still singing and she’s still touring Canada and the rest of the world. She will soon put a new record fittingly called Black Velvet which features a new recording of her hit single later this year!
You can find out more information on Alannah’s Web site.
Deborah Harry (62, born in 1945): From the number of times Blondie videos played in the 80s on video channels, it’s hard to believe that the band fronted by female punk rocker Deborah Harry actually disbanded in 1982. Among my favourite Blondie songs, I’d have to say “One Way”, “Rapture” and “Call Me” stand out the most. Would the band have been so popular without the combination of Deborah Harry’s sexy voice and sultry looks and the numerous video replays? Today, Deborah Harry and Blondie are still playing live concerts in North America and in Europe. I’ve seen Deborah Harris in videos and time has really done nothing to her spirit. She still radiates and she still does what she loves most. It’s incredible what happens when you don’t let age stop you from pursuing your passion. If you want to know more about Blondie’s next performances, you can check their Web site.
Ann Wilson (57, born in 1950), Nancy Wilson (54, born in 1954): I don’t remember when “Crazy On You” became a huge hit in 1976 because I was too young, but I do remember that in the 80s it was still playing on the radio regularly. The duo sisters from group Heart might have started making hit songs in the 70s, but they were still fixture of small elite group of 80s female rockers with tunes like: “What About Love?”, “Never”, “These Dreams”, and “Nothin’ at All”. Today, Ann and Nancy Wilson are being honour by the music industry (VH1 Rock Honors in 2007) and they are still putting out records (in 2004, the Wilson sisters released “Jupiter’s Darling” and in 2007, Ann Wilson released her first solo album “Hope & Glory”).
I’ve got to be honest, I like all of these 80s female rocker chicks and they’ve all been aging well. Some of them have been able to surmount some major life challenges and they were strong enough to keep moving forward and keep doing what they love.
I think that following their passions has most likely kept these women looking so good in their 40s, 50s, 60s and soon 70s. May we all keep rocking in whichever passion we choose to follow as women in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60, 70s and beyond!
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