Music in a decade of flourishing female activity…
New thinking paved the way for women in a new decade. Music, art and literature flourished in the wake of the shifting grounds of the 1970s and women were finally at the front of it. This was the decade that Radio 1 saw its first female Dj, Germaine Greer and Kate Millet published their seminal works on feminism, London’s Stock Exchange opened it’s doors to women for the first time and Britain saw it’s first female Prime Minister. Defined by the female faces that shaped it new music sprung out of this decade in an explosion of experimentation and creativity.
Here are just a few of our favourite women from the eclectic styles this decade bore, with attitudes to match their wild locks these women were catalysts who have continued to inspire women in music ever since.
Track #1 These Days | Nico | Chelsea Girl
The Velvet Underground, somewhat reluctantly, gained their iconic female counterpart at the whim of Andy Warhol. Her distinctive voice, fusing folk and 60s pop sits somewhat at odds with the string and wind instrumentals behind, but such has become the distinctive style of Nico on both The Velvet Underground & Nico album and her solo album, Chelsea Girl. She is an icon of many facets, befriended by Brian Jones, Jimmy Page and Bob Dylan her extensive career included film, music and modeling projects before her life was cut short in 1988.
Nico performed “The Falconer” for then boyfriend Phillipe Garrel in his film La Lit de la Vierge. See how the melodic and poetic poise turns this epic panning shot across the Arizonian desert into a three-minute hallucinistic mirage: ‘The Falconer’ by Nico from La Lit de la Vierge
Track #2 Psycho Killer | Talking Heads | Talking Heads: 77
Her fusion of French-Californian origins may be to thank for the minimalist riffs of Tina Weymouth’s bass-lines. Tina Weymouth carries ‘Psycho Killer’ staccato paced into its infamous success for Talking Heads, who earned recognition as one of the defining avant-garde bands of the new wave genre.
Track #3 Heart of Glass | Blondie | Parallel Lines
Debbie Harry is no less a music-legend than her male contemporaries, Lou Reed, Jarvis Cocker or Morrissey. Blondie’s synthesis of disco and punk in Parallel Lines cascaded into musical success, fronted by Debbie Harry, with two-tone bleach hair and her fiery punk attitude, she quickly became an icon of punk-rock style.
Track #4 Wuthering Heights | Kate Bush | The Kick Inside
In all her Pre-Raphaelite beauty, Kate Bush stormed the charts age nineteen with ‘Wuthering Heights’. As the first female singer-songwriter to gain a number one hit, her idiosyncratic style and distinctive voice have made her one of the greatest female successes of all time. Another timeless icon rising to fame in the decade of women’s success Kate Bush inspired a generation of female singer-songwriters from Björk to Florence Welch.
Track #5 Hong Kong Garden | Siouxsie and the Banshees | The Scream
Words almost fail me when faced with the enigmatic Siouxsie Sioux; utterly aloof, effortlessly cool she is attitude and style with the face of an angel… maybe we are just a bit in awe, but this 70s pop-queen carved a path through music, fashion and style that paved the way for others to follow. Lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees their hits included “Happy House” and “Hong Kong Garden”, but with her own prolific solo career, Siouxsie Sioux recorded songs with artists John Cale and Morrissey and her songs have been covered by everyone from Jeff Buckley to LCD Soundsystem.
Track #6 Love Is A Battlefield | Pat Benatar | Crimes of Passion
Rising to fame at the end of the 1970s Pat Benatar’s unprecedented musical success was as infamous as her spandex-clad legs. An archetypal figure of the women’s era in music her power-chord ballads became pillars of mainstream music success and made Pat Benatar - philanthropist, activist and mother – a pop-icon and international legend.
Track #7 So Good To Be Back Home Again | The Tourists | The Tourists
Better known as the fiery red head singing ‘Sweet Dreams’ Annie Lennox‘s music career began with the new wave band The Tourists. Abandoning her prestigious music college to pursue a career in pop music she embarked on a relatively fruitless career with The Tourists before joining forces with David Stewart to go on and become Eurythmics.
For more songs by these and other wonderful women of this musical era check out our Spotify playlist: Wunderbuzz | A New Wave of Women