Women and Musicby Tyler Woods on Nov. 14, 2012, under Life
With the election over many women are saying that they voted the way they did so they could keep their rights. Many women I have talked to said they did not want to go backwards. As a woman, I clearly did not want to regress back to the 50s and I as a woman was fully aware that music and women went hand in hand and it got me thinking…
Women had a huge say in the 50s and 60s when it came to music. Yes, we live in a nation where some people would like to see us barefoot, pregnant and unable to make decisions about our body parts or choices. The Donna Reed era is over though and more women are just saying no to staying at home and taking care of their husbands. Many of these women are fully aware how much they influenced music. How honored we should be that women not only crawled up the charts, they rocked the charts in a male dominated business. Let’s face it, can you imagine Ricky Nelson singing Aretha Franklins’ Respect? NOT! Women actually helped change and shift the music of my culture of the 60s.
Where would music be without women? Patti Page, Connie Francis, Shirley Bassey, Etta James, The Bobbettes, Della Reese, Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Mary Ford, Sarah Vaughan, Wanda Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were just some of the women of the 50s that made wonderful music seem effortless. Their voices were natural and clear and their vocal delivery was precise. These were the women that broke ground for women to create the music they did in the 60s.
They paved the way for females to enter the arena of songwriting like Carol King and Joni Mitchell. These women songwriters would rock the world with great songs. Carol King wrote I Feel the Earth Move, It’s Too Late, I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, The Loco-Motion, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and hundreds more. Joni Mitchell wrote songs like Woodstock, Carrey, Both Sides Now, Help Me, and Big Yellow Taxi. I could not mention singer songwriters without mentioning Janis Ian who wrote and recorded Society’s Child and At Seventeen.
These brave singers of the 50s proved that a woman could make it in a man’s world. They showed that number one hits belonged to women as well as men. Girl groups like Diana Ross and the Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas topped the charts with hit after hit. Women that captured audiences with grace and style were wonderful singers like Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield and Marianne Faithfull to name a very few.
Women not only showed us that their music was what emotions sounded like; they showed us that they could move our soul with Motown artists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. Momma Cass, Tina Turner, Grace Slick, showed us a woman could rock and Janis Joplin not only showed us a woman could rock, she showed us a woman could rock just as good as a man.
How grateful I am that women still top the charts and have made the music world not a man’s business but a business for talented people no matter what sex or sexuality they are, what religion or color they are or what they personally believe in. How amazed I am that women do not have to take steps backwards but we get to move forward and for many women, they will move forward through their music and songwriting. Therefore, my hat is off to the women who showed us that women and music do indeed go hand in hand and will continue to move forward.