In a less-enlightened time, women were barely tolerated by the rock’n’roll establishment. They could sing, maybe shake a tambourine and look pretty, but that was about it.
In retrospect, the sexism and misogyny were unbelievable. But back in the day, that was standard operating procedure.
There were exceptions, of course: Aretha, Carole, Janis. But even they suffered at the hands of the old boys’ club.
Sexism continued through the early- and mid-seventies. The prevailing “wisdom” was that women just couldn’t rock. It was a biological impossibility, apparently.
But then along came punk rock and its sense of egalitarianism. The central tenet of punk was that anyone with anything to say should be allowed to say it, regardless of musical ability, class, race, religion–or sex.
The punk rock explosion of the 1970s opened more musical doors for women than any other era in musical history. This didn’t mean that the sexism and misogyny were over, but it did pave the way for more strong, powerful female musicians.
Slow, steady progress was made through the 80s. ANd yes, there were setbacks. But by the time we got into the next decade, the music world was being flooded with women, who in many ways, set the agenda for all rock music.
This is part two of our series on the alt-rock 90s.
Songs heard on this show:
Sinead O’Connor, Troy
Ani Difranco, Both Hands
Tori Amos, Crucify
PJ Harvey, Sheela-Na-Gig
Bjork, Big Time Sensuality
Sarah McLachlan, Building a Mystery (Live)
Liz Phair, Supernova
Alanis Morissette, You Oughta Know
Eric Wilhite took the trouble to make this playlist for the show.
Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.
The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
- 102.1 The Edge/Toronto – Sunday night at 7
- Live 88-5/Ottawa
- 107.5 Dave-FM/Kitchener
- FM96/London – Sunday night at 7, Monday night at 11
- Power 97/Winnipeg (Sunday nights at 11)
- Rock 97.7/Grand Prairie – Sunday nights at 6.
- Sonic 102.9/Edmonton
- The Zone/Victoria
- The Fox/Vancouver
- WAPS/WKTL The Summit/Arkon, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown The show runs at 11 am Sunday. This, by the way, is a great option for American listeners who are prevented from listening to the show live because of geo-blocking,
We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor, Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do