With the #metoo movement, time’s up movement and events like the Women’s March happening, female empowerment is at an all-time high. After a long period of silence, women are being heard. It’s important to recognize and honor the strong women that came before us to pave the way so that we can have equal opportunities. There are women pioneers for everything: first female astronaut, first female CEO, first female to win an Oscar. Here are just a few of the female pioneers and revolutionary women of music:
Carole King is a one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time. She wrote 118 Billboard Top Hits between 1955-1999. King wrote songs for others starting in 1955, but in 1970, decided to sing and perform her own songs, and since then has made 25 solo albums. Her most famous solo album, Tapestry, was said by critics to liberate female singers. The present and critically acclaimed musical Beautiful is based on the life and career of King.
Most Famous Songs: “You’ve Got a Friend”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “It’s Too Late”
Nicknamed the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin first signed with a recording company at the age of 18 in 1960. She was the first female to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She has sold over 75 million records worldwide, becoming one of the top selling musical artists of all time. Franklin’s soulful voice drives all of her songs and she is most noted for her gospel and R&B music. At the age of 75, she currently lives in Michigan and is still doing killer performances.
Most Famous Songs: “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer”
Dolly Parton is arguably the most famous and best female country singers of all time. Her career started in 1967, but she rose to stardom in the 70s and 80s. She has written over 3,000 songs and has received, along with numerous other nominations, 47 Grammy nominations. She is also one of 63 other people to have been nominated for an Academy, Emmy, Tony and Grammy award. Currently, the 72 year old spends her time in Tennessee visiting her theme park Dollywood and writing music with her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus.
Most Famous Songs: “Jolene”, “9 to 5” and “Islands in the Stream”
Cuban-American singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan began her career in 1977 as the lead singer in the band Miami Sound Machine. However, her solo career didn’t take off until 1991 with her second solo album. Estefan paved the way for females in Latin pop. Over the years, she has been granted a copious amount of awards such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Kennedy Center Honors, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor.
Most Famous Songs: “Conga”, “Get on Your Feet” and “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”
Madonna, also known as the “Queen of Pop”, began her music and solo career in 1982 after a few years being a dancer. Since then, Madonna has written and produced most of her own songs and has sold over 300 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling female recording artist of all time. She is known for her bold lyrics and visual expression on stage and in music videos. In the book “Madonna and Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop”, Laura Barcella and Jessica Valenti wrote, “really, Madonna changed everything the musical landscape, the ‘80s look du jour, and most significantly, what a mainstream female pop star could (and couldn’t) say, do, or accomplish in the public eye.”
Most Famous Songs: “Like A Virgin”, “Express Yourself” and “Vogue”