(From WTIT: The Blog archives 2007) Today the WTIT Tape Radio Blog we
present, formally, a new feature titled A DJ’s Take. Today, we will share with you our
picks for the Top 15 Female Rock Vocalists of the rock era. Check out our other Top
Artist & Songs features [below.}. We will give you the artist and out favorite song of
theirs. Starting at # 15,- Let’s cue up the first A DJ's Take!
15. CARLY SIMON. In the 70’s she was as good as there was. The mystery about who
she was singing about in “You’re So Vain” still creates conversation. She auctions the
answer (on the condition of the secret staying, well secret) and raised a lot of money
for charity with that bit. Before, during and after her marriage to James Taylor, she
wrote and performed a lot of rock classics. Who could forget “The Wives Are in
Connecticut”? Okay then, who can remember it?
Our favorite: “You’re So Vain”. (Sorry, it’s still a great song). And Warren Beattie is
the our best guess to the question (at the time this was written).
14. MAMA CASS ELLIOTT. Another great voice silenced too young. Cass both with
The Mamas and the Papas and solo, could belt out a tune. A sad life, being in love
with Denny, only to have Michelle leave John (The late John Phillips, The Mamas and
Papas' leader.) and go to Denny. As good a song writer John Phillips was, without
Cass there would have been no band.
Our Favorite: The first. “California Dreaming”.
13. CHER. She’s been of favorite of ours since “I Got You Babe”. As an actress she
was brilliant in “Moonstruck” and “The Mask”. Her work with ex-husband, the late
Sonny Bono, was classic. Her hit in the 90’s “Believe” is one of the most popular
dance songs of all time. Cher is unique. And that’s why we love her.
Our Favorite: “Walking in Memphis”.
12. CAROLE KING. Just the hits she wrote with her ex-husband in the early sixties
showed how amazingly talented Carole is. When she released “Tapestry” WTIT was
still counting down the Top 100 albums on a Tape Radio Show. (We did it yearly from
1967 to 1974. Then we stopped. In 1989, we counted down the top 100 songs of the
decade and did it once again in 1999. I’m already looking forward to the 2009
version.) She was number one that year and still in the Top 100 a year later.
Our Favorite: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”.
11. SARAH MCLACHLIN. Sarah has a beautiful quality to her vocals. While cut from
the same cloth as a lot of 90’s singers (see: Alanis.) she is very distinctive because of
the depth of her vocals and her range. She was the first artist I saw on “Launch” which
is a rock video site from I believe Yahoo. Just she and her piano. It was magic.
Our Favorite: “Adia”.
10. JEWEL. She was another 90’s artist that came out while we were still in alternative
rock radio. She would appear anywhere to open for any decent rock act. We were
suppose to meet one night, but something came up (with me) and it didn’t happen.
What the fuck was I thinking? She is just a terrific writer and singer.
Our favorite: “You Were Meant for Me”.
9. GRACIE SLICK was as good a rock singer as there ever was. Her work with
Jefferson Airplane is amazing. It was just unfortunately that she stayed with the
various incarnations of Jefferson Starship after they became Starship and became
totally irrelevant. Give me “Somebody to Love” not “We Built This City”. We saw an
interview with her recently and boy did she not age well. She looked 95. I
Our Favorite: “White Rabbit”.
8. SHERYL CROW. She was fun right from the start from that first hit, “All I Wanna Do”
when she met a guy named “Bud” at a bar. She is such a force. The album “C’mon C’
mon” was on our Top 50 of all time. She will be around a LONG time. She should be
number one, really. If it weren’t for the others, we mean.
Our Favorite: “Strong Enough”.
7. STEVIE NICKS. When WTIT was offered $$$$ to write comedy for the American
Comedy Network (we passed on the offer BTW) they played us a parody of Stevie
called the “What the Hell is She Saying” album. It’s true her lyrics are cryptic and she
at times IS tough to understand. But we could listen to her music whether in
Buckingham/Nicks, Fleetwood Mac or solo for days.
Our Favorite: “Edge of Seventeen”.
6. ALANIS MORRISETTE. She truly changed the sound of a female rocker in the 90’s.
Even to this day whether it’s Pink or Natalie Merchant, the style was originally Alanis.
We were working at an alternative rock station when she came along. She wrote great
lyrics and what an edge! To have a HUGE hit that the censors edited twice is
something. Every guy wanted to take her to a movie, that is for sure.
Our Favorite: “You Ought to Know”
5. LINDA RONSTADT. Linda can sing anything. She might have the best pure voice
on our list. She was just as talent on her collaboration with Nelson Riddle and the
standards as she was belting out rock ‘n roll. She did put on the pounds over the
years, didn’t she?
Our Favorite: “When We I Be Loved” The Everly Brother’s cover.
4. MELISSA ETHERIDGE. Yes she is. That great a rock vocalist, that is. When she
burst on in the late 80’s/early 90’s you only had to hear her once to know she’d be
around for a while. There is only one thing we never understood. Who would want
David Crosby to father their baby and why?
Our Favorite: “I’m the Only One”
3. PAT BENATAR. This woman can sing. We cannot think of a more powerful rock
vocalists in her heyday, the 1980’s. The ONLY problem we ever had were sometimes
with her song’s lyrics. Most were written by men (read: boyfriends in the band) and
often didn’t ring true. Example: What guy could ever use “Sex as a Weapon”? We are
good, but not that good.
Our Favorite: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.
2. JANIS JOPLIN. Janis Joplin was The Queen of Rock, the same way Aretha is The
Queen of Soul. Her tortured life made her the ultimate blues singer. And as far as
belting out a rock song goes nobody has ever done it better. As good, but never
better. She made her start with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her laugh was
infectious. It was such a waste that she spun out of control and died so young.
Our Favorite: "Down on Me" studio version.
1. BONNIE RAITT. This was an easy choice for me. While I would agree that Janis was
the Queen of Rock, I can’t ignore Bonnie’s longevity and incredible range of styles
both vocally and musically. Besides, she is the only lady on this list that once kissed
Bud Weiser. I did promise not to kiss and tell, but shit, that was a LONG time ago.
Many think Bonnie started in the late eighties because that is when she becaume a
superstar. She started record in 1972 and I own every one of her albums.
Our favorite: "I Can't Make You Love Me."