Friday, April 12, 2024

Five most influential women in rock 


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Featured photo by Kailee Shores

Story by Kerstie Wolaver

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Being a woman in the music industry is no easy feat. But for decades, women of all genres have been paving the way for future artists in the industry.  

This list of five women who have been especially influential on rock spans across decades as these women each have their own role to play in the industry. All of these women were starters, firsts, and overall, artists who would set the tone for a multitude of musicians in the future.  

Janis Joplin

A pioneer in her genre and a trend setter for artists everywhere, Joplin set the pace for the 1960s as she introduced her electrifying vocals and stage presence to audiences everywhere. From her first performance with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Joplin left audiences speechless as she challenged previous notions and encouraged the counterculture movement of the late 60s, lobbying for civil rights and speaking out for racial integration.  

Joni Mitchell 

A classic lyricist and a celebrated storyteller, Mitchells gifted songwriting has impacted artists in generations past and continues to inspire artists in generations to come. The folk artist took her own inspiration from jazz and classical music, writing one of the most influential folk albums of its time, “Blue.” She brought audiences together with songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” which is still covered and recorded by artists today.  Mitchell is a household name because of her brilliant ability to tell stories through the art of songwriting and putting her stories into a form that anyone can understand, even things words can’t explain.  

Stevie Nicks 

Just like the white winged dove, her magical persona needs no introduction. Stevie Nicks career, both solo and with Fleetwood Mac has made monumental waves in the music industry. From being a part of one of the biggest bands in the world to touring solo today, Nicks’ footprints in the music industry won’t be washed away anytime soon. Her influence on songwriting and fashion is still evident today, where songs like “Dreams” and “Silver Springs” are still popular on social media outlets because of  her relatable stories that inspired the lyrics. Nicks will forever be remembered as one of a kind for her influence over the industry.  

Joan Jett 

As frontwoman for the Runaways, Jett made way for other female artists in a male dominated genre. She set the tone for the 80’s with songs made early in her career with songs like “Cherry Bomb” or as a solo artist with “I Love Rock and Roll” which she released later as Joan Jett and the blackhearts. None of these efforts were easy, and it took many rejections  and much music that didn’t do well on for Jett to see some of the biggest hits of the 80s.  

Aretha Franklin 

Dubbed the queen of soul, Franklin deserves much more than a little respect. She began her music career especially young, singing in church and finding a love for gospel music that would hold heavy influence on the soul music that would later captivate audiences. The music that she created, though very different from today’s rock music, was what paved the way for early rock music. Her introduction of Soul and gospel music into the mainstream with her signing to Atlantic Records played a role in the inspiration of future artists.  

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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