Though these days, it’s almost difficult to imagine a world B.B. (Before Beyonce…), in honor of a news day so indebted to women who rock, yours truly has trawled the internet for lasting evidence of the power in a live performance. As MTV becomes a fond footnote in music history, as drum machines and auto-tune close in on the once-holy territory of the epic ballad, as Lady Gaga dons meat and Miley rides demolition equipment (I am clearly behind the times…) – take a moment to remember a few greats from the vast pantheon of amazing lady rock n’ rollers. You should know all of these pre-Y2K divas, and though the times they are a changin…you should NEVER, EVER forget them.
A wise man once said, “One great rock show can change the world.” Well, I raise you – nine great videos can make your remaining hours in the cubicle slide by the faster. So rock out, remember, and enjoy:
1. We start in the nineties, like all great things. Here Gwen Stefani rips into “Don’t Speak,” No Doubt’s killer break-up anthem. This one’s doubly thrilling because Stefani’s since confessed that this song was written about Tony Kanal, the band’s bassist. And in this passionate clip, as usual, he’s RIGHT BEHIND HER.
2. In perfect close-up, it’s Kim Deal! Ripping into a personal favorite Pixies’ song and reminding everyone that this band is bitter dregs without her:
3. Perhaps you already constitute a hunk of the thirteen million plus hits this video has already received on YouTube, but hey – none of that time was wasted. Ladies and gentlemen, Nina Simone sings a beloved anthem of the 1960s counterculture:
4. In a song so energetic it leaves a viewer breathless, Miss Tina Turner…
5. We’ve already given this gem its due, but it’s too beautiful to leave off the list. This video is a rare (and technically un-recorded) performance of Stevie Nicks singing “Wild Heart” during a photo shoot. Pure excellence.
6. Janis Joplin aches into “Maybe.” As usual with this jam, maybe listen to it alone. With a big, big box of tissues.
7. Patti Smith in a primitive mash-up – of “Horses” and “Hey Joe.” Note her lingering eye contact with the camera, it’s haunting.
8. The oft-overlooked songstress Liz Phair, nailing Exile in Guyville’s “Never Said.” The ostensible dark horse of this list:
9. And to round out the wisdom, 1967. Aretha Franklin. Sequins. Need I say more?
By all means, add your own favorites below! Happy lip syncing-along-with-your-computers!
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.