Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 3/30/17: Celebrating Women’s History Month with Women in Rock
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s.
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
PAT BENATAR – “Heartbreaker” (1979)
Pat Benatar entered the scene in 1979 with her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night. In a somewhat unusual move, the album consisted of five original songs and five covers. Beyond diehard fans, most people probably aren’t familiar with the majority of the album, but there is one song that is known to the masses – “Heartbreaker.” This is the song that turned me into an instant fan, and have remained so ever since.
“Heartbreaker” starts off with an instantly recognizable drumbeat before the guitar and bass kick in with a driving rhythm. And then it happens – a voice that is equal parts beauty and power brings the song to life. The magic of Pat Benatar. In a time when there were far less women in rock, Benatar was a beacon of light in a male-dominated genre.
Because artists released albums so frequently back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there are probably a fair amount of people that associate “Heartbreaker” with her tremendously successful follow-up, Crimes Of Passion (which was loaded with hits). While it didn’t appear on Crimes Of Passion, it certaintly set the tone for what was to come on that album (and the rest of her career for that matter).
Much of the music of my youth is part of an overall soundtrack, but it isn’t always easy to pinpoint which stage of life it came from. That’s not the case with “Heartbreaker.” I remember it being my favorite song of 1980 (when it was all over the radio). Nearly four decades later, this song still remains an all-time favorite for reasons that go way beyond nostalgia.
HEART – “Stairway To Heaven” (Live – Kennedy Center Honors) (2012)
From “Heartbreaker” to Heart, another act that I gravitated to early on in my love of rock music. Ann and Nancy Wilson have led the movement of women in rock for decades with their classic originals. It would have been easy to pick from their vast catalog to feature a song in this forum, but doing so would have meant not acknowledging one of the greatest moments in recent rock history.
During the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors, the Wilson sisters (backed by a powerful band [f. Jason Bonham], a string section and a choir) tore down the house with an incredibly moving rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” Taking on one of the most revered songs in the history of rock is daunting enough, but doing so with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones sitting next to each other in the audience would make many buckle under the pressure. Not the Wilson sisters. This awe-inspiring performance was so moving that it brought Plant to tears. Watch the video as you listen to this one!
JANIS JOPLIN – “Me And Bobby McGee” (1969)
You can’t talk about women in rock without paying respect to Janis Joplin. There was a raw energy to her blues rock voice that is unlike anyone before her or since. Like Jimi Hendrix (another legendary Woodstock veteran), Joplin died of an overdose at the age of 27. In fact, the duo lived parallel lives, dying within three weeks of each other. Both left an indelible mark on the world before their untimely passings.
“Me And Bobby McGee” is a Joplin classic that shows her incredible range. She was equally adept at luring you in with softer, more folksy moments, as she was at getting your heart racing with raw power delivered with emotion and her signature raspy sound. There is something so real about Joplin that you can’t help but feel a connection to her and her music. On “Me And Bobby McGee,” she showcases everything that she had to offer. Sadly, Joplin died before her legendary album Pearl even hit the streets or this song reached #1.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
ARCH ENEMY – “War Eternal” (2014)
Fronting a metal band is no easy feat. Fronting a melodic death metal band is probably even more difficult. Alissa White-Gluz works her magic fronting Arch Enemy after taking over the reins from Angela Gossow (who went on to manage the band instead of singing). The former singer of The Agonist screams and growls with the best of them as she windmills her blue hair in unison with the rest of the band. On War Eternal, White-Gluz cemented herself as one of the most important females contributing to the metal genre.
LACUNA COIL – “Heaven’s A Lie” (2002)
One of the most haunting and mesmerizing voices in metal belongs to Italy’s Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. This band has evolved over the years from goth metal band to one that has incorporated more poppy hooks and brighter production values to their music. Their recent album traveled back to their roots and showcased their heavier style like on the album Comalies. Scabbia is probably one of the most hardworking females in the metal industry. She has collaborated with Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) on the re-recording of “A Tout Le Monde,” with Apocalyptica, Alter Bridge and many other bands as guest vocalist. “Heaven’s A Lie” was my introduction to Scabbia and Lacuna Coil back in 2002. I’ve been a fan ever since.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
TARJA – “Falling Awake” (2010)
Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen-Cabuli is a soprano with a vocal range of three octaves. This immensely talented, Finnish singer/songwriter has devoted a large part of her career to metal. Best known for her tenure with Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, she has since gone on to a successful solo career. The musical styles that she has embraced over the past ten years (since her departure from Nightwish) have been quite varied. This selection, however, featuring a guest appearance by guitar legend Joe Satriani, is a welcome return to the heavier side of music.
Dorothee Pesch (Doro) began her singing career in garage bands in her native Germany, eventually achieving fame with the band Warlock. She has since gone on to a stunning solo career. In the ‘90s, during the grunge era, that career took a hit (at least in America). For most of that decade, she released albums and toured almost exclusively in Europe. However, since 2000, with metal’s return to popularity in America, her career here has rebounded stronger than ever. Many contemporary female metal artists cite her as a major influence and inspiration. Here she pays tribute to Dio covering one of his songs in a powerful live performance.