Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: The Go-Go's and Frida Khalo

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

The Go-Go's rose to fame in 1981 as an all-girl rock band that wrote their own music and played their own instruments (playing someone else's instrument is kind of rude). They started out as a punk band and kicked off their recording career in the UK after opening for Madness in the states and the UK. "Our Lips Are Sealed" was a minor UK hit on Stiff records. Beauty and the Beat, their debut album, included a re-recorded version of the song which became their first hit single in the US. B and the B made its way to #1 and went double platinum; their follow-up, Vacation went gold. Stupidly, their brilliant Talk Show didn't even go gold which is weird because they actually sound great on the album. 

Since then the band's broken up and reunited a few times: drugs and internecine squabbles about songwriter royalties. There's another farewell reunion tour happening now or recently concluded (so there should be another in about 3 years). Apparently women can't get along at work. 

Kahlo was primarily known as Mrs. Diego Rivera until the late 70s (once disco died, art historians were free to discover her as an artist and not just the maker of an insanely good flan). Since then, her works of magical realism via Mexican folk art have been celebrated by Mexicans, feminists, the labor movement, and the GQ-BLT community (these groups all overlap with each other, by the way).

That being said, it really was a great flan she made.

* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

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