Thursday, March 2, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Pat Benatar and Hedy Lamarr

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).

First stop, the person who absence from the R&R HoF first made me aware of the bullshit: Pat Benatar. She has 4 Grammy awards (all for Rock Female Vocalist [see, "rock"]), 6 platinum albums, 2 gold albums, and 17 Hot 100 singles. She is the female rocker of the early 80s (first runner up: Stevie Nicks; mid 80s is Tina Turner and the late 80s is Bonnie Raitt).

Hedley Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was born in Austria to a Jewish father and a Hungarian mother. The family emigrated to the US on account of the whole Nazi thing.

She was so beautiful that Louis B. Mayer signed her on sight to make movies for his studio.

She was so beautiful that people would literally die when they saw her**.

She was so beautiful that she married and divorced 6 times.

She was so beautiful that she was put in roles playing a beautiful woman and that left her bored... so bored that she designed a guidance system for torpedoes that couldn't be jammed (patented in 1942, take that Nazis).

The guidance system used frequency-hopping, spread spectrum technology (obviously), which is the basis for Bluetooth and WiFi. Hedy Lamarr helped bring cat videos (porn) into your living room wirelessly!!!

She received the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1997. On learning of the award, she said "well, it's about time."

* 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.

** That might be a bit much, but every biography of her goes to great lengths to extol about her beauty:  "everyone gasped...Lamarr's beauty literally took one's breath away" said someone who saw one of her movies.

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