Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Sonic Youth and Ethel Merman

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).

Sonic Youth are one of the bridges directly from punk rock to grunge. Kim Gordon is one of the arches in that bridge. And years after Blondie, Chaka Khan, Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith had each done their part to bridge rock and rock, Sonic Youth was the first rock act to collaborate with a rap artist.

Ethel Merman is the first lady of the musical comedy stage, she is a Grammy and Tony winning performer who originated the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, and Sally Adams in Call Me Madam. When covering her brief (1 month) marriage to actor Ernest Borgnine in her autobiography, she dedicated one blank page to it.

Her disco album is the campiest thing in the entire universe.

* 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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