Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Carole King and Eleanor Roosevelt

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).

Carole King has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, in the non-performer category. This is about Carole King the performer who is every bit as rock & roll as Paul Simon (both as a solo artist and as a member of the very rock & roll Simon & Garfunkel).  After a 1984 tour, the Christian Science Monitor dubbed Carole King "a Queen of Rock" and it's really important to note that they said "a" and not "the", so she could be one of like 1200 Queens of Rock. And also, it's the Christian Science Monitor from 1984.

As a performer, King's released 15 Billboard 100 singles and 18 Billboard 200 albums, and won 4 Grammys: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Pop Female Vocalist. Her Tapestry album is one of the reasons the record industry created Diamond sales certification (sales of 10 million or more copies).

Also James Taylor was inducted 17 years ago and no one seems to mind that too much. She's no less rock & roll than Taylor.

Nobody disliked Eleanor Roosevelt. That doesn't mean everyone loved her, but she either had no detractors, or she had detractors who were no worth remembering. She ranks #9 on Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, behind Helen Keller but ahead of Winston Churchill.

She is the longest serving First Lady in US history, and used the position as a soap box to advocate for civil rights. She worked to expand opportunities for women in the workplace, especially during WW2, and to ensure Blacks and Asians weren't treated as second class citizens. 

Her influence helped get the US in the United Nations and she represented the US in that organization. She was on the Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps, and was the chair of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. She will be depicted on the redesigned $5 bill (as part of a group of suffragettes), due 2020, if the country is still around then.

* 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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