Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Lucinda Williams and Halet Çambel

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).

In 1994, shortly after the Grammy awards, I sent 2 fan letters to musicians I'd loved for years and who won awards that year. Nanci Griffith won Best Contemporary Folk Album and Lucinda Williams won Best Country Song for "Passionate Kisses", a song Lucinda 
recorded for her self-titled 1988 album and covered in '93 by Mary Chapin Carpenter.  

When she released Sweet Old World in 1992, the record label released a promo CD with some of her older tracks and Williams wrote a little something about each song to give it perspective. For "Passionate Kisses" she just wrote "sometimes you have to believe that you deserve to have it all." This comic strip was on my refrigerator door for most of the time I lived in Dallas.

I could go on about her Grammy nominations (15 in total, 3 wins) or how Time named her America's best songwriter in 2002. But I'll leave it with Lynda Barry's closing: "Right on and thank you to Lucinda! for your message of you are a girl!!! so rock out!!!"

Halet Çambel, a Turkish archaeologist and professor, was pivotal in translating Hittite hieroglyphics, and worked to preserve Turkey's cultural heritage. In 2004 she received the Prince Claus Award for her rescue excavations of endangered heritage sites"... also there's a Prince Claus Award.

But before that, before the education at the Sorbonne, Halet was an athlete. She was the first Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics. Those happened to be the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. She was invited to meet Adolph Hitler during the games. 

She refused on political grounds.

* 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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