Sunday, March 5, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Marianne Faithfull and Corazon Aquino

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).

Hopefully you're paying attention to the footnote about gravitas that I've been including in these posts. Marianne Faithfull is rock & roll (she's #25 on VH1's"100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll" list), but she's less rock & roll music, more rock & roll lifestyle. She had a string of success in the 60s; left her husband of less than a year to live with Mick Jagger; co-wrote "Sister Morphine"; learned to enjoy drugs; probably inspired the songs "Sympathy for the Devil", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Wild Horses"; possibly inspired the song "And Your Bird Can Sing"; then became a heroin addict, homeless and anorexic. 

By 1975 she'd gotten clean and resumed recording. She averages 3 or 4 albums each decade, although none of them big hits. Her biggest visibility is either her singing on Metallica's "The Memory Remains" or appearing as God on Absolutely Fabulous (two things that have almost no audience overlap whatsoever). 

She is the first person to say "fuck" in a movie produced by a major studio (oh yeah, she's also an actress), she was the first choice of the producers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the role of Magenta, and she is Baroness Von Sacher-Masoch but eschews the title (she's Austrian royalty but says "fuck it": total rock & roll).

In 2002 she collaborated with a few contemporary musicians (Beck, Billy Corgan, Jon Brion). She wrote "Song for Nico" with Dave Stewart during that period. She identified with Nico but contrasts their careers as Nico suffering injustice while Faithfull was blessed with luck.

Speaking of rock & roll, Corazon Aquino was a "plain housewife" (her words) who, after her husband (an outspoken critic of Fedinand Marcos, who held power in the Philippines for more than 20 years) was assassinated. She ran for President against Macros in 1985. Marcos was declared the winner but allegations of voter fraud led led to civil unrest which led to the People Power Revolution (surprisingly this was NOT a Prince tribute band) which led to Marcos losing power and fleeing to the USA and to Corazon becoming President of the Philippines in 1986. She was the first female President in Asia and Time's Woman of the Year for 1986. Here's the first part of her historic speech before a joint session of the US Congress.

Bonus: my beloved Jan Hooks played Aquino on the SNL sketch "The Pat Stevens Show" with Nora Dunn.

* 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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