Women Rock! Day is celebrated on January 3 every year. It is a day to specially honor the many brilliant women who contributed to the rock genre and caused giant waves in the world of music. These women paved the way for future generations by breaking into male-dominated spaces. On this day, we pay tribute to the many female musicians who were pioneers in their own right.
History of Women Rock! Day
From famous solo artists like Grace Slick and Janis Joplin to female rock bands like The Runaways, who helped set the stage for female artists to perform freely, many women have created a niche and assumed their rightful position within the mainstream rock scene. The queen of rock ‘n’ roll, Tina Turner, whose career began in the mid-’50s, performed for more than half a century before retiring in 2009. She has sold more than 200 million records worldwide — one of the best-selling recording artists of all time.
In the 1960s, Janis Joplin became one of the first female artists to overturn the ‘girl singer’ stereotype in folk and pop music. She fused rock and blues into her music and influenced many artists. Joplin’s career shot to success in 1967 when she performed with Big Brother and The Holding Company at the Monterey Pop Festival. Unfortunately, she passed away soon after. Pat Benatar was one of the first women to contribute to the genre of hard rock. In 1979, she released her first album titled “In the Heat of the Night,” which shot her to instant fame. Her subsequent albums solidified her position as one of the most famous rock acts, and she became one of the first and most frequently played artists on MTV in 1981. Around the same time, Chrissie Hynde, after many unsuccessful attempts to get her name out there, was chosen by a record label owner based on her demo tape. The label put her in a band with a few others, and they became known as ‘The Pretenders.’ Their self-titled debut album was released in 1979, and the band became one of the forerunners of the ‘80s New Wave movement. It isn’t possible to talk about rock music without mentioning Joan Jett. After breaking out of one of the first female rock bands in the ‘70s, The Runaways, Jett went on to have an even more successful career with her own band, The Blackhearts. They released their first album in 1981, titled “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and it became a super hit.
On January 3, 1987, Aretha Franklin, famously called the queen of soul, became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Women Rock! Day has been celebrated on every anniversary of this event since then.
Women Rock! Day timeline
She becomes one of the first female artists to perform freely on stage, fusing rock and blues in her music.
Benatar’s first album “In the Heat of the Night” is released and becomes an instant hit.
Hynde’s band, The Pretenders, becomes one of the forerunners of the New Wave movement.
Joan Jett, and her band, The Blackhearts, release “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” their first album, which is still loved by many.
Turner launched “one of the greatest comebacks in music history” with her multi-platinum album, “Private Dancer,” which she released after an eight-year mainstream music hiatus.
Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, becomes the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Women Rock! Day FAQs
Who was the first woman to be a rockstar?
Many claim that Janis Joplin was the first American female rockstar. She shot to stardom with her album “Summer of Love,” which was released in 1967.
Who is known as the Godmother of Punk?
Patti Smith has been given the title ‘Godmother of Punk.’ Her debut album “Horses,” released in 1975, charts among the ‘greatest albums’ lists of magazines such as “Rolling Stone,” “Time,” and “NME.”
What makes you a rockstar?
To become a rockstar, you need to be able to make music. You also need to practice, have the ability to engage listeners, and perform in front of big crowds of people.
Women Rock! Day Activities
Support female artists
There is no better way to support your favorite female artists and show them that their music is worth the money than buying and listening to them. Purchase a physical copy — a CD or a classic vinyl — or stream their music on the many legal digital platforms available today.
Make a playlist
If you’re someone who loves making themed playlists, this is your shot. Create a women’s rock playlist, and maybe, find some new music along the way.
Read about the classics
More of a bookworm than a music lover? That’s fine too because the internet has plenty of music articles about women in rock. Read about the all-time bests and be inspired by their stories.
5 Facts About Female Rock Stars
A different kind of headbanging
Janis Joplin is said to have once smashed a bottle on Jim Morrison's head, knocking him out cold.
The godmother of rock and roll
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was awarded the title for her milestone achievements in the genre.
Aretha was a self-taught genius
Aretha Franklin taught herself to play the piano.
Elvis Presley’s hit song wasn’t his
Presley’s hit song ‘Hound Dog’ was originally released by Big Mama Thornton in 1953.
Janis Ian was “SNL”’s first musical guest
She appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in 1975 and performed with strep throat and a fever.
Why We Love Women Rock! Day
To pay tribute to rock legends
Paying tribute to the historic achievements of these artists is necessary. Their efforts need to be celebrated and recognized.
Because they paved the way
At a time when men dominated the genre, these women broke in and created their space. Their contributions to rock music help female artists to this day.
Music breaks barriers
Music transcends gender. It allows us to experiment with our creativity and realize our maximum potential, and this holiday reinforces that.
Women Rock! Day dates