Getting To Know The First Generation Of Female Rock Bands
via Vinz Giaimis/YouTube
This Is Where It All Began
Like almost everything back in the ’60s, the rock ‘n roll industry was dominated by men. All-female rock groups were basically unheard of. And so it goes without saying that the women who pioneered this movement have struggled to be recognized. But everything paid off nicely since they paved the way for other future female rockstars like Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, and Joan Jett.
They deserve recognition because while all-female musical acts have been around since the 1920s, not a lot ventured into the rock ‘n roll world.
The Pleasure Seekers
If there’s anything you need to know about this band, it’s the fact that it’s where Suzi Quatro got her start. Suzi formed the group along with her sister Patti. Their first record was released on 1965 and although their singles didn’t achieve massive commercial success, “Never Thought You’d Leave Me” b/w “What a Way to Die” nevertheless had some exposure.
This Swedish all-female pop rock group released three singles during their three-year career. They formed in 1964 and disbanded in 1967. They opened for several Swedish acts and even for other rock groups like The Who.
Ace of Cups
This rock band formed in San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967. Although they never made their own recording, they still managed to work with other rock legends including opening for Jimi Hendrix during a free concert in Golden Gate Park. He said about the band:
“I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace of Cups, who write their own songs and the lead guitarist is hell, really great.”
They also opened for The Band and contributed their vocals to a Jefferson Airplane album. According to guitarist and co-founder Denise Kaufman,
“San Francisco in 1967 was breaking down stereotypes in so many ways that it was the perfect place for us to emerge. There were the occasional macho guys in bands who rolled their eyes but much more often we were mentored and encouraged.”
They formed in Detroit in 1964 and recorded “A New Love Today.” They toured extensively including four months around Asia. Five years after their formation, they broke up.
Also known as She and originally called Id, this garage rock band had recorded several raw tracks since their formation in 1964 which wouldn’t be released until 1999. But it wasn’t until 1970 when they eventually released the single “Boy Little Boy” b/w “Outta Reach.” Founder Nancy Ross got the idea of forming her own group after watching the Beach Boys in concert. According to sister Ross-Moore,
“After one particular concert (a Beach Boys show in 1964, on a school night no less) Nancy had an experience that would change the girls’ lives forever. ‘I woke up—I’d only been asleep about 15 minutes—and I’d had this clear dream, vision, whatever you want to call it, of a group of girls onstage. In my mind it was just like the Beach Boys, but girls.'”
They performed around the Sacramento and San Francisco area. It wasn’t until 1999 when they finally released an anthology titled “She Wants a Piece of You” which contained all their recorded material.
Before finally settling with the name The Girls, they were also known as The Sandoval Sisters and The Moonmaids. They recorded “A Cinder In My Eye / The Boy Next Door” as The Four Queens. They also performed for the troops stationed in Vietnam.
The Continental Co-ets
Founded in 1963, they aren’t just known for being one of the first all-female rock bands but also that they play their own instruments. They toured around Midwest and throughout Canada. They recorded “I Don’t Love You No More” and “Medley of Junk” but only a thousand copies were released.
Goldie & The Gingerbreads
They became the first all-female rock band to sign to a major record label – Decca Records. They were more than just another girl group because they were the first to successfully break into mainstream. When they performed at The Mods and Rockers Ball, they impressed The Rolling Stones and Atlantic Records chairman Ahmet Ertegün. They toured in England along with other iconic rockers like The Animals, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.
They only had one single “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” which failed to crack the top 20.
Based in Liverpool, the group achieved success in Germany. Although they were dubbed as “the female Beatles”, John Lennon said that they couldn’t play guitars. They released two albums and numerous singles.