Women Who Rock Videos

Women Who Rock Videos

Explore the impact women artists had on the different eras of rock and roll through videos that showcase their talent.

View videos of interviews, inductions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, live footage, and performances.


Suffragettes to Juke-Joint Mamas: The Foremothers of Rock

In the 1920s, blues women were the first—and for a while, the only—artists to record the blues. Mother Maybelle Carter made the first country music recordings in 1927. Watch performances of trailblazers Mahalia Jackson, Bessie Smith, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe; rare live footage of Billie Holiday; and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum interview with Sister Rosetta Tharpe biographer Gayle Wald.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum examines the legacy of Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Get Outta That Kitchen, Rattle Those Pots and Pans: Rock Emerges

View performances of ’50s rock-and-roll pioneers Ruth Brown and Wanda Jackson—the voices of two predominant roots of rock, R&B and country/rockabilly—along with LaVern Baker and Brenda Lee. Also, learn how Ruth Brown signed with Atlantic Records in an exclusive Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum interview.

Brenda Lee performs at the 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

Will You Love Me Tomorrow: The Early 1960s

Girl groups were coming into their own in the early 1960s and were increasingly recognized for their growing economic power. Reflecting teenage girls’ explorations, girl groups gave voice to the possibilities that waited down the street or just around the corner. Check out a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum interview with Martha Reeves and performances by The Ronettes, The Shirelles, The Supremes, The Shangri-Las, and Lesley Gore.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Series interview with Martha Reeves

Revolution, the Counter Culture, and the Pill: The Late 1960s

American society experienced a revolution in the late 1960s and early ’70s, especially for African Americans and women. Watch performances by Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin; check out Jefferson Airplane on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” Janis Joplin on “The Dick Cavett Show,” and Odetta on “The Johnny Cash Show.”

Carole King performs at the 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

I Will Survive: The 1970s—Rockers to Disco Divas

Women were in the center of the ’70s mainstream. The gains of the feminist movement throughout the ’70s enabled women working in all areas of the music industry to assume more control over their careers. View performances by Fleetwood Mac and Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett’s iconic music video, Melissa Etheridge’s speech about Bonnie Raitt at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and an all access look into Stevie Nicks’ life.

Fleetwood Mac performs at the 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

Dance This Mess Around: Punk and Post Punk

The DIY aspect of punk rock made it easier for a woman to find a place in music. Chrissie Hynde said, “That was the beauty of the punk thing: [Sexual] discrimination didn’t exist in that scene.” Watch Patti Smith’s performance and acceptance speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Breeders’ music video, and the performances of the Pretenders and Blondie.

Patti Smith performs at the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

Causing a Commotion: Madonna and the Pop Explosion

Madonna unapologetically celebrated and monetized her sexuality and physicality, paving the way for female performers to explore previously taboo roles and take control of their image and career. View Madonna’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and live performance, Cyndi Lauper live in Paris, Janet Jackson on the “Peters Pop Show,” No Doubt on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Sheila E.’s live performance, Britney Spears on tour in London.

Madonna gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008

Ladies First: The ’90s and the New Millennium

The 1990s was a time of reshaping traditional ideas of feminism and traditionally male-dominated areas of the music industry from the riot grrrl—an underground feminist punk rock movement—to rappers, to the Lilith Fair. Women have arguably become the leading voices of the industry. Check out Liz Phair in a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum interview and a performance on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Alicia Keys live, Lady Gaga at the MTV Video Music Awards, Queen Latifah in concert, and The White Stripes live on VH1.

Rock and Roll of Fame and Museum interviews Liz Phair

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Interview and induction footage courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.