Thank you for all the votes. Honorable mentions to Lita Ford, Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, and Tina Turner to name a few.
The final woman enshrined on our monument, “The Women Of Mt. Rockmore” is Pat Benatar!
Pat Benatar was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski. After getting married to her first husband, she took his last name. Pat Benatar was talented enough to be accepted to the famous Julliard School in New York City but decided to follow her husband who was in the military, to Virginia and became a bank teller. She couldn’t get performing out of her blood. She joined a local band and played the club scene in Richmond. After eventually got divorced moving back to New York, she continued to perform. One night she was noticed at the club Catch A Rising Star in Manhattan and signed to a record deal. Pat Benatar wrote in her memoir that “My dream was to be the singer in a rockin’ band, like Robert Plant was to Led Zeppelin or Lou Gramm to Foreigner,”...“I wanted a partnership, like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had, an unrelenting back-and-forth between talented musicians. The sound I heard in my head was raucous, with hard-driving guitars speeding everything forward. I was a classically trained singer with a great deal of musical knowledge, but I had no idea how to make that visceral, intense sound happen. I had to evolve, but I didn’t know how to make that evolution happen.” Then she met Neil Giraldo, a hard-rockin’ guitarist, and everything changed both personally and professionally. She released her debut album in 1979 and then they married a few years later. Since then, Pat Benatar has won 4 Grammys, had two multi-Platinum albums, five Platinum albums, 3 Gold albums, and 15 Billboard Top 40 singles. Her hit “Love is a Battlefield,” was the first music video ever to feature dialogue. In 2020, she was nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
The final woman to be enshrined on our monument “The Women Of Mt. Rockmore” is Pat Benatar!
Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart)
Sisters, Ann & Nancy Wilson, joined Heart in the mid-70s which made Heart the first hard rock band fronted by women. The band fused hard rock, heavy metal, and folk to create their unique sound. Heart has sold over 35 million records worldwide. VH1 ranked Heart at #57 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”. Ann & Nancy were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame along with other members of Heart in 2013. Their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame page describes them as “pioneers ... inspir[ing] women to pick up an electric guitar or start a band”. They have been nominated for 4 Grammys, but amazingly they have never won. The sisters ranked #40 (in 1999) on VH1′s “100 Greatest Women In Rock And Roll”. Ann was ranked #78 on Hit Parader’s list of the “Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time”. Ann & Nancy Wilson got their start in the Seattle music scene and have influenced many of the grunge artists that followed.
Ann & Nancy Wilson are the next women enshrined on our monument the “Women Of Mt. Rockmore”.
Joan Jett IS Rock & Roll! She has the style, the attitude, and most of all the talent. She first gained attention with the all-female group The Runaways. Although they never achieved great success in the U.S., they did pave the way for female (and quite a few male) rockers and pop stars that followed. The Runaways, which included Lita Ford, had a minor hit with “Cherry Bomb”. Her biggest success came with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. They fused rock, punk, and glam, but never conformed. THAT is rock & roll! Rolling Stone ranks Joan Jett #87 on their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarist Of All Time”. She has been called “The Godmother Of Punk” and “The Queen Of Rock ‘n Roll”. In 2015, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Joan Jett is the next woman to be immortalized on our monument “The Women Of Mt. Rockmore”
Janis Joplin burst onto the scene at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. She was the lead singer of a little-known band at the time, Big Brother and the Holding Company. They were a psychedelic rock band from San Francisco. After recording two albums with the band, she decided to go solo. Overall, she had 5 songs reach the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Janis is best known for her solo cover of the Kris Kristofferson song “Me and Bobby McGee” and a cover of “Piece Of My Heart” with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her performance at Woodstock is legendary as is her voice. Powerful, painful, soulful, truly an iconic voice. Although she only released 4 albums, 2 with Big Brother and the Holding Company and 2 as a solo artist (the last released after her death), her impact is undeniable and eternal. She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Rolling Stone has her ranked at #28 on their list of the “100 Greatest Singers Of All Time” and #46 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time”. She has influenced and paved the way for all the women that came after her, but is more than a great female artist. She is one of the greatest singers and artists of all time regardless of gender, period!
Time to start voting on our next artist to be enshrined on our monument
Vote for “The Women Of Mt. Rockmore”!
-- Doug O’Brien