The 10 best female rock legends stand the test of time, with hit songs and legendary performances. Many of the women started in bands while a few made their name on their own. Whether the women broke away from a singing partner or left a successful band, all these women produced amazing singles careers as the best women to perform rock and roll.
- Janis Joplin – Janis Joplin rose to success in the 60s, becoming one of the best female rock legends in the history of rock and roll. Much like fellow rock and roll legend Jimmy Hendrix, Joplin reached the pinnacle of her success and died in the midst of her popularity. Her signature hit, “Me and Bobby McGee,” was released a year after her death.
- Patti Smith – Patti Smith helped create the punk movement of the 70s, and remains one of the most popular female singers in the genre’s history. Her biggest hit was in 1978 with “Because the Night” and Smith retired one year later. She has performed on and off over the years since her initial retirement.
- Tina Turner – Tina Turner began her music career, and one of the most abusive relationships in music history, when she met Ike Turner. The duo’s signature hit was the cover song “Proud Mary” but Turner became one of the best female rock legends in music history after they split. Her solo album “Private Dancer” sold over 20 million copies and won four Grammys.
- Stevie Nicks – Stevie Nicks started her music career in the band Buckingham-Nicks. When Fleetwood Mac invited her partner, Lindsey Buckingham, to join the group he only agreed when they took Nicks as well. Nicks became one of the lead singers for the band and became one of the best female rock legends when her debut solo album reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
- Melissa Etheridge – Melissa Etheridge caught her break as a songwriter for A&M Records in 1984. Her first album in 1988 earned Etheridge a Grammy nomination. In 1994, with her fourth album, Etheridge finally became one of the best female rock legends when “Never Enough” rose to the top of the charts.
- Pat Benatar – Pat Benatar was discovered in 1977. She instantly became one of the best female rock legends when her debut album brought the hit single “Heartbreaker.” She began a long relationship with guitarist Neil Giraldo and the two released hits like “We Belong,” “Invincible” and “Love is a Battlefield.”
- Joan Jett – Joan Jett started her career as a member of the girl band The Runaways and achieved early success with hits like “Cherry Bomb.” However, when she left that band she became a serious female rock legend. She became world famous with songs like “I Love Rock and Roll” and “Crimson and Clover.”
- Debbie Harry – Debbie Harry became famous when she sang lead in the pop group Blondie. The band broke out thanks to their unique sound, missing ska, reggae and funk music. This female rock legends first major hit was “Heart of Glass” in 1978. She also had hits with songs like “Call Me,” “Rapture” and “The Tide is High.”
- Annie Lennox – Annie Lennox started her musical training at London’s Royal Academy of Music. She soon left and eventually started the rock band The Eurythmics. During the ten years the band remained together, they released hits like “Sweet Dreams,” “Here Comes the Rain Again” and “Would I Lie to You.” Lennox began a solo career as one of the best female rock legends with songs like “Walking on Broken Glass.”
- Lita Ford – Just like Joan Jett, Lita Ford got her start in the girl band The Runaways. Lita also went on to enjoy a solid solo career in the hair metal genre. Along with her hit single “Kiss Me Deadly” she also performed the “Close My Eyes Forever” with Ozzy Osbourne.
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