Some of the greatest artists in musical history have recorded the ten best female rock songs of all time. Many hit the top of the U.S. charts while others remained popular worldwide. Other female rock songs live on as legendary as any song by their male counterparts.
- “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett – Joan Jett left the The Runaways and started her own band in 1979. In 1982, her cover of The Arrows, “I Love Rock and Roll,” went on to become one of the best female rock songs. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
- “Me and Bobby McGee” – Janis Joplin – Roger Miller originally recorded “Me and Bobby McGee,” but when Janis Joplin covered it in 1971, it became her signature song. As one of the best female rock songs, Joplin recorded the song days before her death and it reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts posthumously.
- “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar – Released in 1979, “Heartbreaker” reached No. 23 on the U.S. Billboard charts. The song is from Benatar’s debut album “In the Heat of the Night.” It was the third release and was the first hit female rock song that made Benatar a star.
- “What’s Love Got to Do with It” by Tina Turner – “What’s Love Got to Do with It” was the second single from Tina Turner’s solo debut album in 1984. This female rock song was Turner’s first No. 1 hit on the U.S. charts and her first Top 20 song in thirteen years.
- “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics – Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics broke out with their 1983 album “Sweet Dreams.” The title track reached No. 2 on the U.K. music charts as one of the best female rock songs and later reached the top of the U.S. charts as well.
- “Just a Girl” by No Doubt – Gwen Stefani and No Doubt released their third album in 1995 and their first single from the album finally gave them mainstream success. “Just a Girl,” one of the best female rock songs, reached No. 3 on the U.K. charts and helped make Stefani a star.
- “Zombie” by The Cranberries – “Zombie” is a song by the Cranberries, an Irish band, and the lyrics parallel the problems in Northern Ireland at the time. This band dedicated this female rock song to two boys killed in an IRA bombing in 1993.
- “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes – 4 Non Blondes released their second single, “What’s Up,” and it became the biggest hit of their short careers and one of the best female rock songs. It reached No. 14 on the U.S. charts and VH1 named it on their Top 100 “One-Hit Wonders” countdown.
- “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las – “Leader of the Pack” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1964. The U.K. banned this song for a short time due its death themes but, when later allowed airplay, it hit No. 3 on the U.K. charts. This song tells the story of a girl who falls for a kid from the wrong side of the tracks.
- “Respect” by Aretha Franklin – Otis Redding released “Respect” in 1965, but when Aretha Franklin released it in 1967, it became one of the best female rock songs of all time. The song hit No. 1 on the charts and helped Franklin become an international star.
What Others Are Reading Right Now.
Acting, comedy and strong spirits converge in Speakeasy. When host Paul F. Tompkins interviews entertainers—Key and Peele, Alison Brie, Rob Delaney, Zach Galifianakis—about all sor …
Made Man Food Shows
We all love great food—and the people who make it! Our culinary video series introduces you to the country's best chefs and experts, so you can become one yourself. Pull up a chair …
How to Turn (Almost) Every Lady’s Head
Top female stylists share their favorite men’s looks.