Best 10 Female Punk Songs 1970’s-1980’s

10. Joan Jett- “Bad Reputation”- Joan doesn’t give a damn about her reputation and neither should you. Born and bred a rock n’ roller this song defines her punk rock attitude toward life. After her commercial success she grew from a mere punk into the “Queen of Rock.”

9. Blondie- “One Way Or Another”- Although better known as new wave than punk, Blondie’s regular appearances at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s threw them into the emerging scene during the 70‘s. “One Way or Another” was included on Blondie’s best selling album “Parallel Lines” and has been used as a creepy break up anthem ever since.

8. The Runaways- “Cherry Bomb”- What says punk more than four angry teenagers prancing around in lingerie and metallic body suits? The birthplace for Joan Jett, these babies cut their teeth on alcohol and drugs all while spitting out badass songs under the supervision of babysitter Kim Fowley. “Cherry Bomb” is the most explosive number from the Runaways.

7. Plasmatics- “Living Dead”- Fronted by the outrageous and often exposed Wendy O. Williams, the Plasmatics punk numbers opened doors for many punk acts today. The “Living Dead” was a classic song that when played live was often performed alongside TV smashing or other forms of destruction.

6. Suzi Quatro- “The Wild One”- Thanks to Suzi Quatro, the world has Joan Jett and many other female rockers. An abrasive singer and bass player, Quatro expresses a dream that many other musicians can share in her song “The Wild One.” A tough woman, Suzi expresses a punk air with her band of leather-clad men.

5. X- “Your Phone’s Off the Hook”- What’s the best way to avoid a girl? Unplug it (or in this day and age) turn off your phone. But Exene’s here to remind us you that you’re not off the hook. Exene’s wail combined with John Doe’s guitar displays where the true west coast punk scene emerged.

4. The Slits- “Typical Girls”- The Slits make a mockery of society’s definition of a typical girl and test the bounds of womanhood by questioning “Who invented the typical girl?” But they don’t just stop there, “Who’s bringing out the new improved model?” Hey society, watch out. The Slits are here to tell you that girls shouldn’t be to be contained or stereotyped.

3. Siouxsie and the Banshees- “Metal Postcard”- Growing up a follower of the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie learned how to shock the world. After taking heat for wearing an armband with a swastika on it, Siouxsie wrote the song “Metal Postcard” in memory of the anti-Nazi artist, John Heartfield.” While a well-known punk, Siouxsie helped pave the way for the original Goth movement.

2. X-ray Spex- “Oh Bondage, Up Yours”- After years and years of women fighting for equality what better anthem is there than “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” With the opening lyrics of “Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard but I think, oh bondage, up yours!” Poly Styrene quite literally sticks it to the man.

1. Patti Smith- “Gloria”- Often referred to as the “Godmother of Punk,” Patti Smith’s rendition of “Gloria” combines what she excels in: rock n’ roll and poetry. The six-minute song opens with the badass line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” Since you can’t tell the song is a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” until three minutes in you can say that Patti Smith put her everlasting stamp on it.

2 comments

  1. Great song reviews! I was in college and lived through most of this music and would have to agree with your ranking. Some of these band I saw at the Cincinnati local music hotspot, Bogarts.
    I will never forget seeing Wendy O’Williams with the Plasmatics. Bogarts shut the light off and asked everyone to leave while they were still playing (I believe the Police department had something to do with the power failure while Wendy was disrobing). Thanks for the good memories!

  2. hogwartstomatoes /

    Awesome list but I now have cherry bomb stuck in my head. Wow seeing the Plasmatics at Bogarts would almost complete my life, envious.

    Honorable mention

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