3 Female-Fronted Rock Projects from the 1980s Whose Music Has Stood the Test of Time

The 1980s were a transition moment for popular music. While the 1960s and 1970s ushered in what became the quintessential classic rock era thanks to bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Who, the ’80s saw new technologies and aesthetics creep into the sounds of the day. And while the decade is known for artists like Michael Jackson and Prince, there were plenty of heavy-hitting female artists making waves, too.

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Here below, we wanted to explore a trio of such talents. Three female artists who fronted rock projects that remain essential listening even today. Indeed, these are three female-fronted rock bands from the 1980s whose music has stood the test of time.

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Sheila E.

The Oakland, California-born songwriter and percussionist Sheila E. rose to popularity in the 1980s thanks to her partnership with the rocker Prince. For Sheila, whose godfather is musician Tito Puente, music was in her blood and all around her growing up. Then after meeting prince in the late 1970s, the two began working together on his music and hers. Sheila released her debut LP The Glamorous Life in 1984, with the title track hitting No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Known for often performing percussion front and center on stage while standing up, Sheila is one of the hardest workers in music. Her song “A Love Bizarre,” released in 1985 on her LP Romance 1600, was another smash single, hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100. Beautiful and talented—she was born an everlasting star.

Cyndi Lauper

When Cyndi Lauper released her debut LP She’s So Unusual in 1983, she was an instant household name. That record included hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” which are two tracks that continue to influence music listeners today. Bridging pop with rock into an intoxicating blend that offers a sense of nostalgia, Lauper was both unafraid to be herself and capable of great things. Since then, she has become a role model for so many, proving you can be your unique self and incredibly successful. Truly her music, which also includes the 1986 hit “True Colors,” will last forever and ever.

Kim Gordon

The bassist and vocalist for the New York City-born rock band Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon is part rock star and part cult hero. Not only did she have an incredible career as an artist, but she also produced the debut LP from the Los Angeles group Hole, fronted by Courtney Love. More recently in 2015, she wrote her popular memoir Girl in a Band. If it wasn’t for Kim Gordon and Sonic Youth there would be far fewer gals in rock music and far fewer savvy music listeners. For this, the band and Gordon will live on forever.

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