Hear Me Roar—Extraordinary Women in Music

By Chiron O'Keefe

Being a musician, it dawned on me to seize the opportunity to share bits and pieces of my musical collection. YouTube provides an excellent resource for music, both new and classic. The beauty of this free video site is not only can you enjoy some amazing concerts, you can also utilize the site as a means of deciding whether you want to invest in a download.

I can't count the number of times I've caught a tune while driving, fumbled with pen and paper to scribble down a few lyrics, and then searched for the song once I was safe at home. Today, I put together my first collection for your pleasure and amusement. Obviously, this must be a short list. *grin* A true compilation would last for hours! With luck, at least one tune will spark your interest. Here is a celebration and tribute to some extraordinary female vocalists.

I was driving to the optometrist listening to the radio when a tune caught my ear. Today, this song remains one of my favorites. "Summer came on like cinnamon so sweet…" Corinne Bailey Rae performs her hit, Put Your Records On:

Whenever I see this video, I want to jump up and dance along. The woman moves her body while moving my soul. I bow to the amazing Natalie Merchant performing Jealousy:

Did you ever wonder why Amy Winehouse became so popular, so fast? Before her descent into addiction, she displayed the kind of Blues chops many a singer yearns for. Check out a glimpse of early Amy singing Stronger Than Me and see why I'm still a fan:

Speaking of early, Lesley Gore had a sure-fire hit with her pop tune, It's My Party. It took my music-loving husband to turn me on to this next video featuring a powerful live performance of You Don't Own Me:

A friend recently turned me on to this astonishing voice. Adele sings Chasing Concrete:

A woman with a voice that carves crystalline notes out of the air, performing live,
Beth Rowley, Little Dreamer:

A blues singer, a jazz musician or just an intriguing hipster? This woman is definitely all three. Melody Gardot with a song that is an instant classic, Worrisome Heart:

Long ago, an extraordinary woman sang with an intimacy that few manage. Unfortunately, there is no live footage available. However, if you like jazzy blues, listen to Black Coffee by Julie London:

Perhaps best remembered for her role and unforgettable song in the 1967 hit movie To Sir With Love, Lulu is one hell of a singer. She appeared in the Martin Scorcese executive-produced landmark PBS series titled simply, The Blues.

Unfortunately, PBS put a halt to embedding this video. You can click the link to savor the next video. With Jeff Beck in accompaniment, Lulu burns through her take of Cry Me a River.

No list of incomparable women could be complete without the one, the only, Janis Joplin offering a blistering version of Summertime:

Cry Baby:

So ends my first musical tour. There will be more to come. Hopefully at least one video caught your attention enough to afford a listen. If time is at a premium (and when is it not?), do bookmark this page and return, perhaps after a glass of wine, and check out one or two more. Hopefully, you'll find some tunes to add to your iPod.

Now, based on this month's theme, please share some of your own favorite female vocalists. Who rocks your world? Who can't you get enough of? Young or old, past or present, do share!

--Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: www.chironokeefeblogspot.com


  1. Fabulous, fantastic females!

    Tina Turner
    Dolly Parton
    Della Reese
    Trisha Yearwood
    Linda Rondstadt
    Carly Simon
    Bonnie Raitt
    Patsy Cline
    Barbra Streisand

  2. Awesome, Chiron. You've made my day as you always do. And I do the same thing in the car - hear some great song and hope I can remember enough of it to find on youtube - lol!

    I also love how you bring so many new songs to my attention - I never really go out of my way to find new songs and you help me widen my music world, which I love so much.

    "You Don't Own Me" kills me to this day. And "To Sir With Love" was a big deal in my freshman year of high school - the book was required reading in English class and I was so nervous about reading the embarrassing pieces out loud in class - thankfully, those seemed to be the sections assigned for home work.

    Your hubby must be closer to my age, maybe, since he turned you on to Leslie Gore.

    Anyway, now I'm going to spend the rest of the day listening to these songs you've highlighted. Thanks so much!

  3. Chiron - you're taste in music is so much like mine. ;) I only wish I also had your musical talent! Love ya!

  4. Fantastic women, Virginia!! I heard that Patsy Cline recorded, "Crazy" in one take. ONE TAKE!!! *faints*

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


  5. Hi Kathy!

    I love sharing music and it's such a thrill to have music-loving friends! It's funny but it wasn't until I heard that first song by Corrine on the radio that I *knew* the music tide had turned. Since then I've caught many new tunes and am always astonished, thrilled and grateful. Yes!!

    "You Don't Own Me" gives me the chills (like many of the songs in today's post!) and I remember seeing "To Sir, With Love" in the theater and crying my eyes out.

    Hubby's a few years older than me but he discovered the musical potential in YouTube loooong before I did. *laughs* We're matched (and sometimes competitive) in our obsession with music. I discovered that I'm always better off sipping wine with people who have a similar obsession or I can drive them crazy.

    After a glass or two of wine I'm usually wanting to play, sing or dance (though have been known to jump up for comedy improv too!!). Thank-goodness for YouTube when it's too late to play, eh?

    Always a pleasure, my friend!


  6. JoJo, You're such a love!! :-D I'm so glad we share the same taste in VERY COOL music!!

    About my musical abilities though... *laughs* You should have heard me when I first started. I do believe that the first person who taught me a thing or two about singing told me that I sounded like a frog doing a bad impression of Mick Jagger. *snort* But he led me through the first steps of finding my voice. Thank you, Bruce Sanders!

    Thanks for stepping in and handling this too, JoJo. I really, really appreciate it!!


  7. 'a frog doing a bad impression of Mick Jagger' - LOL!

    Chiron, I've discovered a whole host of new artists, courtesy of You Tube. Lately I've really been into a sister duo called The Pierces.

    Other divas I adore:

    Ellie Innocenti from Deluka
    Nina Persson of The Cardigans
    Emilie Simon
    April March

    I also love dance queen divas like Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani and Kylie Minogue. Can't get them out of my head...

  8. Hi Julia!!

    *heh-heh* Even though it was decades ago, I still chuckle over the "frog" line. Good thing I have a sense of humor!

    Thanks for the list! I jotted down the names and will search them out tonight during our YouTube explorations!! Fabulous!!

  9. You always manage to capture the essence of your ideas so well, Chiron. Another wonderful post. Thanks!


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