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Yelena Yemchuck, Reprise
L7 (shown in 1997) is among the wave of all-female rock bands.

Last Tuesday on the Country Music Awards, sassy Terri Clark sang her hit "Girls Lie Too."

Good song. But what made the performance more intriguing was the fact that Clark was fronting an all-female band. Now that was cool!

So I got to thinking about female bands that have really made a name for themselves in the male-dominant world of pop music.

I'm not talking about female-fronted bands, such as Heart, the Pretenders or Hole. Nor am I talking about women vocal groups, such as the Supremes, the Ronnettes or the Shangri-Las. And I'm not talking about female singers, such as Pat Benatar, Otep, Aretha Franklin, P.J. Harvey, Janis Joplin or Whitney Houston.

No, I'm talking about all-female bands — where all the musicians and the singers are female.

I'm talking about such bands as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters and the Mandrell Sisters. I'm talking about the Go-Go's and the Bangles and a more recent little band called the Donnas.

In 1965, there was a band called Goldie & the Gingerbreads and another band named Fanny. During the '70s, one of the most intriguing all-girl bands (which now has a huge cult following) featured Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, Jackie Fox and Sandy West, collectively known as the Runaways.

The '80s found pop-punk delight in the aforementioned Go-Go's and Bangles, but there was also the New Wave of British Heavy Metal groups Girlschool and Rock Goddess, and the American pop-metal group Vixen.

Toward the latter part of the '80s and the early '90s, the metal and pop scenes fizzled out and a new kind of music was bubbling to the surface. The media christened that style "grunge."

Not to be left out of the loop, female bands began getting more aggressive and came together as the "Riot Grrl" movement.

Babes in Toyland and L7 were two of the heavy hitters of the times. Next on the punky girl list was Bratmobile, and then there was Luscious Jackson, which dabbled in sampling and dubs. And if you wanted to get really extreme, the political, in-your-face, raunchy satire of Tribe 8 was, ahem, up for grabs.

These days the nu-metal movement has welcomed Kittie into its coven and the pop-punk scene has embraced the Donnas, which bases itself on the low-key Ramones' style execution.

While I've probably forgotten a few all-female bands, this list represents the major movers and shakers in the genre.

I'm looking forward to having more to add in the future.


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