15 Influential Women In Music You’ve Probably Never Listened To

I’m not going to lie: Most of the music I listen to on a regular basis isn’t all that current. I’m not one of those pretentious jerks who thinks that music today sucks, because it doesn’t. But I think that it’s important for us to have a lot of appreciation for music that came out before we were born or before we really appreciated anything beyond what our parents and our friends listened to. That’s why half the time I’m listening to music from the ’60s to the ’90s.

Influential musicians have the power to start movements, inspire some of the most famous artists in the world or just, you know, give us something amazing to listen to. That’s why I’m highlighting 15 influential women in music that you’ve probably never listened to or, even heard of. If you have, congrats; so do your duty and spread the love!


Who else deserves to be on this list? Which of these amazing women have inspired you in some way? Tell us in the comments


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  • David Landers

    this list needs to be WAY longer. I’ve listened to everyone on that list.
    the first person that comes to mind for addition is Wanda Jackson, but I mean seriously, you could add hundreds.


  • Knowitall

    And L7 too… try it…

  • Knowitall

    Ashley you just called me a jerk 🙁

    In the list ive only heard of Debbie Harry, Souxie and Grace slick (did not know her name till now) , Joan Jett, I tried to listen to Bikini Kill before but, could never get a chance to listen to her music.
    Im a big Patti Smith fan…. She has a such a cool voice. But, in many ways it’s a bit hard to understand what she is singing about. And she is a gifted poet!!!

    Why didn’t you mention Wendy o Williams (the lead singer of the Plasmatics) She had a Mohawk and i think she was known to perform topless.(i think) And how about Janis Joplin??? Courtney love?? Lita Ford??
    All great influential women

  • YuiGyaruRamen

    I love Selena and Billie Holiday <3

  • anastasia

    I knew a lot of these already, but was glad to see a few that I didnt! So glad Kathleen Hanna is on there and same with Kim Gordon, they’re amazing. One woman who’s definitely missing would be Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville is a phenomenal album!

    • You’re so right about Liz Phair! Ugh, I’ll have to include her in another roundup soon!

  • Ginger

    Yesss! Selena get some recognition! I loved her for as long as I could remember! ¡Que vive la reina de cumbia!

    • Selena is a legend! I’d hate for her to be forgotten…or just remembered as that-person-JLo-played-in-that-one-movie.

  • bianca

    I was really hoping to discover female singers but really? The only person out of this list that I’ve never heard of was Kathleen Hanna. It may be the 21st century but I’m pretty sure people have heard of Nina Simone (Feeling Good, anyone?), Dolly Parton, MC Lyte ( I was really surprised by this one actually) and Selena (everyone knows you she is) etc.

    • Key

      You may know who they are, but do you actually listen to their music?

    • Unfortunately, a lot of people either know of the artists but not of their songs (or anything beyond their biggest hits). You’re a cut above, embrace it and spread the love.