Whether you’re a fan of Kassia of Constantinople (first female composer of the Western world) or a modern day “Swifty”, let us begin this post with an apology as we will definitely not have enough space to cover ALL of the contributions of the various influential women in music history! 

Jumping right in to this, it feels as if “the stronger sex” has important representation throughout all facets of the musical universe. Below, is a partial list (in alphabetical order) of the most distinguished ladies in music history and their gift to society:

Clara Schumann-from the mid 19th century had a 61 year career as a concert pianist who memorized all of the pieces she played and rewrote the rulebook on what types of pieces should be played at recitals.

Sister Rosetta Tharpelegendary guitarist from the 30’s and 40’s who is revered more now than she ever was in her lifetime. Influenced such great as Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash.

Carole King-Hit songwriter of the 60’s and 70’s known as the most successful female songwriter of the second half of the 20th century. She co-wrote “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” for The Shirelles which became the first #1 single in history for an African-American girl group.

Aretha Franklin Known as one of the most influential voices in music, Period, the “Queen of Soul” became the first woman to inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame In 1987. One of her many famous anthems, “(You make me feel like) A Natural Woman” just happened to be penned by none other than Carole King.

Sylvia Robinson was a real musical pioneer in her day. She’s responsible for forming the Sugarhill Gang (on her label Sugar Hill Records) which released the first ever hip hop hit “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. Robinson’s efforts paved the way for an entire musical genre. 

Ella Fitzgerald-aka “The first Lady of Song” was an unforgettable voice and force for Jazz music, won 2 Grammy’s in 1958 (their inaugural year) for best vocal performance by a female and best jazz performance.

Mariah Carey- Who first came to fame in 1990, went on to become the solo artist with the most Hot 100 No. 1’s and the second most of any act (other than the Beatles)!

Sylvia Rhone Who was appointed chairman and CEO of Elektra Records in 1994, became the first woman (and African-American) in the industry to hold that title at a major label.

MadonnaWith 16 Guinness World Records, 7 Grammys, and 68 VMA nominations, it’s pretty safe to say that there would be no Gaga, Britney or any other current pop songstress without “Madge”.

Whitney Houstonregarded as one of the most adored voices in music history, and known throughout the universe simply as “Whitney, she is the most awarded female artist of all time including the best-selling single “I Will Always Love You” with sales eclipsing 200 million!

Dolly PartonSinger, songwriter, record producer, author, businesswoman, philanthropist  She’s written over 3,000 songs (including Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”) and changed the course of country music forever.

Lady Gaga imaginative artist, actress and eccentric advocate for inclusion has an Oscar, Grammy and a Golden Globe to show for her work, has amassed more than 35 million in album sales combined with 32 Billion streams and counting.

Billie Holidaynicknamed “Lady Day” was an American jazz and swing music singer with a career spanning 26 years.  known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills, Holiday, as depicted in the Golden Globe winning “United States vs. Billie Holliday”, battled with drug and alcohol addiction, discrimination and an ongoing FBI investigation throughout her entire career. In fact, her controversial signature song “Strange Fruit” which was named Time magazine’s song of the century, has been called “a declaration and the beginning of the civil rights movement”.

Beyonce-With a total of 24 awards and 79 nominations from the Grammy Awards for her music, she is the most nominated woman and the second-most awarded person in Grammy history. 

Taylor Swiftnow known as the American Music Awards “Artist of the Decade” is a generational performer and musical influencer with her incredible work ethic and prolific songwriting ability.…in 2010 at the age of 20, became the youngest artist in history to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Linda Ronstadt- my personal favorite, is as diverse as she is talented…recorded award -winning albums in rock, country, latin and opera. Inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, Ronstadt has earned 10 Grammy’s, 3 AMA’s, 2 CMA’s, an Emmy and an Alma…She’s also been nominated for a Tony and a Golden Globe.