Today (March 8th) is International Women's Day, so why not celebrate by declaring The Four Horsewomen of Rock and Roll? First off: they're not actually horses. Ever heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? The Four Horsemen of the NWA/WCW? If not then I can't help you, Greg. It's a play on words.

What gooder way to celebrate International Women's Day than with an inadvertent mansplaining edition of whatever this is. Opinion piece? Sure.

The Four Horsewomen of Rock and Roll...According to a Man

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first great recording star of gospel music, the original soul sister, and "The Godmother of Rock and Roll".

She was a singer/songwriter who ruled with an electric guitar in the 1930s and 1940s. An OG electric guitar hero who was among the first to use distortion on her guitar.

She was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, yet was a major influence on the British blues (think Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, etc.). Legend.

Memphis Minnie

When one mentions "When the Levee Breaks" to a Led Zeppelin fan, they can immediately hear John Bonham's booming drum intro with Robert Plant's wailing harmonica. While one of their signature songs, it was a cover, not a Zep original.

It was co-written by Memphis Minnie, a blues frontwoman born in Mississippi in 1897. Like any good rock and roll story, she ran away from home at the age of 13 to be a star in Memphis, Tennessee. She would tour with the Ringling Brothers Circus for 4 years before returning to a thriving blues scene in Memphis, and continued to record into the 1950s.

Carol Kaye

One of the most recorded bass guitarists of all time (an estimated 10,000 songs!) and a member of the legendary Wrecking Crew recording session group, Carol Kaye is an icon among bass guitarists.

Her abilities range from rock to pop, jazz to R& B, and soul. She even played acoustic guitar on Ritchie Valen's "La Bamba" as well as The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", and that iconic bass guitar part on Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'".

She appeared on iconic albums like the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

Her playing was included on the themes to M.A.S.H. and Mission: Impossible.

Tina Turner

Simple the best. The Queen of Rock and Roll. She survived an infamous abusive relationship to become an absolute icon. Enough said.

Honorable Mentions

Narrowing a list of the greatest women in rock and roll down to just four is unfair, but The 100 Horsewomen of Rock and Roll just doesn't work (and takes too long). Argue amongst yourselves about how these legends didn't make the cut.

They are still lightyears above me, and I'm not in denial about that.

  • Patti Smith
  • Carole King
  • Janis Joplin
  • Joan Jett
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Suzi Quatro
  • Ann & Nancy Wilson
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Rock's Greatest Frontwomen

Gallery Credit: Corey Irwin

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