This Week's Question: Best Female Fronted Bands?

Do ladies belong in rock bands?

Ultimate Guitar

Oh, looks like we missed our Wednesday Question opportunity that we had yesterday. Sometimes stuff like that happens, so let's call this piece "Thursday Question" for the only time.

Okay, let's go.

For the most part, rock music comes as a men-dominated area with not so much space for the ladies. But as always, there's an exception to every rule, so throughout the rock history we've been able to see female rockers jamming away in different acts and genres.

Interestingly enough, it would seem that the singer position is the one ladies opt for the most in bands. Not that the other duties are something they can't handle - just look at the likes of Meg White, Nicole Fiorentino or Tal Wilkenfeld. But back to the topic - seeing that the female rock singer domain saw its expansion over the years, this week's question is:

What are the best female-fronted bands ever?

There's plenty to choose from here, starting from the early days and the likes of iconic Janis Joplin all the way to more recent years and groups such as Nightwish or Arch Enemy.

Same rules as always apply - you can nominate only one group per post and vote up or vote down other nominees based on your preferences. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and present you with a traditional UG Top 10 list. Cast your votes in the comments section and may the best band win!

778 comments sorted by best / new / date

    one direction
    It took me years to find the gold medal, but when I found it... I was not disappointed!
    you know what? i didnt know shit about one direction until people online started to bitch about them EVERY. FUCKING. WHERE. im tired of your whinery more than their "music", who cares if they're on heavy rotation on the radio, if you have good music taste you're already abusing your AUX rather than listening to generic music station.. you're giving them free online exposure in a place where they'll hardly get it because WE DONT FUCKING CARE about boyband
    I think it might be because - even after the boy band craze of the nineties, and the girl band craze, and the RnB revival, and the Boy Band revival and on and on, the public still insist that they're something more than BigMacs, Pepsi Max bottles, Nike running shoes, or President Obama; It's just a product designed to make money and when we call it sh'it, people get stroppy.
    Well most people don't consider BigMacs to be fine dining but they eat them because they're easy and you can find them everywhere. Really it's just a fashion thing. Music has always had some level of that even in the earliest ages of media releases. I find it nicer to just ignore them.
    I'm with you, I only know about them from people either raving about them or hating on them on the Internet. I've heard a One Direction song ONCE on the radio in a Subway, but that's it. And no it wasn't great, but it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever heard either. That said, nominating them for this is absolutely ****ing hilarious.
    I've kinda grown used to it. Every few years there's a new pop sensation that people will whine about as the end of good music.
    Hey let's make fun of One Direction because it's totally hilarious and not overdone at all hahahahaha. They're five guys that actually have vocal talent, I don't understand why no one sees that.
    Talent is not the most important thing, it's what you do with it that counts.
    for real. if you feel the need to make fun of pop acts obviously aimed a 12 year old girls, just grow up. it's not for you, just ignore it and shut up
    Why is the top comment on these ALWAYS far down in the comments?
    Because they're popular articles and there are always dozens of comments within minutes of them going online. Plus there's always people posting their nominations as replies to the first few comments.
    One Direction
    C. Jasper
    im praying this one wins. sure their music sucks but i would say they are currently the most popular female fronted band. lol.
    But I thought the question was "best" female fronted bands? I would say One Direction is the worst female fronted band.
    Vicryl 2.0
    Hanson was actually great. i used to have a crush on that singer.she was cute
    This is the only right answer to this question. Well, Heart or Janis Joplin.
    Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I like them. The Cranberries
    I've been on a Cranberries kick for the past week. It's all I can listen to. Not to mention, they're one of the first bands I even listened to. I'd also would like to add Garbage and No Doubt. They may not always play "rock and roll" but they're both awesome!
    Fuckin' Zombie and Salvation alone can cement Dolores O'Riordan as the single most distinct female vocalist of all time. Not to mention Free to Decide, Linger. Oh god, and that's just the singles!
    They have to win. Dolores' voice is just that brilliant. That weird falsetto switches she does in songs like Dreams an Zombie is incredible
    No Doubt (their earlier less pop-oriented stuff was good)
    I was just scrolling down to add this, as no one had up to this point (which in itself kinda bothers me). Gwen is definitely one of rocks leading ladies.
    It's not technically No Doubt, but Gwen Stefani singing with Sublime for "Saw Red" is pretty awesome. I feel like it gives Gwen a bit more credibility as a front...person.
    Joan Jett.
    which idiots keep downvoting these great bands/front women?
    Joan Jett is not the band.
    People that disagree with those choices, perhaps because they don't think they are so great and/or listen to more than dad rock or generic mainstream 15 year old metal bands like Nightwish and Arch Enemy? I know that it's hard for some people to understand that maybe... some people just don't like their favorite bands...
    "generic mainstream 15 year old metal bands like Nightwish and Arch Enemy" You have never listened to either of those bands, have you?
    Nightwish have some pretty good songs, but they're not THAT great and Tarja is the most overrated metal singer ever. Arch Enemy? Angela is the only reason why people care about them. So yeah, I've heard both of them and I can pretty much agree with "generic mainstream 15 year old metal bands like Nightwish and Arch Enemy"
    Aryan Death Man
    Arch Enemy
    My Last Words
    Avenged Sevenfold.
    I'm not an A7X fan myself, but their singer is a f***ing tank! I doubt anyone would call him a lady to his face. xD
    Aryan Death Man
    Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin)
    Come one people, no votes for Rock & Roll's leading lady? And no she wasn't just a solo artist. I don't care what anyone says, despite the fact that Summertime is one of the most covered songs of all time so far I haven't heard ANYBODY (male or female) sing this song like she did
    And don't go "hey, how 'bout Courtney love?" because I will personally come to your door and fight you. Like, physically (Allow me to say in advance I'm not a trained fighter or anything so there's a good chance you'll treat me to a nasty beating and have someone upload it to Youtube)
    I think the majority of the people here are either too young or just have no clue how important she was. I would also like to add Grace Slick into the mix...
    On that same note, the Scottish band Stone The Crows. They had two lead singers, and the female one of them was a lot like Janis Joplin.
    The Breeders
    I've no idea why your comment got voted down (twice, when I saw it). I quite like The Breeders. PJ Harvey is really good, but I don't know if that counts as kind of a solo artist or a 'band'.
    Aryan Death Man
    Except Nightwish is fronted by Tuomas Holopainen. A man. NOT a woman. Singer is not the same thing as frontman.
    Actually, Tuomas is the chief songwriter. Its Marco Hietala who does most of the talking and backup vocals, sometimes lead. They still rely on female lead vocals though they are in between singers atm.
    So here's where it gets a bit tricky; is it really the singer that's the "frontman" because they're the face of the band? Or is it the person most responsible for the band's creative direction? I don't know. I could make cases for both Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp being the frontman of King Crimson.
    My thoughts exactly. Only on my case, I can't find any good reason for Nightwish to be "female fronted".
    "There's plenty to choose from here, starting from the early days and the likes of iconic Janis Joplin all the way to more recent years and groups such as Nightwish or Arch Enemy." UG seems to think it's a valid nominee, but I have to say I'm kind of with you on this.
    Why,yes, they have a female singer because Tuomas wants so. He is the owner of the Nightwish franchise. Without him there would not be Nightwish. He formed the band. He makes the songs and he is, at least in Finland, the most interviewed member of the band. And even if you would say that Marco Hietala is the frontman, that would still take Nightwish off this list.
    So what? Lars made Metallica, but James is the frontman.
    That's irrelevant. How could someone who wasn't originally even on the band be the frontman/woman? In this case, Nightwish IS Tuomas Holopainen. Same goes with Scorpions and Rudolf Schenker, AC/DC and brothers Young, The Who and Pete Townsend. What us the connection with these? They were all part of the ORIGINAL cast and musically made their bands what they are now. Same goes with James Hetfield. He is original cast, makes his band's music what it is and to be honest, IS the Metallica in one way.
    So what you're saying is, Brian Johnson isn't AC/DC's frontman?
    It's fully lead by the brothers Young, in my opinion. You can always disagree with anyone, if you can say why. I see the opinion that it is lead by Brian Johnson, and I understand the opinion. I just slightly fall towards the opinion of my own. But that wasn't the point in that text.
    "Frontman" is also not the same as "leader". Tuomas may be the creative force behind Nightwish and keep the whole thing together, but he's not the one most people associate the band with (i.e. the "face" of the band).
    Also, by those standards, it would be safe to say that Jyrki Katainen isn't the leader of Finland because he is not what most people associate to Finland when they think about the country.
    Then again, everywhere from their own website to Wikipedia and Spinefarm archives, he is referred to as "leader". When he was interviewed(both early and resent career) on radio and tv, he also was referred to as leader. I did a fast check, and I couldn't find a reliable source that wouldn't state him as the leader. And moreover, both Anette Olzon and Tarja Turunen were fired by the team, so which one you would then say is the frontwoman? You quite can't be leader if you're out of the thing you're supposed to lead, can you? Floor Jensen won't do, since she was hired as a replacement during the rest of the tour. Every official piece of information about Nightwish is given by either Holopainen alone or someone else and him. Nightwish still shouldn't be on this list.
    Blondie. One of the best punk/new wave bands ever. I do not think I need to introduce Deborah Harry to anyone, everybody knows at least a couple of songs by them!
    nefaSto Favore
    Iron Maidens
    Ive seen this group at HOB Anehiem CA. Not bad actually. Not bad at all. They got on access TV along with Damage Inc. and yes her boobs are a bit distracting haha
    Epi g-310
    I'm glad to see this getting upvotes, I'm just surprised it took so long for someone to mention them. Not a lot of women getting recognition in rock AND the mainstream besides Paramore, so I think that earns them a spot here.