On January 23, 1986 the first group of artists were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…all were men.

The first woman to be inducted was Aretha Franklin in 1987 and the following year, The Supremes were inducted.

In 2020 inductees Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks both called for more women to be inducted to the R&R Hall of Fame.

Less than 8% of inductees are women…sad but true!!!

Here are my favorite “women in music” who have been inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.

Since I have previously written about “Aretha Franklin”, it is no secret how I feel about “The Queen of Soul”.

But she deserves another mention in this feature since she was the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Within the past year there have been two movies about Aretha Franklin. I thoroughly enjoyed both films and both ladies who portrayed Aretha. If you love R&B music and amazing vocalists, Aretha should be in your collection of music.

If you do not own any Aretha titles, use these links to fix that: Collectors’ Choice Music has a huge collection of Aretha Franklin titles here. If you’re looking to shore up your Vinyl collection, PopMarket.com has more than 20 LPs available here. DeepDiscount.com has the DVD titles. Season 3 of the National Geographic mini-series “Genius” focuses on Aretha Franklin. It’s available here. Aretha played an important role in The Blues Brothers movie which is available here. The Jennifer Hudson film “Respect” about Aretha’s life can be pre-ordered here, and you can get the soundtrack on LP here.

JANIS JOPLIN (inducted in 1995)

Janis Joplin was a singer songwriter, powerful vocalist, electrifying performer, ROCK GODDESS and “LEGEND”!

In 1965 Janis Joplin was the powerful lead vocalist for the psychedelic rock band “Big Brother & the Holding Company”. In 1967 she blew everyone away with her live performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. In 1969, she gave another iconic performance at Woodstock. If you have not seen the films “Monterey Pop” (available here) or “Woodstock” (available here), both are a “MUST SEE”.

In the same year, Janis released her album “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” which you can pick up here on CD

On October 4, 1970, at the young age of 27, she was dead due to an accidental heroin overdose. In her short career she released 2 albums with the band “Big Brother”. She then decided she wanted to be a solo act and explore some of the other music that she loved which was heavily rooted in blues, rock, country and R&B. She began recording a new studio album on July 27, 1970. The album was called “Pearl”. She named it Pearl, after a nickname her friend had given to her. Her final recording session took place on October 1,1970, just 3 days before her death. The final song she recorded was the song, “Mercedes Benz”. Sadly, her final album, “Pearl” was released three months after her death on January 11, 1971. Pearl was her most successful album. The album was number one for nine weeks. In 1999, it was re-issued (available here) with four previously unreleased live tracks that were recorded on July 4, 1970. In 2012, “The Pearl Sessions” was released with alternate recordings of the songs from the original “Pearl” album. Pearl has sold over four Million copies and certified quadruple platinum.  

Millions know and LOVE the music of Janis Joplin…but did you know this?

  • During her final studio session, she also recorded a birthday wish to be given to John Lennon on his birthday on October 9, 1970 (five days after her death). She recorded the old cowboy song “Happy Trails” which includes the lyrics “Happy trails to you, until we meet again”…(kind of eerie).
  • Janis loved the blues singer Bessie Smith (The Empress of the Blues)  who was buried in an unmarked grave from 1937 until 1970 when Janis Joplin and Bessie’s old housekeeper paid for a tombstone for her grave.
  • Janis Joplin Loved Billie Holiday. She carried Billie’s autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues” with her from Texas till the day she died. It was like a bible to Janis.
  • Janis was known for drinking “Southern Comfort”. She once broke a bottle of it over the head of Jim Morrison.

A Little Woodstock Trivia

  • In 1969 a one-day ticket for Woodstock was $8.00. On the same day that Janis Joplin performed, you could have also seen Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, Sly & the Family Stone, The Band, Joe Cocker, The Jefferson Airplane and more…ALL FOR JUST $8.00.
  • $18.00 got you into all 3 days at Woodstock to see 32 bands and performers. Just $18.00 for the entire 3 DAY “HISTORIC” FESTIVAL. The Coachella Festival could cost anywhere from a one-day ticket at $439 to a 3 day luxury campsite for $9,500 and you usually get one, two or sometimes three main headliners.
  • Jimi Hendrix was the highest paid headliner at Woodstock and was paid $18,000. Ariana Grande was the highest paid headliner at Coachella, she was paid 8 MILLION DOLLARS!!! Beyonce was paid half of what Ariana was paid to headline Coachella….It appears that it’s getting a little more profitable to be a “WOMAN IN MUSIC”, these days!

Have you heard of the 27 Club?

This is a club that you do not want to be part of. Don’t worry, if you are over the age of 27 you will NEVER be in this tragic club.

The 27 Club is comprised of famous people who died at the age of 27. Many succumbed to drugs, alcohol abuse or other violent deaths. These coincidental deaths date back to the 1800’s.

But when Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, all at the age of 27, oddly died within a year of each other, the 27 Club was officially named.

Other notable members of the 27 club and the years they died are:

Robert Johnson, Blues legend (1938)

Brian Jones, of “The Rolling Stones” (1969)

Alan Wilson, of “Canned Heat” (1970)

Ron Pigpen” McKernan of the “Grateful Dead”(1973)

Pete Ham, of “Badfinger” (1975)

Chris Bell of “Big Star” (1978)

D Boom, of “The Minutemen” (1985)

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988)

Pete de Freitas of “Echo and the Bunnymen” (1989)

Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana (1994)

Freaky Tah, of Lost Boyz (1999)

Jeremy Michel Ward, of “Mars Volta” (2003)

Amy Winehouse (2011)

Come back soon to hear about two “WOMEN IN MUSIC” that were inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame…TWICE!