How Old Was Gwen When Justa A Girl Came Out The ’90’s: When the Ladies Came Out to Play

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The ’90’s: When the Ladies Came Out to Play

90s music was great. It seems to me that the decade was like a petri dish full of experimental organisms. One that grew and flourished quickly, only to suddenly weaken and die, i.e. the meteoric rise of Grunge, and then its sudden demise. Others, like the Rap and Hip-Hop movement, which grew and never wavered. Then of course there were some old standards and newcomers. However, one thing remained true throughout the 1990s. The female artists of the time, many new, came to the fore like never before. Unlike the teenage “girl groups” of the late 50’s and early to mid 60’s who had almost no say in their own careers. Or rockers from the 70’s like the ‘Runaways’ and ’80’s, girl groups and artists like former ‘The Runaways’ member Joan Jett (who had a smokin’ hit with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”) and later Lita Ford’s hit with “Kiss Me Deadly .” Then the West Coast “Go-Go’s” and “Bangles” who, yes, played their own instruments, but left as quickly as they came.

Sure, there was Janis Joplin in the 1960s, and in the early to mid-1970s there were singer-songwriters Carly Simon, Carole King and Helen Reddy who spread the message of ‘girl power’, 20 years before the term was coined. Also ‘Heart’ with sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson (Ann on mic and Nancy on lead guitar) more than proved they could rock like the boys and then ditched the seedy side of the music business to take control. of their direction of the band. Despite these honorable mentions, the 1990s was a decade in which a number of female artists took the spotlight more consistently than ever before.

Since I haven’t said her name yet, the first mention goes to the reigning ‘queen of pop’ at the time, Madonna. Her 1990 single “Vogue” was a hit on both the pop and dance charts. That same year, however, a newcomer tugged at the queen’s robes. An Irish import with a pretty face and a bald head, yeah, I know, sounds like the point of a joke. But Sinead O’Connor was anything but that. Her performance of “Nothing Compares to You,” a song written by Prince, was a chart-topping monster. The music video for the tune was equally popular. With only that beautiful face, O’Connor gave an emotional performance never before seen in a music video. Of course, the song became a sensation and would be O’Connor’s only American hit.

Another performer pulling those gowns had the octave range of an opera star and the beauty and sensuality of a top model. Of course I’m talking about Mariah Carey. Between 1990 and 1996, Carey had 7 top 10 hits, including 3 number ones with ‘Hero’, ‘Fantasy’ and the smash hit ‘One Sweet Day’, which she recorded with R&B group ‘Boyz to Men’. In 1993, female R&B group ‘En Vogue’ and female rappers ‘Salt ‘n’ Pepper’ teamed up with their chart topper “Whatta Man”. That same year, another new girl, Sheryl Crow, burst onto the music scene with the hugely popular hit “All I Wanna Do.”

The female representatives of mostly all-male bands also made their mark. Irish band ‘The Cranberries’ lead, Dolores O’Riordan, could go from a sweet and soft-sounding ballad, as in “Linger”, to a serious rocking whale, as she did in “Zombie”. R&B group ‘The Fugees’ had a huge hit with their cover of the Roberta Flack classic “Killing Me Softly” fronted by the sweet, soulful Lauryn Hill. Angelic-faced Gwen Stefani, frontwoman of the band ‘No Doubt’, had a big hit with the hit ‘Don’t Speak’. Country music also had its queens. The always beautiful Faith Hill has been a country music fan favorite since 1993, but later scored major crossover hits with “This Kiss” and “Breathe” from her 1998 hit album, Faith. 13-year-old LeAnn Rimes came out of nowhere with her country hit “Blue.” Despite her young age, she was immediately compared to legendary country star Patsy Cline thanks to her powerful voice. In 1997, Rimes made it big again with the crossover hit “How Do I Live”. The song broke the Billboard record with 69 weeks on the chart.

However, the main ‘Crossover Queen’ of the 90s was Shania Twain. From her self-titled debut album in 1993 to her third album, The woman in me, released in ’97, Twain had a number of hits on the country and pop charts. One hit wonders, Meredith Brooks and Australian soap star Natalie Imbruglia also had their moments in the sun. Brooks with his salute to womanhood despite the tune’s title “Bitch” and Imbruglia with his hit “Torn.” In 1997, the country was stuck with ‘girl power’ when British import The Spice Girls hit the music scene. With hits like “Wannabe” and “2 Become 1”, the 5 beauties were briefly the toast of the music world.

From living in her van to pop superstardom, Jewel Kilcher, better known as Jewel, hit the charts in 1995 with her debut album, Pieces of you. The multi-platinum album produced three major hits “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me” and the haunting ballad “Foolish Games”. The 21-year-old singer/songwriter and poet was a bit of a modern throwback to 70s artists like Carole King and Carly Simon. Her melodious voice and soulful lyrics Pieces of you one of the best-selling debut albums of all time. Another amazing singer/songwriter cut from the same talented cloth is the redheaded and beautiful Sarah McLaughlin. After three successful albums in her home country of Canada, McLaughlin turned her sights south of the border to the States and in 1997 released Surface finish. The album was a critical and commercial success. The most that the twenty-nine-year-old artist has experienced so far. Hits like “Building a Mystery” and the heart-wrenching “Angel,” inspired by Smashing Pumpkins keyboardist Jonathon Melvoin’s fatal overdose, helped. Surface finish sell over 11 million copies in the US.

Now for the woman who I believe has taken the ‘Queen of Pop’ crown (if only for a while), Alanis Morrisette. From Canada, her first American album, Jagged little pill, released in 1995, was not a problem for pop audiences to swallow. The album produced six chart-topping hits, including “You Outta Know”, “Hand in My Pocket”, “You Learn” and the mega hit “Ironic”. Morrisette along with Pill, was a juggernaut. With 16 million copies sold in the US and 33 million sold worldwide, Pill became the best-selling debut album by a female artist in US history and the third best-selling worldwide. With numerous awards under her belt and adoring fans around the world, Morrisette was at the top of the music industry mountain. She never achieved such popularity and success Jagged little pill brought it in the 90s. It’s true….fame is fleeting but music is eternal. And so are the artists who performed it. Go ladies.

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