When it comes to the best rock songs never released, most of my favorites are female. You just can’t beat a brilliant rock belt performed by a sassy band/singer, and I for one was hugely inspired by those artists to get on there too and show that women can really strut their stuff on stage.
From Stevie Nicks to Janis Joplin, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the best female rockers of our time. There have been some truly iconic female rock songs over the years, and I’m here to tell you my top 10.
So without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 female rock songs of all time!
1. “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)
Let’s start with an absolute classic, it’s “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, released on their 1977 album Rumors. This song is hugely popular and Stevie Nick’s sultry lyrics are a great way to start our journey to the best female rock songs ever written.
“Dreams” reached the Billboard Hot 100 when the song was released and has entered the charts several times since then. It’s an extremely nostalgic song for many Fleetwood Mac fans, and is popular with younger fans as well. The song went viral on TikTok thanks to Nathan Apodaca’s account, as he sang along to ‘Dreams while skateboarding and drinking from a bottle of cranberry juice.
2. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler (1983)
Now let’s jump into the 1980s with this complete belt from Bonnie Tyler. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from the album Faster than night speed is arguably Tyler’s most recognized song and has been certified gold for sales of over one million records by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Rory Dodd can be heard singing the duo vocal, with those beautiful backing vocals “Turn around, bright eyes” sung throughout the song. It’s an iconic song and I had to include it in this list.
3. “Zombie” – The Cranberries (1994)
Next is the instantly recognizable “Zombie” by Irish rock band The Cranberries. “Zombie” was the lead single from the band’s 1994 album No need to argue and was written in memory of two young boys who were killed in the 1993 Warrington bombings.
Who could forget Dolores O’Riodan’s iconic music video painted gold giving goosebumps to all who watch it? Truly iconic, it’s no wonder it’s considered one of the most memorable music videos of all time.
4. “Barracuda” – Heart (1977)
If you are a fan of guitar hero, you must know this next one. American band Heart’s “Barracuda” was released on their 1977 album Little Queen. This powerful number reached number 11 in the Billboard Hot 100 and has been featured on many Greatest Hits albums over the years.
Ann Wilson’s commanding voice is instantly recognizable in this great female rock song, and she’s identified as one of the greatest female rock singers of all time.
5. “Bring Me to Life” – Evanescence (2003)
We are now heading towards the early 2000s, and if you grew up in that era, this one is bound to make you nostalgic! “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence from their 2003 album Fallen is dominated by the incredible voice of the group’s lead singer, Amy Lee, written when she was only 19 years old.
Who could forget the classic music video of Lee’s band walking along the edge of the skyscraper? Not me – it’s definitely one of my favorite female rock songs of all time.
6. “Cannonball” – The Breeders (1993)
Back to the 90s now for the cult classic “Cannonball” by The Breeders. Released on the band’s second album last splash“Cannonball” is a serious triumph for singer Kim Deal, and who could forget Josephine Wiggs’ classic bass line?
This debut single became one of the Breeder’s biggest hits and is loved by female rock singer fans around the world.
7. “People Have Power” – Patti Smith (1988)
How could I write this article without including Patti Smith? ! “People Have The Power” featured on Smith’s 1988 album dream of life and was co-written by her husband Fred “Sonic” Smith.
This influential song has a timeless message and is an all-time favorite among Patti Smith fans. The lyrics never fail to give me goosebumps and get better the more you play this iconic song.
8. “Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1980)
If one song belongs on this list, it’s “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Released in 1980 on the band’s debut album of the same name, this song exudes anti-establishment and female empowerment.
Joan Jett is known for taking on the corporate music executives of the 80s and endearing her music to generations of rockers. A timeless song, “Bad Reputation” has been covered many times, including by Canadian rock singer Avril Lavinge in 2012.
9. “Mercedes Benz” – Janis Joplin
Oh, Janis Joplin, many of your songs could have been on this list, but I picked a favorite. It just had to be “Mercedes Benz” written by Joplin, Bob Neurwirth and Michael McClure.
This short but sweet number was written during a poetry session between Joplin and Neurwirth in 1970 and was the last song Joplin recorded before his death the same year.
10. “Get Rid of Me” – PJ Harvey (1993)
Let’s go out in style – here’s the incredible ‘Rid of Me’ from iconic English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey. It’s impossible not to connect with this song, and the original, stripped down versions of this song are just as captivating.
Released on PJ Harvey’s 1993 album of the same name, “Rid of Me” will long be known as one of the best female rock songs of all time.