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A Women’s History Month music playlist

In honor of the countless phenomenal women who have shaped the music industry, we’ve pulled together a playlist highlighting our favorite boldest and brightest female voices who have made a lasting impression in music.

“Piece of My Heart”, “Misery’n”, and “Ball and Chain” by Janis Joplin
“Whenever I listen to Janis Joplin, I’m always mesmerized by the gritty and unadulterated roughness that characterizes her music, allowing her to exude both toughness and vulnerability at the same time. It makes all of her music feel so raw and beautiful and authentic to me. Whereas many artists sound better on their studio-produced albums, I think Janis always excelled on her live tapings… she would feed off the audience’s energy and build slowly over the course of the song, finally reaching this growly, heartbreaking note by the end where you can’t help but think, ‘This lady just gets it.’ She was, and still is, truly timeless. It’s impossible to pick just one of her songs, so I’m picking my top three: ‘Piece of My Heart,’ ‘Misery’n,’ and ‘Ball and Chain.’”
Carrie Napolitano, Marketing Associate, Academic/Trade Marketing

“Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain
Sarah Hansen, Marketing Coordinator

“Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey
“Mariah Carey is one of my favorite singers and her talent is undeniable. I picked this beautiful song because it reminds me of summertime in Long Island—where Carey and I both are from!”
Mohamed Sesay, Marketing Assistant, Academic/Trade Marketing

“Brave” by Sara Bareilles
“Hands down, one of my all-time favorite songs by a female artist is ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles. I find Sara to be an incredible artist. She is true to who she is—her strength speaks clearly through all of her lyrics. And she is a New Yorker! I may or may not be listening to her most recent album as I type this.”
Ryan Cury, Marketing Manager

“9-5” by Dolly Parton
“I like how Dolly’s voice rises above the staccato typewriter polyrhythm, and I think the song straddles camp and sincerity in the same way Dolly herself does, anxiety giving way to honky-tonk.”
Norman Hirschy, Editor

“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
“It’s a real shame that Whitney Houston’s 1992 cover version consistently overshadows the original 1974 recording by country legend Parton because the song has such a personal backstory for Parton. At the time, she was professionally breaking away from longtime musical partner Porter Wagoner (who had given her a start in the music business) and the song captures that sense of certainty and sadness that can come with a mutual break-up, whether it be romantic, platonic, or professional.”
Taylor Coe, Marketing Coordinator, Oxford Dictionaries Online

“You Learn” by Alanis Morissette
“When I was growing up, my mom would always listen to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill CD on her boom box, and now as an adult, I’m finding that our taste in music has more overlap than I ever would have imagined. Like mother, like son.”
Brian Muir, Online Marketing Assistant

“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
“It might sound ‘cheesy’ by today’s standards, but I think this song was very important during the 1970s women’s movement. I like how direct it is, which is a quality that I feel more women should have!”
Joy Mizan, Assistant Marketing Manager

“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera
“It’s an empowering song that reinforces the message that if someone hurts you or does you wrong, don’t let it bring you down, let it make you smarter and stronger.”
Rachelle Letang, Online Marketing Coordinator

“Breathe (2 AM)” by Anna Nalick
“It’s a perfect song for when you’re feeling in a reflective mood and she has an amazing voice!”
Alex Beaumont, Senior Marketing Executive

“The Trolley Song” by Judy Garland
“I saw Meet Me in St. Louis for the first time in eighth grade and this song still feels fun, light, and lovely to me. (There is only one Judy).”
Estelle Hallick, Associate Publicist

“Better Things” by Sharon Jones & the Dap-King
“When I’m in need of a Girl Power anthem, I turn to this song. It’s a perfect, upbeat funk/soul song that’s all about saying one thing: I am an empowered woman and I have better things to do than cry about the past.”
Lauren Hill, Events Coordinator, Publicity

“No Scrubs” by TLC
“This was my jam starting back in fourth grade. Now it’s a reminder of female empowerment and the understanding that I don’t need a man to know my worth.”
Miki N. Onwudinjo, Junior Level Marketing Coordinator

Enjoy the full playlist!

Image Credit: “Dolly Parton – Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN (09/24/2011)” by Timothy Wildey. CC by NC 2.0 via Flickr.

Recent Comments

  1. […] It is almost impossible to turn on the radio today and not hear a strong woman belting out a tune across the airwaves, so it should not be too difficult to pay tribute to some of music’s finest female voices this month. This site has a TON of great podcasts about women throughout musical history, starting thousands of years ago in the middle ages to more recently when Liza Minelli hit the stage. If you’d rather let the songs just speak for themselves, enjoy this special Women’s History Month playlist from Oxford University Press. […]

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