100+ Best Female Rock Singers of the 80s – Complete List

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Females have been making great music for decades, and the 80s were no exception. While the 80s is often thought of as a male-dominated decade in rock music, there were plenty of amazing female rock singers making waves during this time.

This list celebrates those female singers who rocked the 80s with their powerful voices and unforgettable songs.

From legendary icons like Tina Turner and Joan Jett to lesser known but equally talented performers like Juliana Hatfield and Lita Ford, these are the women that helped make rock music what it is today.


Top Best Female Rock Singers of the 80s

With the 80s being a particularly strong decade for rock music, narrowing down the list of the top best was no easy task. There are so many great female singers from the 80s, but these are the ones that truly made a mark on the decade.

Note: This list is based on the highest record sales, critical acclaim, and overall impact on the decade.

  1. Tina Turner
  2. Annie Lennox
  3. Alanis Morissette
  4. Gwen Stefani
  5. Pat Benatar
  6. Stevie Nicks
  7. Tori Amos
  8. Kate Bush
  9. Joan Jett
  10. Lita Ford

Early, Mid, Late 80s Female Rock Singers

In the early 80s, Pat Benatar was one of the most successful female rock singers. Known for her powerful voice and catchy songs like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Benatar defined what it meant to be a rockstar, and inspired an entire generation of women to pick up guitars and start their own bands.

By the middle of the decade, the trend had shifted towards pop-influenced rock, with bands like The Bangles and The Go-Go’s becoming popular.

And by the late 80s, we saw the emergence of some true grunge and punk queens, like Courtney Love of Hole and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill.

Regardless of when they emerged, all of these women helped to shape the sound of rock music in the 80s and beyond.

Early 80s Female Rock Singers

  • Annie Lennox
  • Kate Bush
  • Pat Benatar
  • Siobhan Fahey
  • Stevie Nicks

Mid 80s Female Rock Singers

  • Gwen Stefani
  • Alanis Morissette
  • Sinéad O’Connor
  • Lydia Lunch
  • Patty Smyth

Late 80s Female Rock Singers

  • Dolores O’Riordan (from The Cranberries)
  • Lee Aaron
  • Debbie Gibson
  • Juliana Hatfield
  • Courtney Love

Blonde Female Rock Singers of the 80s

There were many blonde female rock singers in the 80s, but these are the ones that truly made a statement.

Cyndi Lauper – One of the most successful female pop-rock singers of the 80s, Cyndi Lauper is best known for her hits “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time”. She was also one of the first female artists to achieve mainstream success with a primarily rock-oriented sound.

Lita Ford – A member of the all-female rock band The Runaways, Lita Ford went solo in the early 80s and quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with. She is best known for her hits “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever”, which she recorded with Ozzy Osbourne.

Bonnie Tyler – A Welsh singer with a powerful voice, Bonnie Tyler is best known for her hits “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero”. She has also been nominated for Grammys and Brit Awards.

These are just a few of the many blonde female rockers that emerged in the 80s that proved that they were more than just pretty faces. Others include:

  • Cherie Currie
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Agnetha Fältskog (Pop Rock)
  • Sass Jordan
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Suzi Quatro
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Sandy West
  • Michelle Phillips (Folk Rock)
  • Jan Kuehnemund (Hard Rock Guitarist and Vocals)
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80s American Female Rock Singers

America has a rich history of producing great bands and artists, and the 80s were no exception. A hotbed of musical talent, the US saw the emergence of many great female rock singers in the 80s.

Among the most popular were  Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, and Stevie Nicks. These artists brought a new level of sophistication and power to rock music while still maintaining a distinctly American sound.

In addition to their musical talents, these women were also known for their larger-than-life personalities and their willingness to push the boundaries both musically and visually.

That said, here are some of the best American female rock singers of the 80s.

  • Debbie Harry
  • Juliana Hatfield
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Joan Jett
  • Ann Wilson
  • Patti Smith
  • Pat Benatar
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Grace Slick
  • Suzi Quatro
  • Alanis Morissette

British Female Rock Singers of the 80s

Despite being a relatively small island, Britain has always punched above its weight when it comes to music. And when it comes to females in rock, the UK has produced some of the biggest names in the business.

One such singer was Siouxsie Sioux, who fronted the band Siouxsie and the Banshees. Formed in the late 70s, the band became one of the most popular gothic rock bands of the 80s with hits like “Kiss Them for Me” and “Peek-a-Boo”. Their dark and atmospheric sound was a big influence on the gothic rock genre.

Another British female rock singer who made a big impact in the 80s was Toyah Willcox. A member of the new wave band Toyah, she was known for her eccentric style and her powerful voice. The band had several hits in the UK, including “It’s a Mystery” and “Thunder in the Mountains”.

Here are some more great British female rock singers of the 80s:

  • Marianne Faithfull
  • Annie Lennox
  • Lulu (Pop Rock)
  • Bonnie Tyler
  • Christine McVie
  • Melanie C (Pop Rock)
  • Kirsty MacColl
  • Alison Moyet
  • Siobhan Fahey
  • Lita Ford

Canadian Female Rock Singers of the 80s

There is no doubt that Canada has a wealth of musical talent. From indie rock to hip-hop, the country has something for everyone. But what about Canadian female rock singers of the 80s? What makes them so special?

One thing that makes 80s Canadian female rock singers stand out is their diversity. There is no one type of sound or style that defines them. Instead, they are all unique in their own way. Whether it’s the powerful vocals of Alanis Morissette or the hard rock attitude of Lee Aaron, Canadian female rock singers have something to offer everyone.

Another thing that sets these ladies apart is their passion for music. They don’t just sing for the sake of singing; they truly love what they do and it shows in their performances. They also take pride in their country and its music scene, which helps to unite Canadians from all walks of life.

That said check out some great Canadian female rock singers of the 80s:

  • Lee Aaron
  • Terri Crawford
  • Dalbello
  • Maria del Mar
  • Annette Ducharme
  • Katie Griffin
  • Sass Jordan
  • Dianne Heatherington
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Carole Pope

Hard Rock Female Singers of the 80s

The 1980s were a time when hard rock reigned supreme. Bands like Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi were topping the charts and selling out stadiums. However, what is often forgotten is that there were also talented and successful female musicians who were part of the hard rock scene during that time.

One of the most popular hard rock female singers of the 80s was Lita Ford. A former member of the all-female band The Runaways, she went solo in the early 80s and released a series of successful albums. She is best known for her hit singles “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever”, which was a duet with Ozzy Osbourne.

Another hard rock female singer who made a name for herself in the 80s was Doro Pesch. The lead singer of the German band Warlock, she moved to the US in the late 80s and pursued a solo career. She released several successful albums and had a number of hit singles, including “I Rule the Ruins” and “Für Immer”.

Other notable female hard rockers from the 80s include

  • Doro Pesch
  • Suzi Quatro
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Joan Jett
  • Debbie Harry
  • Janet Gardner
  • Lita Ford
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Cherie Currie
  • Sass Jordan

80s Pop Rock Female Rock Singers

Pop rock is a genre of music that fuses elements of rock with pop music. Pop rock songs are typically upbeat and melodic, and they often contain catchy hooks. The genre first gained popularity in the mid-1950s, but it experienced a major resurgence in the 1980s.

One of the most popular female pop-rock singers of the 80s was Madonna. She released her debut album in 1983 and quickly rose to stardom with hits like “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl”. Madonna became one of the most successful and influential musicians of the decade, and she remains one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Other popular female pop-rock singers of the 80s include Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love, and Tina Turner. These women helped to make pop rock a mainstream genre, and their songs are still popular today.

  • Courtney Love
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Dolores O’Riordan
  • Siouxsie Sioux
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Shirley Manson
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Carly Simon

Punk Rock Female Singers of the 80s

The punk rock movement began in the mid-1970s, but it didn’t reach its peak until the early 1980s. Punk rock bands like The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones became hugely popular during this time, and they influenced a new generation of musicians.

Female punk rockers were particularly active during the 80s, and they helped to shape the sound and style of the genre. Notable female punk rockers from this era include Siouxsie Sioux, Joan Jett, and Patti Smith. These women were known for their DIY ethic, their politically charged lyrics, and their iconic fashion sense.

While punk rock is often associated with male musicians, these women proved that punk rock is for everyone. They broke down barriers and paved the way for future generations of female punk rockers.

  • Viv Albertine
  • Lydia Lunch
  • Ari Up
  • Diamanda Galás
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Wendy O. Williams
  • Poly Styrene
  • Nina Hagen
  • Kim Shattuck
  • Lene Lovich

80s Rock Bands with Female Lead Singers

There were many rock bands in the 80s that had female lead singers. Some of these bands include Heart, The Go-Go’s, Pat Benatar, and Twisted Sister. These bands all brought a unique sound to the 80s rock scene.

Heart is a band that was formed in Seattle in 1974. The sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson led the band and became popular for their hard rock sound. Their first album was released in 1975 and they continued to make music until 1995.

The Go-Go’s is a band from Los Angeles that was formed in 1978. They were one of the first all-female punk rock bands and became popular for their hits “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed”. They disbanded in 1985, but reunited in 2001 and continue to tour today.

  • Susanna Hoffs (Bangles)
  • Donita Sparks (L7)
  • Janet Gardner (Vixen)
  • Siobhan Fahey (Shakespears Sister)
  • Vanity (Vanity 6)
  • Vix (We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It)
  • Naoko Yamano (Shonen Knife)
  • Wendy Melvoin (Wendy & Lisa)
  • Suzzy Roche (The Roches)
  • Debbie Harry (Blondie)

Soft Rock Female Singers of the 80s

The soft rock genre is a subgenre of rock music that emphasizes softer and more melodic sounds. Soft rock songs often deal with romantic or personal themes, and they typically have a mellower sound than other types of rock music.

The soft rock genre became popular in the 1970s, but it experienced a resurgence in the 1980s. This was due in part to the popularity of female soft rock singers such as Sheryl Crow, PJ Harvey, and Alanis Morissette. These women were responsible for some of the biggest hits of the decade, including “All I Wanna Do”, “As Long as You Follow”, and “Ironic”.

  • PJ Harvey
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Rita Coolidge
  • Christine McVie
  • Karla Bonoff
  • Jane Siberry
  • Jennifer Rush
  • Carly Simon
  • Kim Carnes
  • Bonnie Raitt

Black Female Rock Singers of the 80s

Not all great female rock singers of the 80s were white. In fact, there were many black female rock singers who made a significant impact during this time.

Of course, they had to deal with the racism and sexism that was prevalent in the music industry, but they persevered and made a name for themselves.

From Tina Turner to Whitney Houston, these women proved that black women could be just as successful as their white counterparts.

  • Tina Turner
  • Betty Davis
  • Joan Armatrading
  • Poly Styrene
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Grace Jones
  • Etta James
  • Joyce Kennedy
  • Lisa Kekaula
  • Donna Summer

Iconic Female Rock Singers of the 80s

What makes a singer iconic? It’s hard to say, but there are certain performers who have that je ne sais quoi that sets them apart from the rest. So, in this section, we present to you some of the most iconic female rock singers of the 80s.

These are the women who are considered legends in the music industry. They’re the performers who defined the sound and style of the decade, and their influence can still be felt today.

  • Grace Slick
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Courtney Love
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Shirley Manson
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Bonnie Tyler

Conclusion

So, there you have it folks, our list of the 100+ best female rock singers of the 80s. We hope you enjoyed reading it and that you found some new favorite artists.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so feel free to leave a comment below. And be sure to check out our other lists of the best female singers of all time.

Did we forget anyone? Who’s your favorite female rock singer of the 80s? Let us know in the comments!