Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop and Rap

Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop and Rap

by Evelyn McDonnell

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Brings together music criticism, fan experience, and performers' first person accounts from more that 60 women writers for 1960s to the 1990s.


Brings together music criticism, fan experience, and performers' first person accounts from more that 60 women writers for 1960s to the 1990s.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This intelligently compiled, wide-ranging volume provides exciting evidence of women writers' inroads made over the past three decades into the still male-dominated field of popular music criticism. Pioneers such as 1960s New Yorker columnist Ellen Willis and Jazz & Pop editor Patricia Kennealy-Morrison (better known, tellingly, for her marriage to rock icon Jim) are grouped with younger counterparts, from novelist Mary Gaitskill to cultural critic bell hooks in sections broken down loosely by topic. In ``I Am the Band,'' female performers such as Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, offer touring testimony; critic Jaan Uhelszki, meanwhile, finds herself onstage with Kiss, makeup and all, for a 1975 Creem magazine assignment. The latter instance points up one of the book's most fascinating aspects: in a rock-and-roll world where boys wear lipstick and girls increasingly get to make lots of noise, the effects of gender on both performer and listener are far from straightforward. Many of Rock She Wrote's strongest pieces-Joan Morgan's story on her love/hate relationship with Ice Cube's misogynist rap; Lori Twersky's musings on familiar images of the ``female teenage audience'' as screechy and sex-crazed-find their writers at the intersection of conflicting reactions to the subjects at hand. A remarkable collection, Rock She Wrote makes clear both the difference women writers have brought to music writing and the impossibility of any attempt to nail that difference down once and for all. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Editors Powers (Village Voice) and McDonnell (Rolling Stone, Spin), accurately noting an absence of collected rock music criticism by women, proffer as remedy this compilation of alert, alive, and insightful commentaries. Sixty-three essays are corraled into seven proposed relationships of women to rock: participant, muse, midwife, boy-watcher, challenger, creatrix, and theorist. While the writings are almost without exception excellent, the contribution by working musicians is quite limited: Marianne Faithfull, Patti Smith, and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon are, in fact, the only readily identifiable artists. Thus, libraries specifically seeking first-person insider perceptions will prefer Liz Evans's somewhat more extensive interview collection, Women, Sex, and Rock'n' Roll: In Their Own Words (Routledge, 1995). And both Gillian Gaar's She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll (Seal Pr., 1992) and The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, & Rock & Roll (LJ 5/1/95) offer clear historical analyses of the female force within rock. Filling a less identifiable niche, Rock She Wrote nevertheless remains a unique gathering of critical voices and is recommended for cultural studies, women's studies, and larger popular music collections.Bill Piekarski, Southwestern Coll. Lib., Chula Vista, Cal.
Provides a brilliant mosaic of the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of 61 female musicians, singers, music journalists, novelists, poets, and cultural critics. Selections include Bell Hooks' look at Madonna's success; Patti Smith on Bob Dylan as a sex symbol; and super-groupie Pamela Des Barres' interview with Courtney Love. This paperback edition is an unabridged republication of the edition first published in New York 1995. Both authors are freelance writers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.17(h) x 1.07(d)

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