Wednesday, April 08, 2009

To A Girl On Her Birthday

My wonderful friend, Kath, is having a birthday today. She is, among other things, full of surprises.

One evening we were standing in her kitchen listening to the radio while she cooked something delectable and a song came on. In all likelihood it was from the Footloose soundtrack. It was definitely Heart. I remarked about these fine rocking chicks of our youth and Kath giggled and replied, "I've never told you? I don't believe that women can really rock." She of her rocking goodness, she with her vast knowledge of all things both rock and roll, she of the rock solidity didn't think chicks could rock? I didn't have much to say. I have no knowledge base from which to speak and was so knocked off my mark I couldn't even fake it. We spoke of cheese and wine and dogs with bad attitudes and I'll bet she doesn't even remember it happened.

This morning on the train I was thinking of Kath, it being her birthday and the celebration thereof being the light at the end of my dreary day (it's snowing y'all, that shit ain't funny). I had my iPod on and was dozing on the train when some slapdick wanders into the car and starts droning on about how he's here to witness that Jesus blah blah blah, saving, soul, eggs, bunnies, fishcakes. I don't know, I just knew that I didn't want to hear even one little monotone syllable more of it or I was going to get angry and my day didn't need angry. I flipped the switch on the iPod and scrolled the volume up to 11 and what to my wondering ears should appear? The incomparable Ms. Deborah Harry belting out my childhood favorite, Call Me. There was no angry and there might even have been a little seat dancing and I didn't have to bear witness to anything except the wonder that is Blondie.

So, I have this to say to you on your birthday my dear friend, "Happy Birthday!" and "Really? Not even Debbie Harry?" I'll see you tonight.


  1. What?! Barracuda is not rockin'? It definitely rocks. And if she saw me playing air guitar while singing it, Kath would have to agree.

  2. I have to disagree with your friend, Kath, but Happy Birthday to her, and I hope you have a great time celebrating.

    All those women are great rockers. Stevie Nicks...Debbie Harry...the list goes on and on.

  3. Heart? On the Footloose soundtrack? Unless you count Ann Wilson on Almost Paradise but that's not really a rockin' song...
    But whatever. So not the point.

    Happy Birthday, Kath!

  4. Maybe she meant that those women couldn't really rock.

    I love Debbie and Blondie, but I don't think they exactly rock. "Call Me" certainly doesn't. It was a disco song. "One Way or Another", maybe. And Debbie was "just" the singer. She didn't wield the axe. Stevie Nicks? Definitely does not rock.

    Chicks who rock? Howzabout Joan Jett? Howzabout Chrissie Hynde? The Breeders? Sleater-Kinney? PJ Harvey?

    Serious rockers, all.

  5. What about Pat Benatar?


    Did I make Kathy's point or dispute it?

  6. Thanks for the nice post but I must clarify. There are VERY FEW women who rock. Most are there to look pretty and don't even write their own songs or play instruments. Women "rockers" also rarely exhibit their own inherent rock attitude a la male rockers such as Ramones or even Morrissey (as effeminate as he is). They are just copying male rockers' attitudes, which is unoriginal and hello, men do it better!

    Your point is well taken that there are men less rockin' than women. Select iconic goddesses such as Chrissie Hynde, Siouxsie Sioux, and Joan Jett do rock in my book. Debbie Harry is way awesome but is more of a studio confection than a real rocker. I categorize her with ladies like Kate Bush, Kirsty MacColl, and Teena Marie--true originals who are not technically rockers.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I must clarify!! Thanks for coming last night...hope you got to feeling better....

  7. Don't apologize, clarifying is what it's all about. You know me, I don't know half enough about music, I've got a lot of learning to do. That's why I'm loving this discussion.

    I'm fine now. I think I forget that when I'm eating aggressively "well" I can't binge on the rich stuff and not pay for it. HATE that. I'm totally fine and had a wonderful time, just hate that I couldn't stay longer.

  8. Anonymous10:43 PM

    I guess the verb "to rock" has a spectrum of meaning, depending on the person assessing a bit of music.

    I happen to think Ani DiFranco rocks.

  9. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Okay I'd throw out the usual suspects with Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and even Lita Ford, but my best argument would still be Aileen -