Friday, June 14, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "There is Nothing Like a Dame" Edition

So I was saddened to hear that Gallic chantoosie/major babe Francoise Hardy passed away last Tuesday at age 80.

Attentive readers are aware that I have a particular fondness for all those existential French popstar gals of the late Fifties and Sixties (where have you gone, Juliette Greco?)...

...and Hardy was one of my particular favorites. For obvious reasons.

I mean, if you had to be as good looking as Brian Jones to even have a chance with her...

That said, in all honesty, Hardy's music...

...was no better or worse than the rest of the commercial French pop purveyed by her ye-ye contemporaries, which is to say there's a reason none of that stuff ever made it to the Anglo charts (with the exception of Jane Birkin and the overtly smutty "Je T'Aime," which was essentially a novelty record). But I loved her anyway.

Which brings us, as you may have suspected, to the weekend's business. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Beatles English-language rock/pop/country/soul/folk gal singer is...???

No arbitrary rules, but by post-Beatles we mean, obviously, someone who came to public prominence AFTER the release of the hit recording "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and the invention of the blow dryer.


Oh, and my choices (one of which I suspect may surprise you -- hell, it surprised me!) for favorite are...a tie!!!

Beginning wth...

Chrissie Hynde, of The Pretenders!!!

Who, as you can hear in the above clip, has the uncanny ability to call to mind ALL the greatest diverse Sixties girl singers who preceded her -- from the wistfully teenage Claudine Clark lamenting that she can't go see the "Party Lights" to the imperiously regal Sandy Denny as she bemoans the fate of the murdered adulterous "Matty Groves" -- in just about about every rock/pop genre imaginable.

And then, of course...there's the late Rachel Nagy of The Detroit Cobras!!!

And why?


Seriously, as I said when I first posted that video in 2007, "is there another woman on the planet who can make the three syllable phrase 'cha-cha-cha' absolutely drip with lust?"

I think not.

Anyway, those are my nominees. What would YOURS be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!


John K said...

I love the Brian Jones photo. That said I have 3 nominees: Maddy Prior, Aimee Mann, and Karla Kane of the Corner Laughers.

steve simels said...

I am unfamiliar with Kane. I will do the research immediately.

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure if criteria here is for musical ability or persona and appearance but i will offer up Nico and Linda Thompson.

steve simels said...

Just in case anybody's wondering, today's post is meant at least partly tongue in cheek.

Hope that clears things up.

mistah charley, sb, ma, phd, jsps said...

kate bush

the wilson sisters of heart

and a particular rendition of a mccartney song i've often returned to -
fiona apple's "let me roll it" with the roots - in honour of sir paul's seventieth birthday - really gets me

Gummo said...

You think she has the most frakable voice in all of human history?

So you want to inject high-pressure streams of water into it and extract its natural gases?


MJConroy said...

Sharon Jones.
What a badass she was!
Former prison guard at Rikers, battled through cancer and performed bald as a result.
I was hooked when I read an interview with her and she talked about getting started in her singing career and having to do bar mitzvahs, etc. Some punk asked if she was going to sing disco and she said something along the lines of no, I oughta whop you upside your head for asking!

Anonymous said...

Susan Cowsill
Skeeter Davis (her record w/ NRBQ is getting a re-release)
Marti Jones
Vanessa from Pylon

There's a great video of the Cobras doing "Leave My Kitten Alone." Rachel looks so out on the edge you knew she wouldn't be around long.

Bob in IL

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, I thought of this very subject this morning on the long drive to work. It's notable because I favor male singers, but, oddly, about half of my top-ten (in no particular order) are gals.
Chrissie Hynde
Lucinda Williams (in her prime)
the late, great Mimi Parker
Johnette Napolitano
Sandy Denny

C in California

steve simels said...

C in California:

I am unfamiliar with Mimi Parker. Thanks for the tip…

Anonymous said...

I second Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny
nee - Sandy. One of the Great Voices

rob (obviously a huge Fairport fan)

Anonymous said...

May be not so well known but June Tabor. There are more but jusy wanted mention her.

Anonymous said...

Like Sandy, Mimi made the saddest music beautiful. Here's an example, and if it doesn't work for you, then she won't work for you.
C in California

Alzo said...

Aw, come on, Steve. Hardy was definitely a cut above the rest. Exhibit A, this perfect pop song:

Alzo said...

What, no love for Mariska Veres or Debby Harry?
How about a vote for Sally Timms?
Some people might vote for Nina Hagen as worst, but I love her... so I'll send that vote to Madge.

ALZO said...

Sorry to throw a wrench into this fun but here goes: Eva Cassidy FULL STOP

Anonymous said...

Nina Hagen, Gladys Knight, Julie Driscoll, Esther Phillips, Janis Joplin, June Tabor, Genya Ravan.

steve simels said...

What— no love for Grace Slick?😎

danny1959 said...

Julie Driscoll, Martha Davis from The Motels, Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde.
I will also second Sharon Jones and add that the election of The Idiot in 2016 literally killed her.

Allan Rosenberg said...

Dorothy Ellis - Drill, Daddy Drill.

End of discussion!

Captain Al

John Fowler said...

Kate Pierson + Cindy Wilson

Neko Case

Thanks to mistah charley for the link to the Fiona Apple cover video, Fiona gets a vote from me as well

getawaygoober said...

Maria McKee (Lone Justice, solo)... Bryan MacLean's (Love) sister.

Anonymous said...

I forgot Sonja Kristina of Curved Air


Anonymous said...

what about Lesley Gore?

Anonymous said...

No Steve, tongue in cheek does not clear it up.

steve simels said...

What — no love for Emmylou or Allison Krause?😎

M_Sharp said...

Evie Sands - great blue-eye soul singer.
She shoulda been a contender- she released the originals of "Angel In The Morning", "Take Me for a Little While", and "I Can't Let Go".
Here's a fantastict performance of "Run Home To Your Mama"-

steve simels said...

M Sharp —

I was gonna put Evie at number three but i forgot.😎

BG said...

I'm surprised at some of the ones not on the list: Joan Jett (for her rock chops), Bonnie Raitt, Cyndi Lauper, Dusty Springfield, Dolly Parton ...

Allan Rosenberg said...

Isn't anybody listening?

Dorothy Ellis - Drill, Daddy Drill.

End of discussion!

Captain Al

ChrisE said...


... Amy Winehouse, Laura Nyro, Nancy Sinatra, Loretta Lynn.

steve simels said...

Captain Al --


Dorothy doesn't make the cut.

Anonymous said...

Dorothy Ellis always makes the cut. Start drilling!

Captain Al

edward said...

Marianne Faithfull - the post Broken English years (not everyone has to be as clear voiced as Joan Baez)
Rachel Sweet - The ultimate jailbait voice
Charlene Carter - for a little southern twang
Clairy Browne - maybe too much like Amy Winehouse, but still alive.

Anonymous said...

I made a mistake -

Top link on Lou Ann Barton should have been this which is more in a Power Pop vein


Anonymous said...

Girls this girl would like to notch

Storm Large


Anonymous said...

Stacy Michelle

Yep, that's Terry Reid with her


Anonymous said...

Shirley Manson - love the way she fucked the mike and the way she looked in 1996

Chrissy Amphlett

Cherie Currie

Suzi Quatro

Marianne Faithfull Something Better/Sister Morphine Era 1968-1969

Jenni Muldaur

And all the obvious ones if these aren't already


Chrissie Hynde - especially when singing 977 and smashing her tambourine into two pieces. One half left in her hand, the other in my mini-skirted lap. 1994-11-12 Wiltern Theatre taping from the pit. You can hear the rattle of the tambourine's zills as it landed in lapland. Got a great DAT even though it was just before a mic upgrade.

Anonymous said...

Rickie Lee Jones

Susan Tedeschi

Connie Smith

Toni Price

Hope Sandoval

Clare Torry

Essra Mohawk

Lydia Pense

Jennifer Warnes

Anne McCue

Karen Dalton

Odd. No Hoffs or Slick? Debbie Harry? Donna Summer? Stevie Nicks?


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Maria McKee (what it was like the first time my old man gave it to me - when the walls were moving and the earth was quaking and I was freefalling thru space all flushed and fluttered on a rocket ride to a higher plane)