Friday, February 25, 2011
Alternative music radio station WTMD-FM recently sponsored a pledge-drive, week-long marathon of The Top 500 Desert Island Songs of All Time. (Listeners were asked to submit the five songs they'd want on a desert island, and the radio station compiled them into a play list).
I was surprised that, in the Top Ten, there's not a single woman (unless you count The Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth, who may or may not be singing background vocals).
In the top 50, the only female solo is Etta James doing "At Last." In the top 100, there are only four female soloists/women-fronted bands: James, Brandi Carlile, Adele, and Joni Mitchell—singing "A Case of You" which is one of my least favorite JM songs. (There's also a John Prine/Bonnie Raitt duet of "Angel From Montgomery").
I can understand why there is no Lady Gaga, but how can there be no Aretha Franklin in these 500 songs? (Even Madonna made it in at no. 404, with "Live to Tell").
With the station's past theme marathons, like the 897 Greatest Albums of All Time and 897 Greatest Artists Countdown ), you expect the old standbys—Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd—to be in the top 20. But wouldn't you miss female voices on a desert island?
When I see lists like this, I get a little depressed. It seems like women have been singing their hearts out all these years, but no one is listening.