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She's A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll
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She's A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Gillian G. Gaar’s critically acclaimed, breakthrough book, the first full history of women in rock and pop ever written, became an instant classic upon its publication in 1992. Arranged chronologically and told with impassioned detail, She’s A Rebel charts a half century of women performers from the early R and B singers of the 1950s, to the girl groups, Motown acts, folks ...more
Paperback, Expanded Second Edition, 496 pages
Published November 29th 2002 by Seal Press (first published October 1992)
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Jill Hutchinson
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what I expected of this book but was disappointed. I thought that the author would spend much more time on the first girl groups/solo singers that broke into the Top 40 from the R&B rankings which were unfortunately called "race records". Black groups and solo acts were limited to black audiences and their songs were "covered" by white singers (and were really terrible). But the genius of the these talented ladies eventually captured white teens and rock and roll music finally came ...more
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Any book that gives a shout out to Poison Ivy Rorschach gets 4 stars. She's the reason I picked up a guitar. I got to tell her that once too after a show. Cool. ...more
Lisa LaCarrubba
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My one complaint is that I checked She's a Rebel out of the library and I wish I had bought it to use as a reference.

As the History of Women in Rock makes clear, the history if women's contribution to the genre is the history of rock music itself. The book is informative for anyone interested in the rock music but also insightful into the female perspective. Garr includes all the major female stars and influencers as well as minor stars, lesser known performers and a large number of women who wo
Cheryl Zaleski
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Dry, dry, dry... reads like an encyclopedia of names and dates. Tries to do too much within its space limitations. And automatically gets at least one star taken off for not mentioning Pink, one of the foremost voices in the past twenty years for strong women taking control of their lives (In 2009, Billboard magazine named Pink the #1 pop musician of the decade,and in 2012 VH1 named Pink #10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music), while giving up to four pages to artists such as Laura ...more
Alicia Snyder
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
mom bought me this as a teenager. it made me immesaurably happy, and i dreamed that one day, as she had written in the preface, that i would be in the sequel edition!
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: a bored fem-centric music lover (I hope there are better books out there on the subject)
I really really dig women that make rock music. I'm particularly fascinated by the earlier years, especially the late 50s/60s girl group stuff (though, yes, they were just tools of good producers and awesome songwriters [some of them actually women] for the most part, but man, some of them chicks had real talent). I was hoping this would be a little more inspirational or at least informative than it was. This was just really general, though it did provide an interesting reference or tidbit or tw ...more
Gerry LaFemina
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although the book often gets redundant: the stories get similar afterwhile (that said, the role of women in rock music AND in American society hasn't changed significantly), there's a lot to be said for its sheer comprehensive nature. Starting with the founding mothers of rock n roll, and reaching to well past riot grrl, this book looks at most of the female names in rock, pop, r&b, and hip hop. Better still, Gaar also chronicles the role of female critics, producers, promoters, and more, remind ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty good. fairly standard, dry history of women in rock. Looses points from me for not mentioning Carol Kaye the amazing session bass player from LA who is on almost every single recording made in the 60's. she also was a hugely influential teacher of bass with hundreds of books about how to play bass. I can understand overlooking lots of different folks in the 80's and 90's when there were more women in rock, but to miss someone behind the scenes in the early days seems a mistake. I wonder i ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think there are a lot of important musicians in this book, and I did learn a few things about them, but it's a dry read and I found myself skipping around to the women I wanted to learn about, rather than reading it straight through. When the author got to the Spice Girls, I put the book away and returned it to the library.

Girls to the Front, Hunger Makes Me a A Modern Girl, Rat Girl, are all WAY better reads. Check them out if you haven't.
Read for a paper (on "the archetype of the 'bad girl' in pop music"), along with Reynolds/Press _The Sex Revolts_ and a lot of Bikini Kill and Reverend Horton Heat lyric sheets. I remember it being not as rigorous or thorough as I wanted - maybe I couldn't find some obscure all-female Swedish grind band? - but ten years on, it's still one of the only credible "women in rock" books on the shelves. ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
There is a great book waiting to be written about women in pop music. This is not that book. It's certainly an informative read but is miles away from being entertaining in any way. She covered the rock & roll in great depth but left out the sex and drugs. And let's face it isn't that what everyone looks for in a book about pop music? ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Awesome book! Gaar presents a pretty comprehensive and entertaining history of women in rock and roll. I loved that she not only focused on women artists, but equally focused on the history of women in rock and roll production (engineers, journalists, producers).
Todd Souvignier
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great book, vast scope, and excellent taste in subjects. not enough material about THE SHANGRI-LAS, but double extra style points for referencing "The Boy Looked At Johnny" (Burchill and Parsons). ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Scholarly and definitive book on women in rock music from 1950s-2000. More appropriate as a textbook for a college course.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A little dry in parts, but over all a good reference.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Most Excellent -- but I confess I liked Simon Reynolds' book better -- The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll ...more
Axl Peralta
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is the best encyclopedia for lovers of rock music and to discover groups that never knew existed but are worth knowing
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I haven't re-read it lately but I'm looking at it on my bookshelf and I remember thinking it was really a great book. ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
had to pick and choose who to read about. I think only about a 1/4 of it was ladies I care about.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Yet another book used for my unfinished Master's Thesis. A comprehensive guide to the history of women in the Rock and Roll world. Covers motown, teen idols, to punk. Pretty awesome read. ...more
Jan 01, 2009 added it
i've learnt that women's are truly rocking as well. he he he!! ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite artists/singers tend to be female or female presenting so I was delighted to see this book on my friend's bookshelf and promptly asked if I could borrow it.

This is a well researched book on titular topic. However, at some points I felt like I was reading a "college textbook". I was able to make a list of artists to check out.

The edition I read was published in 1992 so it only goes up to that point.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I learned quite a bit from this book, and was able to find some new (old) artists I wasn't aware of before.
Not only chronicling women singers/bands in rock, this extensive history also tells the behind-the-scenes accounts of producers, sound engineers, label owners...this is a fascinating account all around.
Well worth the read for music or history buffs.
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I write regularly about music, entertainment, and travel. I enjoy taking pictures for my articles and books as well. My very first book was "She's A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll," first published in 1992, and updated in 2002; Yoko Ono wrote the book's preface, and it still gives me a thrill to see her name on the cover. Other areas of expertise include Nirvana, the Beatles, and Elvis ...more

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