All-Female Bands of the 1960s - Happy Women's History Month!
The Carrie Nations - a fictional band from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Everything apparently changed after The Beatles appeared on the scene. In the history of rock music, no other band seems likely to have inspired so many teenagers to form bands. Those bands were primarily comprised of boys but more than a few girls picked up guitars or drums and in some cases formed all-girl rock bands. Unfortunately, none of these rock pioneers even approached the level of popular success enjoyed by their male counterparts. Goldie & the Gingerbreads were probably the most successful and they're hardly household names. Today The Shaggs are probably the best-known albeit more for their reputation than actual qualities.
Perhaps few of the all-female rock bands of the 1960s made much of a lasting impression -- I would argue because few were allowed to. They could entertain with covers, possible whilst showing a bit of skin, and in most cases, cut a single or two -- but few existed long enough to develop more substantially. That's not to say that they didn't produce any music of merit, however, because there are some real gems.
Goldie & the Gingerbreads were formed in 1962 by Ginger Bianco, Margo Lewis and Goldie Zelkowitz. After a 1962 tour with Chubby Checker they added guitarist/singer Carol MacDonald. They were the first all-female band to sign to a major label, first to Decca in 1963 and then Atlantic in 1964. Their single, "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat," reached #25 in the UK . The recorded seven other singles through 1967 before breaking up.
The Cimmats formed in Lahti. Finland in 1963. In 1964 they performed on that country's Me Nuoret. The band was comprised of Ulla Laakkonen (guitar), Aila Toikkanen (guitar), Onerva "One" Niemelainen (bass), Arja Salminen (drums) and several singers including Leena Huovila. Ulla Juutilainen. and finally Pipsa Poykko.
They disbanded in 1967.
The Continental Co-ets formed in Fulda, Minnesota in 1963 and were comprised of Nancy Hofmann (bass), Mary Jo Hofmann. Vicki Steinman (drums), Carol Goins (guitar), and Carolyn Behr (guitar). They released only one single on IGL in 1965, "I Don't Love You No More," b/w “Melody of Junk” ;(the A-side was written by Goins and the B-side was a group effort) followed by "Let's Live for the Present" (Goins again) b/w "Ebb Tide" which was released by Get Hip Recordings in 1994! They gained a bit of a following in Canada and the Upper Midwest before disbanding in 1967.
The Liverbirds were a beat combo formed in 1963 in Liverpool. UK by Valerie Gell (vocals/guitar), Mary McGlory (vocals/bass), Sylvia Saunders (drums), Irene Green (vocals), and Sheila McGlory (guitar). The latter two soon left and were replaced by just one member, Pamela Birch (vocals/guitar). As with many of their beat peers, they achieved some success in Hamburg. Germany -- their cover of Bo Diddley 's "Diddley Daddy" reached #5 on the German charts. They released two albums, Star-Club Show 4 (1965) and More Of The Liverbirds (1966), both on Star-Club Records. They broke up in 1968, after a tour to Japan and all but Saunders settled in Germany permanently.
SUGAR & THE SPICES
Sugar and the Spices were a duo of Corky Casey (Al Casey 's ex-wife) and Carol Eddy (Duane Eddy 's ex-wife). They released "Bye Bye Baby" b/w "Do The Dog" on Stacy in October, 1963. A message was written on the 45, "SPECIAL NOTE: all girl group - no recording gimmicks" -- produced by Al Casey and Lee Hazelwood ." In 1964 they released "Boys Can Be Mean" b/w "Tollie" on Vee Jay . In 1965 they released a split single, "Have Faith in Me" b/w "Tomorrow (aka Tears)" -- a Brilliant Korners cover -- on Kent .