Ten women who shook my world*

In celebration of International Women’s Day, here’s some Youtube gold from some of my favourite women musical artists from the late 1980s and early 1990s. First up, Bilinda Butcher sings My Bloody Valentine‘s certified indie-dance crossover shredder, ‘Soon’.

Next up, Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson of Lush defeat all comers on ‘De-Luxe’ from their debut EP.

No list of women artists would be complete without mention of Kim Deal, here fronting her band The Breeders on ‘Cannonball’.

I couldn’t work out which song by Sonic Youth, featuring Kim Gordon on vocals, that I’d like to share. In the end I settled on ‘Bull In the Heather’ because a) it reigns and b) it reigns.

Now for a slight change of pace: the ‘haunting’ sounds of Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins singing ‘Iceblink Luck’. Actually, I’d never seen this video until just one second ago.

The sound quality on this one is not so great but just the sight of Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses swaying as she performs ‘Red Shoes’ live at Glastonbury actually made me cry the first time I watched it. And the second time, too.

Not to forget Aussie indie bands who kicked, here’s Clouds singing ‘Cloud Factory’, their first single.

I might be showing my age here, but it was either Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians or Tracey Chapman. I decided to go with Edie, simply because ‘What I am is what I am, are you what you are or what?’

Second to last, but by no means least, I faced a difficult choice between Enya and Sinéad O’Connor. You’ll be relieved to discover that I chose Sinéad, and that I chose her rendition of ‘She Moves Through the Fair’, a song that Simple Minds tragically butchered during the intro to their abominable ‘Belfast Child’. Plus, I really like the top she’s wearing in this clip.

Finally, perhaps fittingly, here’s The Sundays with Harriet Wheeler singing their breakout single, ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’. Gosh, 1990 seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?

Of course, there’s hundreds and thousands of women artists deserving of praise not just today but every day of the year. Comments, suggestions, recommendations?

* Actually now I think about it, it’s sixteen women who shook my world, but who’s counting.


  1. What an excellent playlist Davey.

    In the same vein I must thank PJ Harvey for Dry and Rid of Me, Bjork for Alarm Call, and Tori Amos for Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink. Departing the 90s I’d also like to point out the goodness of the Ting Tings and Clare Bowditch, Kirsty Stegwazi (oops back to the 90s) and Stereolab (unrepentent 90s now…).

    • Nice additions, Adam – PJ of course, Björk yes. Not so sure about Tori Amos, I was scarred by a particularly gruelling listening experience (no way I’ll ever describe that on this blog). But wow, Kirsty Stegwazi, that is a good one. Stereolab, naturally. ‘Random Transient Noisebursts and Announcements’ = pure gold. There’s just so many great women!

  2. Tanya Donelly. As a 20 year old I’d have liked to feed her tree. Is that a correct use of that metaphor?

    • Ah yes, T. Donelly. I thought I had her covered in Throwing Muses (for whom she only wrote a few – great – songs) but she probably deserves a mention on her own. I never really got into Belly much, though. I think correct use of the metaphor would be ‘I would have liked to be there when she fed her tree’. Or something?

  3. Well i was reading a lot of sandman comics and being an emo firstyear uni student first year out of home, so tori amos worked. but she’s not for everyone, especially people who’d listened to joni mitchell beforehand (ie, not me).

  4. Thanks for an excellent playlist. The one that really shook my world meaning that I hopelessly had fallen in love with after having seen her performing live in 1990 is Harriet Wheeler. That night she took my breath away almost not believing my ears and eyes as if an angel had taken some leave from heaven and came to give us mere mortals a celestial treat. Up and till today I never heard a more splendiferous voice than Harriet’s, check out my youtube channel totally devoted to Harriet and The Sundays.

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