1980 was a watershed year for women in rock music. At the same time, the men in metal, post-punk, new wave, and art rock made masterpieces like David Bowie’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), AC/DC’s Back in Black, Motörhead’s Ace of Spades, Joy Division’s Closer; there were brilliant debut releases from former Runaway Joan Jett, whose self-titled solo album was renamed and reissued the next year as Bad Reputation after its killer opener; the Pretenders, whose self-titled debut technically hit America in the final days of 1979 and landed in the U.K. in January; and London’s Girlschool, friends of Motörhead, whose debut Demolition is every bit as volatile as anything Lemmy’s group was selling that year. X, Blondie, and the B-52s showed how versatile punk could be, just as much as the Clash’s sprawling triple album Sandinista did.

Breakout artists like Kate Bush and Pat Benatar charted well with the singles “Babooshka” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” and impressed audiences with albums — see Kate’s Never for Ever and Pat’s Crimes of Passion — that would help to cement them as essential to that era’s sound. Pacific Northwest quartet Seafood Mama enjoyed a local hit in “Harden My Heart,” a showcase for front woman Rindy Ross’s impassioned vocals and sax accompaniment, later changing its name to Quarterflash and entering rotation on the fledgling MTV with a fiery video treatment for the early hit.

Read more…