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Old 03-08-2019, 06:39 PM
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Songs by women about other women


How many songs can you think of written by women in honor of other women?

I got to thinking about this listening to the great song "Suddenly I See" by British singer-songwriter KT Tunstall. She sings of her admiration for and inspiration by another woman and desire to emulate her. Tunstall was inspired to write the song by the cover picture of Patti Smith's Horses. More songs like this?

Happy International Women's Day!
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:51 PM
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Joni Mitchell's Amelia, in a way about Amelia Earheart.
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:55 PM
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Another one that comes to mind immediately is Aretha Franklin's and Annie Lennox' "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves".

ETA: On review, I see that Johanna is looking for songs about individual women, at least I guess so. But I let my post stand as a statement about feminine power in general.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:09 PM
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One more. Sonic's Youth's Tunic (Song For Karen), Kim Gordon's ode to Karen Carpenter.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:13 PM
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Jolene, by Dolly Parton
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:13 PM
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We Are Family, Sister Sledge
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:30 PM
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Courtney Barnett has a few. “Ode to Odetta” (I’m assuming the guitarist Odetta). “Pickles from the Jar” is about her partner Jen Cloher, and “Boxing Day Blues” is to her. Jen has written some songs about Courtney but I’ve never listened to her albums so I don’t know which.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:35 PM
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the brilliant green - FUNNY GIRLFRIEND!!...Tommy singing about her friend, just as it says on the tin.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:07 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5pKIFbUCI

Joan Baez - In The Quiet Morning
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:56 PM
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Jolene, by Dolly Parton
That was the first thing that came to mind for me as well. But I don't think I'd consider it to be "in honor of other women". She compliments Jolene, but Jolene is a huge threat and the singer is terrified of her.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:13 PM
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Tinpan Orange - Song For Frida Kahlo
Rita Wilson - Joni
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:16 PM
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Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote the song "Family Hands" in honor of the women who raised her musical partner John Jennings, according to his obituary.


It's a beautiful folk-ish song on her little-known first album "Hometown Girl." It didn't have any hits, but it's full of thoughtful, down-tempo folk songs.

Last edited by Alley Dweller; 03-08-2019 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:20 PM
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Kate Bush

Joanni - from Aerial about Joan of Arc
In the Warm Room - from Lionheart
Lily - from The Red Shoes
Lyra - from The Golden Compass soundtrack
Mrs. Bartolozzi from Aerial

Her most famous song is about a woman, Wuthering Heights, can hardly be said to be admiring.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:48 PM
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That was the first thing that came to mind for me as well. But I don't think I'd consider it to be "in honor of other women". She compliments Jolene, but Jolene is a huge threat and the singer is terrified of her.
Sure, but even as a threat the narrator honors her. She is perfect in the narrators eyes, she just pleads she not use her charms on the man she cares for.

I would say that counts.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EinsteinsHund View Post
Another one that comes to mind immediately is Aretha Franklin's and Annie Lennox' "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves".

ETA: On review, I see that Johanna is looking for songs about individual women, at least I guess so. But I let my post stand as a statement about feminine power in general.
1. I love the holy heck out of that song, 2. I guess I was thinking of individuals, but I like your example so much, sure it counts.

ETA: Everybody's posts are great examples of what I was looking for! Thanks!

Last edited by Johanna; 03-09-2019 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drad dog View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5pKIFbUCI

Joan Baez - In The Quiet Morning
Mimi Fariña's lament for Janis Joplin, recorded by Mimi's sister Joan Baez.* Good call, I was going to post this one too.

I guess I was thinking of songs about specific real women, often but not necessarily in admiration, but let's open up the thread for various interpretations. I'll learn more that way.

*Probably everybody recognizes my avatar picture, but FTR that's Joan Baez.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:57 AM
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Australian folk singer Judy Small is probably not hugely famous outside of (or even in) this country, but she's written simply masses of songs honouring women, of which my favourites are A Heroine of Mine (about philanthropist Jessie Street) and Bridget Evans (about the Greenham Common women)
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:08 AM
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Ani difranco has written a ton of them, mostly about her relationships with other women. I'll try to come up with a list of songs, but the woman is so damn prolific it feels like she comes out with new albums quicker than should be possible.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:24 AM
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Patti Smith's cover of "Gloria" comes to mind, as does "Debbie Denise", a song she wrote for Blue Öyster Cult about a fling she had.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:07 AM
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In the classical world, Ethel Smyth's March of the Women

And Hildegard of Bingen wrote a number of variants on the Ave Maria
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:36 AM
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Cassie by Flyleaf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5X0cWsC8rY
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:43 AM
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"Caroline" by Concrete Blonde (more complex than complimentary)

Jill Sobule had several--"I Kissed a Girl"; "Margaret"; "Karen by Night". Again, more complex than complimentary.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:58 AM
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Jolene, by Dolly Parton
That’s the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the thread title, but having read the OP, it’s not really honoring Jolene.
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Old 03-09-2019, 11:08 AM
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Jill Sobule had several--"I Kissed a Girl"...
She introduced that song by thanking all the confused Katy Perry fans for buying her song.
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Old 03-09-2019, 11:22 AM
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Joni Mitchell's Amelia, in a way about Amelia Earheart.
Electricity by Joni Mitchell is about a woman who is trying to fix an electrical circuit. (I love this song, BTW. It's in my top-five list of favorite Mitchell songs.)
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:38 PM
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Anneke van Giersbergen - Yalin; haunting song about a friend she lost to suicide.
https://youtu.be/P8Ij2YzTFI8
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Old 03-09-2019, 02:22 PM
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"Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"—Sophie B Hawkins
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:33 PM
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The first one that popped into my head was Adia by Sarah McLaughlin.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5wW8N4pt3U

I also thought of one that a woman wrote about herself, Tough by Kellie Pickler. I think it fits with the idea of celebrating strength in women.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BLOEqQW-Bmo
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:13 PM
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Any parent of daughters will appreciate Martina McBride's country tearjerker "In My Daughter's Eyes": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2SDMOrTZ8U

Sara Bareilles's "She Used To Be Mine," from the musical Waitress, is a recent favorite of mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53GIADHxVzM
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:43 AM
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Natalie Merchant wrote her song Wonder about a girl who was born with physical handicaps, whom Merchant had met when she was a teenager, and worked at a day camp for special-needs children.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:48 AM
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All great answers, friends.

Hey, speaking of Patti Smith's Horses and sisters, you remind me, the song "Kimberly" is addressed to Patti's little sister, about holding her as a baby, with terrific tenderness and affection.

Quote:
And I feel like just some misplaced Joan Of Arc
And the cause is you lookin' up at me

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Old 03-10-2019, 04:41 AM
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Stevie Nicks wrote a hell of a lot of them, comparatively speaking, for Fleetwood Mac. I cannot think of any other names as big as her who have so many songs written/sung by women, about other women.

Rhiannon

Sara

Gold Dust Woman

Gypsy

Stevie Nicks didn't just sing them, she wrote them all.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:13 AM
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Stevie Nicks wrote a hell of a lot of them, comparatively speaking, for Fleetwood Mac. I cannot think of any other names as big as her who have so many songs written/sung by women, about other women.

Rhiannon

Sara

Gold Dust Woman

Gypsy

Stevie Nicks didn't just sing them, she wrote them all.
I love Stevie. I had Sara played at my twin’s funeral. I don’t think there’s a more powerful female singer/songwriter than Stevie Nicks out there right now.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:14 AM
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Mary Jane by Alanis Morissette is extremely moving. Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin is quite haunting too.

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Old 03-10-2019, 09:38 AM
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It's not evident in the title, but "Red Bike" by Wendy and Lisa is about a woman.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:55 AM
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"Ring of Keys" from Fun Home.

Other songs from the show, like "Changing my Major"
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:20 PM
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How many songs can you think of written by women in honor of other women?
Well, I think it's to honour women rather than a woman, but how about Hymn to Her by the Pretenders?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwdZPzz2qLE

Surprising fact - assuming the Wiki entry is correct, this wasn't written by Chrissie Hynde.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hymn_to_Her

j
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:10 PM
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We Are Family, Sister Sledge
This was written by Nile Edwards and Nile Rodgers.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:07 AM
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A couple of Indigo Girls songs stand out in this regard.

"Virginia Woolf" by Emily Saliers has the feeling I brought in the OP of being inspired by an illustrious woman.
Quote:
they published your diary
and that's how i got to know you
the key to the room of your own and a mind without end
and here's a young girl
on a kind of a telephone line through time
and the voice at the other end comes like a long lost friend
"Nuevas Señoritas" by Amy Ray is a tender elegy to two indigenous women activists who'd recently been murdered, Ingrid Washinawatok (Menominee) and Marsha Gómez (Choctaw).
Quote:
and i saw them
drifting out over the night sky
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:24 AM
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Joan Jett remade "Crimson and Clover" but didn't change the pronouns so it is still about a woman.
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:29 PM
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Sweet Honey In The Rock / Bernice Johnson Reagon: Joan Little (aka Joanne Little)

Sweet Honey In The Rock: Fannie Lou Hamer
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:44 PM
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Sweet Honey In The Rock / Bernice Johnson Reagon: Joan Little (aka Joanne Little)

Sweet Honey In The Rock: Fannie Lou Hamer
Loving these. <3
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:57 PM
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Petra Berger is a Dutch classical crossover lyrical soprano who wrote and sang an entire album of songs about historical women. Eternal Woman came out in 2001. It's still unknown and unavailable in America; I had to order a copy sent from Europe.

The songs and their referents:
1. Marie José, the last Queen of Italy: "Terra Promessa"
2. Marie Antoinette: "Close Your Eyes (He'll Be Just Fine)," based on Fauré's Pavane
3. Boudicca: "Boadicea"
4. Mata Hari: "The Girl Looking into Me," based on Borodin's "Gliding Dance of the Maidens" from the Polovtsian dances from Prince Igor
5. Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi") of Austria: "If I Had a Wish"
6. Mary Magdalene: "When He Spoke My Name," based on the Adagio movement from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major
7. Juana la Loca, 16th-century Queen of Spain: "Eres Todo para Mí"
8. Joan of Arc: "I'm Coming Home"
9. Catherine the Great: "Now's the Time"
10. Mary, Queen of Scots: "Still a Queen (In My End Is My Beginning)," based on Handel's Sarabande from the Keyboard Suite in D minor
11. Cleopatra: "All for Love"

A whole album's worth of satisfaction for the intent of this thread! Excellent music too.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:10 PM
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This was written by Nile Edwards and Nile Rodgers.
Bernard Edwards. I didn't even realize I made this mistake and I've come back to this thread plenty of times.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:47 PM
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Bernard Edwards. I didn't even realize I made this mistake and I've come back to this thread plenty of times.
Frankly, I overlooked it too or autocorrected it in my mind somehow. Anyway, it's clear that it was the disconnect between finger muscle control and brain we all have from time to time
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:21 PM
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Stevie Nicks wrote a hell of a lot of them, comparatively speaking, for Fleetwood Mac. I cannot think of any other names as big as her who have so many songs written/sung by women, about other women.

Rhiannon

Sara

Gold Dust Woman

Gypsy

Stevie Nicks didn't just sing them, she wrote them all.
Great examples. I actually named my second daughter Sara because of that song "Sara, you're the poet in my heart, never change, and don't you ever start." Love, love, love Nicks. She sings, writes, and FEELS them all.

Just One Of The Guys by Jenny Lewis comes to mind and also Burn Chile by Beth Hart and also A Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos.

All superb songs.
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:39 PM
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Petra Berger followed up Eternal Woman with a similar album titled Mistress (2003), about paramours and about women who got cheated on. One song in the latter category is about Hillary Clinton!
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:26 AM
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Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait" was about Orlando, the Virginia Woolf hero/heroine, born a man but became a woman.

"Louise" by Bonnie Raitt.

"Ruby Red Dress" by Helen Reddy.

"The Prodigal Daughter" by Michelle Shocked.
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