Meaning, the first all-female rock/pop band of any importance…and also I’d say “mostly female” counts (female singer, additional female members, one guy at the most).
Assuming by “band” you’re not counting vocal groups like the Shirelles, I’d say probably Goldie and the Gingerbreads.
It’s hard to disagree with Goldie, unless you insist of a group of more “importance.” That would probably be Fanny, the first all-female group to be signed to a major label and put out an album.
We talked a lot about this in the first female rock guitarist thread.
Would the Ronnettes count?
I don’t have a cite for this, but I remember reading that the Go-Go’s were the first all female band (did all the singing, playing and songwriting) to have a Top 20 hit.
The Chantels (1957) predated the Shirelles (1958) by a few months, and the Ronettes (1963) by a few years. But these were all-girl singing groups. It’s doubtful that the instrument players providing background were females.
I’ll ride along witrh wolf_meister’s Go-Go’s until somebody proves it wrong.
The Runaways first album was released in 1976, and I’m pretty sure they played their own instruments…
…or consider The Shaggs. Philsophy of the World released 1969. Assuming you consider them musicians.
There’s a very good case for Goldy and the Gingerbreads and I think an equally compelling case for Fanny (which is the group that immediately came to my mind). In spite of their popularity I don’t think the “Girl Groups” count as they were singing groups and not bands – plus as opposed to being “Rock” they were closer in tone and appeal to “Pop” even though they all sprang from the fertile soil of soul and R&B.
Good call, ddgryphon. According to this site you are a winnah!
“Formed in 1963, at a time when the very idea of women playing their own instruments in rock bands was unheard of, Goldie and The Gingerbreads, whose pioneering spirit and significant contribution to the evolution of women in music we honor today, stand out among all the other “girl groups” of that era: they played just as well as they sang.”
I did read the Goldie and the Gingerbreads article before I made the first posting. They would definitely qualify as an all-female rock band of importance and way ahead of their time.
The reason I made my posting was to offer a different and much more stringent standard of quantifying matters. The OP mentioned that the group had to be “of any importance”. Perhaps there was an all female rock band in 1961 but they never achieved fame outside of their home town?
So, based upon the wording of the OP there could be several answers to this question. But be that as it may, I think Goldie and the Gingerbreads is a good choice.
Sounds to me like Goldie and the Gingerbreads win for first true all-female rock band, and the Go-Gos get an honorable mention for having the first top 20 hit…and the Dopers came through in spectacular fashion once again. Thanks!