She Bop
The Definitive History Of Women In Popular Music: Revised And Updated 25th Anniversary Edition
Lucy O'Brien

Published November 6th 2020
ISBN 9781911036678
6 x 8.5 in (150 x 215mm)
$22.95 / £14.95

“It will make you want to form a band, it will make you angry, it will make you laugh, and it will educate you.”

“This book is a joy on many levels: O’Brien enthuses about music so elegantly that one immediately has to seek out the records she describes, and she forces you to reassess the exploitative images of female songwriters and musicians that were, and still are, being used every day.”

“Dip in anywhere and you’ll instantly find yourself drawn into the rich world of female artists and their creative experience, personal struggles, and wide-ranging opinions. What unites us and what divides us.”

“In the beginning there was She Bop: the comprehensive and entertaining music herstory. This new edition of Lucy O’Brien’s essential book includes explorations of gender identity that have bubbled to the surface in recent times. Every music fan needs this book.”

“Anybody who has shoved a bulging sock down their pants before picking up a guitar should read this book. Prick is something that will happen to your finger if you practice enough.”


Drawing on more than 270 original interviews with female artists and women working behind the scenes in A&R, marketing, music publishing, and production, She Bop presents a feminist history of women in popular music, from 1920s blues to the present day. Talking to iconic artists from Eartha Kitt and Nina Simone to Debbie Harry and Beyoncé, acclaimed author Lucy O’Brien charts how women have negotiated ‘old boy’ power networks to be seen and to get their music heard.

This revised edition updates that story through many fresh interviews and new perspectives. Since She Bop was first published in 1995, digital downloading has transformed the music landscape. But has the issue of gender inequality changed too? In a new introduction and closing chapter, O’Brien celebrates the rise of unique women such as Lizzo and Billie Eilish, who are bursting through and creating new possibilities for female artists, while also looking at the struggles of artists like Kesha, and wondering whether the pop industry has had its #MeToo moment yet.

Published to celebrate the original book’s 25th anniversary – and in a year that also marks 50 years of Women’s Liberation – this new She Bop will appeal to a huge cross-section of readers, from music fans to the LGBT audience and women of all generations.


LUCY O’BRIEN is a writer, academic, and broadcaster. She co-wrote It Takes Blood And Guts, the new memoir by Skin, lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie, and is also the author of Dusty: The Classic Biography, Annie Lennox, and Madonna: Like An Icon, which has been translated into 13 languages. She has contributed to Q, Mojo, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and The Quietus, and numerous anthologies such as Mute Records: Artists, Business, History (2018) and Voicing Girlhood In Popular Music: Performance, Authority, Authenticity (2016). She played in all-girl band The Catholic Girls and is currently working on a memoir about punk and feminism.

Praise for She Bop
“A monumental history of women in the music business.” The Guardian
“A top-notch, impressively thorough history.” Publishers Weekly
“The biggest and best ‘women in rock’ tome.” Cosmopolitan
“A must for any serious muso’s bookshelf.” Maxim
“A contemporary classic.”