The Definitive History Of Women In Popular Music
She Bop is the definitive in-depth study of women in popular music. Drawing on more than 250 firsthand interviews, it covers nine decades of musical history, from ragtime and vaudeville to punk and hip-hop, and features a remarkable cast of trailblazing female performers: Ella Fitzgerald and Madonna, Billie Holiday and Whitney Houston, Dusty Springfield and Beyoncé, and many, many more.
First published in 1995, She Bop was widely praised as “a contemporary classic” and “a must for any serious muso’s bookshelf”. It became a key text on numerous university and college courses, and has had a major impact on writing about women in music. To coincide with the second edition, published in 2002, the National Portrait Gallery in London ran a She Bop exhibition of photographs inspired by the book, while BBC Radio 2 broadcast a two-part documentary series of the same name, which was scripted by O’Brien.
In recent years there has been an explosion of female artists on the pop scene. Artists like Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Florence Welch have spearheaded a third British Invasion of the US charts, while American acts such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Katy Perry continue to dominate the global market.
This revised and expanded third edition brings the story of She Bop into the 21st century, with extensive revisions throughout and a new final chapter covering the current generation of female performers and the ways in which the internet and digital culture have reconfigured the music industry for women.
Lucy O’Brien has been writing about music, feminism, and popular culture since the early 80s. She grew up in Southampton, played in all-girl punk band The Catholic Girls, and graduated from Leeds University in 1983. Since starting out on the NME, she has written for a range of titles including the Sunday Times, Marie Claire, the Guardian, Q, and Mojo. Alongside She Bop, she has written acclaimed biographies of Madonna, Dusty Springfield, and Annie Lennox. A regular ‘pundit’ on TV and radio, she also co-produced the Channel 4 film Righteous Babes on rock and new feminism. She is Senior Lecturer in Music Journalism at Epsom UCA, and is currently working on a memoir that combines music, mysticism, and magic.