80s Female Rock Artists

Updated November 21, 2016

Female rock singers came to the forefront of the music scene in the 1960s and '70s, with women like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. In the 1980s, that trend became an explosion and some of the decade's highest grossing rock performers were women. In the era of the music video, women knew how to make that art form work to their advantage and they danced, showed off their looks and set fashion trends worldwide.

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar is a rock power house who was born in Brooklyn and was discovered in 1977 in a New York amateur contest. Beginning in 1979, she released an album every year for six straight years, and has released 13 total solo albums. Of those 13 albums, six went platinum and four went gold. Benatar won Grammy Awards in four consecutive years, 1980-83, for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Benatar's 1980s hit singles included "You Better Run," "Heartbreaker," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Love Is a Battlefield." In the 1980s, Benatar had eight singles hit the top forty.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner, born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee, was a star before the 1980s, with Ike Turner. But the '80s saw her recovery and emergence after the end of that abusive relationship and was the decade of Tina Turner as a solo star. Turner took the music world by storm with the 1984 release of the album "Private Dancer." Within months of its release, the album sold 11 million copies worldwide. The album scored three number one hits with "Private Dancer," "Better Be Good to Me" and "What's Love Got To Do With It?" That single went on to win the Grammy for record of the year.


Whether she is considered a rock singer or a pop singer, Madonna Louise Ciccone, from Rochester, Michigan, had an influence on music, fashion and the world in the '80s that cannot be overstated. The 1983 release of her self-titled album "Madonna" spawned such hits as "Borderline," "Lucky Star" and "Holiday." She followed up those hits with the "Like A Virgin" album, which shot to number one on the Billboard chart and was platinum within a month of its release. During that decade alone, Madonna produced four more albums, including "True Blue" and "Like a Prayer." In the 1980s, Madonna had 15 hit singles, four in the Billboard Top Ten. Madonna has been nominated for dozens of Grammy awards and, as of January 2011, has won seven.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper hails from Queens, New York. She released her debut album, "She's So Unusual," in 1983. The album made her a star, with singles like "Time After Time," "She-Bop" and the girlie anthem "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Lauper's outrageous costumes, along with her hairstyles and dyes, made her a music video queen and girls throughout the country were dressing like her or Madonna. In 1986, Lauper released her follow-up album, "True Colors." The album went to number four on the Billboard Charts. Lauper had platinum number one hit singles with both "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "True Colors."

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