Music history is filled with talented, obscure female geniuses who will never get the credit they deserve. That much is a given. But even for well known artists who manage to break out of that obscurity, people tend to forget or completely ignore the things they've accomplished both on and off stage that have broken the mold assigned to them in pop culture or made them a force of change in their genre. Whether we're talking about jazz singers, punk queens or blues royalty, the brilliance of these women surpasses whatever chart topping hit or momentary glory given to them by the mainstream. Here are 10 of our favorite underappreciated female musicians.
Remember Mandy Moore? That girl you wrote off as a pop princess from the early '00s? She had a slew of TRL hits like "Candy" and starred in lukewarm block busters like the Princess Diaries and a few indie movies (Saved!) and cutesy animated voice over stuff like Disney's Rapunzel. But no one remembers her album Wild Hope, probably the best thing she's ever put out. Moore switched in labels in 2007, jumping from Epic to her own imprint label, The Firm Music . She wrote the album with the help of The Weepies and Lori McKenna. It was not well received among people who were used to the pop princess and her cute pop songs. But the wife of Ryan Adams defiantly breaks that mold with songs like "Extraordinary" and "Nothing That You Are."
9. Meg White
Despite the fact that she has pretty much been in hiding since her departure from the White Stripes, Meg White is one of the most recognizable female drummers for the millennial generation. Although she has become a recluse her contribution to the White Stripes will never be forgotten. White not only was in one of the most prolific bands to come along in the 2000's but she also set a precedent that you can be in a two person band and rule that shit like no other. Where did you go, Meg?
See also: 10 Best Female Metal Singers
8. Morgan and Mercedes Lander of Kittie
This sister duo has been underrated since their 1999 debut album Spit. Though some in the metal community chose to write them and their all-female metal band off as a novelty, they routinely proved to be anything but. Since 1996, the Canadian band have toured non stop and never once gave up on their music. They never have enough credit for the things that they have written but that doesn't matter they still have a great following that come to metal out with them at their shows.
7. Lita Ford
Joan Jett might have achieved great fame after the Runaways, but Lita Ford was just as talented. Instead of taking her talents to the rock world where she came from, she went the metal route in the '80s, doused her mane in Aquanet and proceeded to shred. And to this day, she can hang with the best of her male counterparts. Never once to Ford allow for the men to kick her out of her scene, she wrote how she felt and made it just as heavy as the hair metal bands that were ruling the world at that time.
6. Sara Vaughn
Even though her vocals are up to par with those of Billie Holiday and Elle Fitzgerald she never achieved the same fame as either of those icons. In 1942 she had entered a contest singing "Body and Soul" at the Harlem Apollo Theater where many jazz artist gained fame. In 1944 she had gone off to work as a solo artist and recording with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In the 50's she was on top of the charts with many pop hits like "Nature Boy" and "Broken Hearted Melody," but at the dawn of the '60s and the birth of pop music, Vaughn also known as "Sassy," had to find a new niche in her musical career. Vaughn never receives the same credit as the other ladies for the music she had sang and people she worked with.
5. Carole King
Carole King did a lot of music most people don't even know. In the '50s, King was one of the people in the tiny rooms in New York writing away songs for the pop stars of the day. By the '60s she was tired of writing music for other people and went off to write for herself. Once she was off on her own, she worked with many people. Of course one of the most famous was James Taylor. King has kept herself busy through the years, she wrote the main song for Gilmore Girls and had even played the local music shop owner in the series.
4. Aimee Mann
Aimee Mann has been around since the '80s, fronting the popular new wave band 'Til Tuesday. And who can forget those fabulous anti-drug PSAs? Aside from that no one seems to ever remember her. Mann was up for an Oscar for her work on the Magnolia soundtrack which birthed masterpieces like "Save Me." Her songwriting was equally captivating in her songwriting for the movie soundtrack for I Am Sam. Mann is one of the females who also never get enough credit for her guitar skills, but that doesn't stop her from putting out great albums.
3. Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna never gets enough credit for the work she did in the punk scene in the '90 with her seminal band Bikini Kill as male-dominated grunge laid siege to pop airwaves. Not only did she state her feminist ideas but she was not afraid to take on subjects like her child hood molestation. After Bikini Kill ended in 1997, Hanna started another band she called Le Tigre which broke up in 2011. Both of these bands stick to the core of who she was. Hanna is defiantly one of the females who never get enough credit for being unafraid to have an opinion or talk about real life harsh issues.
2. Courtney Love
It seems like Love is more popular for the idea that she might have contributed to the death of her famous late husband Kurt Cobain then the fact that she is an incredibly talented artist. Not only is she a skilled guitarist but she is also a very talented lyricist. Despite her personal problems with, well, everything, this doesn't take away from her talent. Love has had many struggles to get to where she is. Starting as a stripper, she moved her way up to being an actress before finally pursuing her real passion–music. Her band Hole has gained major success for heir 1994 album Live Through This which is one of the best albums to come out of the '90s. Love her or hate her, the angst in Love's voice is still capable of frying our speakers. People seem to forget that.
1. Bonnie Raitt
Our number one spot has to go to Bonnie Raitt. She is one of the best guitarists of all time. Raitt released her self-titled album in 1971. She has been known as one of the best slide guitarist along side late legend Stevie Ray Vaughn. But look up any list of greatest guitarists and she's either way down in the 80s, or in some cases not even mentioned at all. Bonnie deserves better! She's always played better then half of her male counter parts out there but she never gets enough credit for the amount of talent she has. Well, we're not letting it happen on our watch.