Five transformative female vocalists born between 1950 and 1970

These amazing female vocalists helped transform music and each was born between 1950 and 1970 (OK, one was 1971).
Slits At Harlesden
Slits At Harlesden / Julian Yewdall/GettyImages
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Ariane Daniele Forster may not have been the first female punk vocalist. But it’s hard to point to a more important one. As Ari Up, fronting the seminal all-female punk outfit The Slits in the late 1970s, Up reveled in the excess that singers like Karen Carpenter and Anita Baker were eschewing. Her wild rendition of Motown classic “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” is actually one of the more subdued performances she offered. From her opening scream on “Vindictive,” Ari Up was never short of explosive.

Up fronted a band that was wild and rowdy and she was their perfect singer. Her raspy, occasionally off-pitch shouts, which seemed even more out of left field in her native German accent, somehow stood up to feedback and lo-fi recording. One of the most remarkable things Ari managed was to shriek and scream while still allowing you to hear the actual lyrics. It’s a trick that many punk and metal singers never seemed to learn.

Bands like The Pleasure Seekers and The Runaways were female bands that cracked the door on punk before the Slits arrived, but Ari Up and her bandmates took it a lot farther. Chrissie Hynde and Justine Frischmann have spoken about their influence on the rock and roll that The Pretenders and Elastica recorded. And pretty soon, singers like Laura Carter, Kathleen Hanna, and Exene Cervenka were picking up where Ari Up left off and shouting and screaming with the best of the boys.

Must listens: "A BORING LIFE" and "TYPICAL GIRLS"