Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame

Here's an idea: instead of publishing a cool book of archival interviews with several dozen famous women in music, publish an even cooler book of their insights organized around themed chapters (e.g., "Motherhood," "Sex," "Drugs"). This bright idea comes from pioneering rock journalist Lisa Robinson, whose Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame is part music history, part social history and no part minced words.

Robinson (There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll) began editing rock magazines in the 1970s, when "rock music journalism, just like rock music, was a boys' club." She spent more than four decades racking up interviews with heavy hitters, among them Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Beyoncé and Adele. Some of the challenges that Robinson's subjects face are common to male musicians as well--how to be a good parent despite a rigorous tour schedule, say--but Robinson is attuned to the different expectations placed on women. In the 1980s, Joan Jett relayed to Robinson what radio stations were telling her: "We can't play you on the radio.... We're playing a woman already. We're playing Pat Benatar."

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls touches on some of the positive changes Robinson has seen in the business, especially the fact that women, having all too often been exploited by their male managers, are increasingly taking charge of their own careers. Another improvement: there are many more female rock journalists out there now, although it's hard to imagine one as winningly blunt, unpretentious and on-target as Robinson. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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