The 10 Best Female Rockabilly Singers of All Time
They're talented, brassy, and bursting with a sexual energy that defied the repressed conservative manner of the '50s. The women of the early era of rockabilly had brains, heart, and the ambition for success, but it's a time-tested truth: it's hard to be a woman in the music business. As you'll read, the careers of many of the early pioneers of rockabilly did not run smoothly, but despite obstacles made giant strides in performing and recording music, making enormous contributions to the genre and inspiring younger generations of performers after them.
While there's many more fine female rockabilly musicians where these came from, here's a look at some of the trailblazers whose music has stood the test of time, as well as the best new musicians rocking the genre today.
10. Lorrie Collins
Half of the teeny-bopper duo The Collins Kids, Lorrie Collins enjoyed a sweet fame singing rockabilly tunes beside her younger brother Larry, who was himself a mean force on a double-necked electric guitar. Lorrie felt confined in her teen idol image, and found a kinship with boyfriend and popular television star, Ricky Nelson. Although her relationship with Nelson was high profile it was very brief, and at age 17 she married Johnny Cash's manager Stu Carnall, who at the time was twice her age. Despite that, she kept up her acting career and even continued performing, both solo and as part of The Collins Kids for some time.
Collins' solo performance here shows how even at a young age, Collins wasn't just a pretty face but a solid musician with the right skills and showmanship.
9. Sparkle Moore
Sparkle Moore's career is best summed up in the few singles released on the Fraternity label in the 1950s, but despite that she's still seen as one of the pioneering female figures of rockabilly music. Born Barbara Morgan, Moore was musical fanatic from an early age, even running away from home at one point to join a band. Just as her name (inspired by comic character Sparkle Plenty) suggests, Moore stood out with her shock of platinum blonde hair, the flashy men's suits she wore, her confident attitude and her charisma. In fact, Moore is probably the early female embodiment of rock n' roll, if not punk rock.
As an exceptional guitarist, she would go on to perform across the country at small rock n' roll shows, and toured with rockabilly great Gene Vincent. Most people would have you believe her career in music ended after she started a family, but she's still rather active in writing and recording music, and posts a lot of her poetry on her website.