.Open Mic: Girls Rock

By E. G. Singer

Two young women, Carol Joan Klein, age 79, and Anna Mae Bullock, age 81, will join the pantheon of performing artists being inducted as solo performers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Who are these two women? Both came from families that arrived from distant shores to America. Both were born and raised here, but in dissimilar environments—one in the urban enclave of New York City’s streets, the other in the rural, unincorporated community of Nutbush, Tennessee—both developing the styles and musical sensibilities that reflected their respective places and cultures of the time.

Perhaps they would be better recognized by their stage names: Carole King and Tina Turner! 

Ms. King was a fixture at New York City’s legendary Brill Building—which housed numerous songwriters and publishers—writing dozens of pop hits for solo performers and groups; while Ms. Turner’s persona blossomed onstage in steamy nightclubs and on the Chitlin’ Circuit. Both put their life experiences into their music, front and center, before their audiences.

During the late 1950s and into the 1960s, these two women began their illustrious careers—along with their male partners at the time. Ms. King, with her formidable song-writing skills and melodies, and Ms. Turner, with her physicality and voice, prompted us to stop, look and listen up.

And as they each jettisoned the past—and took the risk to go solo—their fans and the universe applauded.

They both achieved well-deserved success during their careers; were forced to remake themselves, as all true artists do; and suffered the “slings and arrows” that life hands everybody—whether it be through difficult relationships or coping with illnesses.

And they survived—and more than survive, they thrived—and are still revered. These are two tough and tender women!  And brilliant examples for women and for men—how to be honest and humble, to believe in oneself and one’s abilities, and to be generous in spirit, in sharing oneself with the world.

You Go, Girls!!!!

E. G. Singer lives in Santa Rosa. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected]
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