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NWW Weekly Connection

June 4, 2023
A Different Kind of Women's Rights

Whether you’re a fan of rock and roll or not, as a woman, you will surely appreciate the story of Fanny, “the best rock and roll band you’ve never heard of.”

Fanny, an all-woman rock band formed in the U.S. in the early 1970s, was hailed as one of the most prolific and talented bands in the world by the likes of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand, Ringo Starr of the Beatles, Bonnie Raitt and many others.

Fanny was sought after to be the opening act by the bands Chicago, Jethro Tull, the Kinks and Deep Purple, just to name a few—not because Fanny was novel as an all-female band, but because they were excellent singers and musicians!

Fanny, comprised of Filipina American women, sisters Jean and June Millington and friend, Brie Darling, each sang in the band as well as being proficient and professional musicians. Over the years, two other women joined Fanny: drummer Alice de Buhr and roving keyboardist Nickey Barclay.

Fifty years later, some of the members of Fanny have reunited for concerts and have created a music school for female musicians!

Though certainly not honored for their own work as much as they should have been, Fanny opened the door for many other female rock groups to emerge and be taken seriously. The Bangles, the Go Go’s and Heart are just a few you may have heard of.

As U. S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ mother said to her when VP Harris became the first woman Black/Asian U.S. vice president, "Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last.” Fanny clearly felt the same way about women bands in music.

Fanny’s Jean Millington did not see the band as feminists at the time. She said, they were simply doing what they loved and were good at!

Director Bobbi Jo Hart released the PBS documentary “Fanny: The Right to Rock” in the summer of 2022 to wide acclaim. The film illustrates all of the trappings of rock and roll life and is a bit messy to watch at times, yet it’s the spirit of these pioneering women you will remember.

So, the song we sing to you right now is do what you love to the best of your ability, stay the course and know that even though you may succeed in a big way, encounter challenges—or even defeat, you are part of a continuum of an upward-spiraling arc toward goodness, fairness and possibility! Rock on, Sister!!!

Doing what we love,

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