The Women of Post-Punk and Goth

We think everyday is a day to acknowledge our heroes in the post-punk and goth music scene that just so happen to be women. These ladies are not only brilliant musicians and artists, but also cultural pioneers.

Some may argue that the first post-punk single was Magazine’s Shot by Both Sides, which came out 40 years ago on January 20th. But many musical scholars insist that honor in fact goes to a woman.

Siouxsie Sioux

Siouxsie and the Banshees’ debut single Hong Kong Garden was a game changer. Released on August 18th, 1978, the Steve Lillywhite produced song created a sound that everyone took inspiration from. This invariably caused lazy journalists would then begin the sexist epidemic of writing off most women daring to be as creative as Siouxsie as sounding exactly like her—which no one did!

Meanwhile in Germany, Nina Hagen made her debut with singing in a hybrid style of opera and punk with “TV-Glotzer” (a cover of “White Punks on Dope” by The Tubes), developing a persona whose influence reverberates to this day.

Nina Hagen

We would be remiss if we were not to mention the importance of Debbie Harry, Nico, and Patti Smith, who preceded post-punk and goth by a generation. We also do not want to over look punk singers like Poly Styrene, whose classic punk anthem “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” set the tone for the feminism to follow.

Each of the women listed below is selected from the original generation of artists that came out in the late 70s and 80s, and has undeniably made an important contribution to post-punk and goth, so much so that there deserves to be a book on the subject.

Lene Lovich

Patricia Morrison (Bags, Gun Club, and The Sisters of Mercy)

Anja Huwe (Xmal Deutschland)

Elisabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins)

Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance)

Gudrun Gut (Mania D and Malaria!)


Bettina Köster (Mania D and Malaria!)

Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks)

Linder Sterling (Ludus)

Ari Up (The Slits)

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Viv Albertine (The Slits)

Grace Jones

Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey)

Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade, Spell, Sorrow)

Anne Marie Hurst (Skeletal Family and Ghost Dance)

Danielle Dax

Dinah Cancer (45 Grave)

Gitane Demone (Christian Death)

Jarboe (Swans)

Hazel O’Connor

Monica Richards (Faith and the Muse, Strange Boutique, Madhouse)

Diamanda Galas

Anne Clark

Gillian Gilbert (New Order)

Anka Wolbert (Clan of Xymox)

Rosie Garland (March Violets)

Lesley Woods (Au Pairs)

Zillah Minx (Rubella Ballet)

We would also like to thank newer artists like:

  • Karen O
  • Amanda Palmer
  • Jehnny Beth from Savages
  • Larissa Iceglass
  • Zanias
  • Sally Dige
  • Lynette Cerezo from Bestial Mouths
  • Zohra Atash from Azar Swan
  • Kennedy Ashlyn from SRSQ and Them Are Us Too
  • Jo Bevan from Desperate Journalist
  • Geneva Jacuzzi
  • Zola Jesus
  • Sarah Taylor of Youth Code
  • Jae Matthews from Boy Harsher
  • Mistina La Fave from The Prids
  • and many more!

Also, special shout out to Katie Sketch and her post-punk revival band The Organ—we miss you!

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