Top 10 Mixed-Gender Bands


While women have made huge inroads into the world of Rock over the past 40 years, the mixed-gender band is still a relative rarity. Surely excess testosterone is to blame, because, believe it or not, dinosaurs still exist who believe that Rock is a man’s game.

Here is our take on the ten best, with extra credit given to bands with a more equal gender balance.

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10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

They take the final spot in the top 10 over bands like Blondie and ABBA because they Rock harder, and yet are still infused with enough creativity to be able to deliver a variety of sounds.

9. Arcade Fire

Extra points for having more than one woman in the band, but personally I’d like to hear more Regine and less Win.

8. Yo La Tengo

The only garage art pop-rock band I can think of. The fact that Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley make up a husband and wife team somehow makes it seem even more DIY. But the unpolished finish of the music sometimes disguises the brilliant songwriting and impeccable pop instincts that lay beneath.

7. Sonic Youth

This band has been powering away since 1981, leading the charge in the experimental noise/art rock category. Kim Gordon can do it all, but sometimes seems stuck playing the bass, a common default position for women in mixed bands.

6. The Pixies

The Pixies have been a thing since the late 1980s, but they’ve been disbanded about half of the intervening years, mostly because Kim Deal and Frank Black couldn’t get their shit together. The rock motto seems to be: women bass players, can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

5. Pretenders

There are not many bands that have seen as much personnel turnover as the Pretenders over the years, but through it all Chrissy Hynde’s unique and original vision has shone through. Despite the setbacks and the downtime she remains one of the great rockers of all time.

4. Talking Heads

Tina Weymouth’s participation in the band seemed more organic than women in other bands because the Talking Heads were so original and so unusual. Plus she may have been the greatest female Rock bass player in a band.

3. The Mamas And The Papas

They were not only trailblazers for helping to define the folk-rock sound, but as the first significant mixed-gender band, they showed the rock world the emotional perils that can arise when men and women work so closely together making music.

2. White Stripes

Imagine the White Stripes had some dude drumming instead of Meg White. The whole vibe of the band would have been completely different. But the only hesitation is, can a “band” have only two people in it, especially when they’re not equal partners?

1. Fleetwood Mac

Criticize if you will, but this was a band absolutely loaded with individual Rock talent. Take away the cheese and you’ve got some really great music. Extra points for having more than one woman lead.

Honorable Mentions:

Blondie, No Doubt, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Metric, ABBA, Siouxie and the Banshees, Dirty Projectors, Decemberists, Sly and the Family Stone, Eurythmics

Photo: Fleetwood Mac; Credit: Weatherman90 at en.wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

4 comments to “Top 10 Mixed-Gender Bands”
    • Yeah, mixed-gender seems to be a trend within these “new folk” collectives. The Lumineers also. Let’s see which ones have some lasting power.

      So, readers, what other noteworthy bands did I miss?

  1. A couple others I like are Garbage and Smashing Pumpkins, although I have lost track of if they have a female in the band anymore.

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