There is no lack of outstanding female singers, as music has consistently empowered women. So let’s know 12 popular music bands with female leads to recognizing female vocalists’ enormous ability.
This article has something for everyone, from contemporary favorites to 80s classics. You’ll discover diverse genres in this piece, from rock to pop to alternative and more.
12 popular music bands with female leads
Here we begin the list of 12 popular music bands with female leads. So set your volume and get ready for a playlist that celebrates strong women in music! However, you won’t want to miss this anyway!
- No Doubt
No Doubt is one of the most iconic music bands with female lead singers. Led front and center by the powerhouse Gwen Stefani, No Doubt has been a mainstay in the pop music scene since 1986.
Besides hits like “Just a Girl” and “Spiderwebs,” No Doubt created five albums with upbeat songs exploring personal empowerment and self-expression themes.
And as Stefani’s career continued to grow, she remained involved in her band’s music till now. In 2012, No Doubt released Push and Shove to critical acclaim. And finally, at the 2013 Grammy Awards, the record was up for the “Best Pop Vocal Album” awards.
A Grammy-nominated music group called Paramore was founded in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2004. The powerhouse vocals of lead singer Hayley Williams, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and dedicated LGBTQ+ ally, front the band.
Besides the release of their five studio albums, Paramore’s punk-influenced pop-rock sound inspired and impacted listeners of all ages.
Paramore’s sound takes influence from multiple genres while always retaining its core identity as rock ‘n’ rollers. And when it was released in 2007, their lead song, “Misery Business,” was an instant success and received over 100 million YouTube views.
- The Cranberries
The Cranberries, an alternative rock band from Ireland, is another great group to check out if you’re looking for a popular female-led band. The frontwoman is the incredible Dolores O’Riordan, who tragically passed away in 2018, but left behind a rich legacy of beautiful and powerful music.
O’Riordan had an instantly recognizable voice, known for its ethereal quality that mixed perfectly with the band’s style of music. And some of The Cranberries’ most notable hits include: “Dreams,” “Zombie,” “Linger,” and “Salvation.”
O’Riordan’s death was a huge loss for fans around the world. But her songs live on as part of her lasting legacy and remind her to appreciate the little moments in life.
- Tegan and Sara
You may have heard of Tegan and Sara, the twin sisters behind some of the best-known indie pop songs in the late 2000s. They’ve been making music together for over 20 years, and their lyrics are both melancholic and relatable.
The band comprises Tegan Quin and Sara Quin as lead vocalists and songwriters. And they write from a deeply personal perspective about topics including relationships, identity, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and much more.
Their unique storytelling style, combined with their dynamic harmony-filled melodies, have captivated fans around the world. They’ve released several chart-topping albums, including “This Business of Art,” “So Jealous,” and “Heartthrob.” However still, they continue to tour extensively around the globe.
Another popular band with a female lead singer that you should know is Garbage. Fronted by Shirley Manson, Garbage has been making raw, alternative rock since 1994.
This group continuously pushes the limits of what a contemporary rock band can do, fusing rock, alternative, and grunge with hints of electronica.
Throughout their career, Garbage has produced some masterful singles. “Stupid Girl,” “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Push It,” and “Vow” are just a few of their most notable successes. And these songs contributed to the development of the contemporary alternative rock scene.
- The Donnas
The Donnas may be new to you, but they merit a spot on this list regardless of your knowledge. All-girl ensemble from California called The Donnas has been performing since 1996.
They had big successes like “Take It Off” and “Who Invited You” and released eleven studio albums. All three instruments—guitar, bass, and drums—are played by each member of this punk music group.
Their style is poppy and upbeat with a hard-core edge, and they’re known for their energetic live performances. Yet, despite their success and numerous awards, they remain independent and unfazed by the restrictions of the mainstream music industry.
- Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue
With their 2009 debut album, The Fame, Lady Gaga and her band, the Starlight Revue, earned legions of fans globally. Funky and eclectic, Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue are known for their upbeat rock and pop sound combined with theatrical performance art.
Their original music style is the result of mixing various influences, ranging from punk to 80s dance to electro-pop. And their songs earned four Grammy Awards, including the hit single “Poker Face.”
Lady Gaga and her band create an electric atmosphere that energizes and inspires audiences. From “Just Dance” to “Bad Romance” to “The Edge of Glory,” their live shows were truly captivating.
- The Go-Go’s
The Go-Go, this all-female group, which included Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wiedlin, was founded in Los Angeles in 1978. And their debut record, “Beauty and the Beat,” helped them break out in 1981.
They created history by becoming the first all-female band to have a record debut at number one on the Billboard charts. Hence, the Go-Go’s were one of the more well-known music groups with female lead vocalists because of their distinctive sound, which combined rock and pop.
They received critical acclaim for their sound. And the band performed at Coachella Valley Music Festival, among many other notable music events. Therefore, the Go-Go’s continued to stay true to their sound by playing sporadic shows and recording albums up until now.
Are you looking for a grunge-rock option? “Hole is your answer. The Hole was a prominent grunge band in the 1990s led by the famous Courtney Love.
This band produced anthems with a punk influence that had us all singing along. And the band’s 1994 album “Live Through This” propelled them to fame, and tracks like “Violet” and “Malibu” were 90s classics.
So, catch Love in all her glory on tracks like “Miss World” and “Doll Parts.” And explore why the Hole continues to be one of a kind.
Are you ready to get to know the 10th popular music band with a female lead singer? Let us introduce you to Blondie! Formed in the mid-70s, Blondie is best known for its successful blend of rock, pop, and new wave.
The four members include lead singer and co-founder Deborah Harry; guitarist Chris Stein; drummer Clem Burke; and bassist Leigh Foxx. They rose to fame in the late 70s with their hits “Heart of Glass” and “Dreaming.”
Blondie’s innovative style of combining elements of disco, punk, and reggae was famous for Deborah Harry’s distinct singing voice and colorful personality. So, they had multiple hit singles throughout the 1980s and are credited with inspiring new generations of female artists.
- Amy Winehouse
We can’t talk about bands with female lead singers without mentioning the legend that was Amy Winehouse. It’s a little band that you must experience.
From 2003 to 2008, Winehouse released two albums, Frank and Back to Black, which spawned many successful singles, like “Rehab,” “Back to Black,” and “Valerie.” Some other great songs from her discography include “You Know I’m No Good,” “Love is a Losing Game,” and tons more.
Moreover, no matter what you believe or what type of music you prefer, Amy Winehouse is a worthwhile band to check upon.
Last but certainly not least, there’s Sleater-Kinney. Formed in 1994 by Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. With expressive, strong vocals and intense guitars, they can be counted as one of the most influential feminist bands ever.
One of the biggest things that set them apart is their music style. Their sound contains punk and indie rock elements but also adds hints of folk and other genres. And creates a unique final product that stands out from the rest.
Their lyrics often touch on subjects such as gender roles, societal norms, and activism—all topics that many still relate to today. From the aggressive lines in “Dig Me Out” to catchy anthems like “A New Wave,” Sleater-Kinney has something to offer everyone.
Here are The Top 5 Best 90s Alternative Bands, as per your music taste; know about them too.
Women are fronting some of the most influential music acts for decades, and these 12 popular music bands with female lead singers are no exception. From the confrontational punk of Joan Jett and the Runaways to the sophisticated country music of Kacey Musgraves, women long pushed the limits of popular music.
The fact every band on this list has a female lead vocalist who demonstrates the power of the female voice. So if you’re looking to support more female-fronted music, give these 12 bands a listen—you won’t be disappointed.