BY CHRIS JOHNSON
Is it even worth trying to name the definitive Queen of Rock?
So many amazing female rockers have stood the test of time and could quite comfortable lay claim to the title.
If Elvis was the King … then who is the Queen?
Is it Madonna? Aretha? Janis? Lady Gaga? Beyonce?
Any of those women could own the throne … as could a long list of others.
Just to make the task even more difficult, there are myriad sub-genres. For example, Aretha Franklin is known as the Queen of Soul … but she could also be the Queen of Rock as she exquisitely belted out numerous rock hits over her lifelong career.
Tina Turner is often referred to as the Queen of Rock n Roll (Wanda Jackson claimed that title too back in the day). But then, Tina is sometimes referred to as the Queen of Soul also. Isn’t that Aretha’s moniker?
It’s all too confusing.
So … let’s narrow the search to what’s going on right now in our own back yard.
There are two women who have been touring Australia – one has just finished and one is just beginning – who have both earned the title Queen of Rock.
The Red Hot Summer Tour this year has been staged throughout Australia in two phases. The first brought us Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
If there ever was a Queen of Rock, it is Joan Jett.
Her firebrand style of the music is nothing short of brilliant. And her live performances are as an energetic now as they were when she fronted her first band way back in the seventies – the all-girl outfit The Runaways. She is now 60 years old and she is still rocking hard.
Jett’s recent shows in Australia had crowds roaring along to I Love Rock N Roll (especially the line put another dime in the jukebox baby), Cherry Bomb, Do You Wanna Touch, and Crimson and Clover.
Jett is a deserved Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a very worthy choice for Queen of Rock.
And then there is Suzi Q. The second phase of the Red Hot Summer Tour is underway and headlined by the always incredible Suzi Quatro.
Australia has a special relationship with Suzi, who frequents our shores regularly.
Like Joan, Suzi is never anything less than outstanding. She is so good live in concert and her lengthy string of hits – again dating as far back as the seventies – is etched in our psyche.
Devil Gate Drive, The Wild One, 48 Crash, Can the Can, If You Can’t Give Me Love … the list goes on.
Suzi loves Australia and we love Suzi… and she is definitely Queen of Rock material.
Suzi Quatro, 68, is actually referred to in many official lists (and plenty of not so official ones) as the Queen of Rock.
And what about our homegrown contenders?
Deborah Conway of Do-Re-Mi fame, as well as an impressive solo career, is currently touring and probably should be known as Australia’s Queen of Rock.
Then there’s Renée Geyer – our Queen of Soul perhaps? And Kylie – Queen of Pop?
Whether from Australia, Britain, the US or anywhere else, it seems pretty clear that naming the one and only, definitive, ultimate Queen of Rock is not such an easy task.
But then again, Elton John has just released Australian dates for his farewell tour.
Photo: Joan Jett on stage in Brisbane