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The 40 Baddest Bitches in Rock

We're taking a deeper look at some of music's fiercest killers

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 14: Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes at the Red Bull Sound Space at 106.7 KROQ studios at KROQ on Ap
Gabriel Olsen/WireImage

Back in the day, the Runaways were some of the baddest bishes in the rock scene. The group disbanded over disagreements on artistic direction, but not before proving that girls could rock, even as teenagers—founding members Joan Jett and Sandy West weren't even 18 when they debuted.

Fast forward to today—Alabama Shakes are headed for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their second album, Sound & Color. The group is led by the awe-inducing Brittany Howard and her impossible-to-imitate howls, with a beautiful balance of soul and grit.

There are loads of women shaking up the genre right now with the likes of St. VincentGrimes and Paramore's Hayley Williams translating their badass personas to formidable musical outputs, alongside guitar goddesses Jenny Lewis and Este Haim, and metal chicks like Alissa White-Gluz, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey of Butcher Babies. There isn't even room for argument anymore about pop stars like Janelle Monáe and Rihanna earning their place in the rock canon.

The media (i.e. old white dudes) likes asking questions like, "Where have all the real rock stars gone?" The simple answer is: Look to any one of these 40—forty!—bitchin' badasses.

1 / 31

Brittany Howard

Bitchin' Moment: Alabama Shakes' 2015 Sound & Color lead single "Don't Wanna Fight"

2 / 31

Joan Jett

Bitchin' Moment: 1982's "I Love Rock N' Roll"

3 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2013's "Fixurlifeup" feat. Prince, whom they collaborated with for the 2014 joint album PLECTRUMELECTRUM

4 / 31

Alexis Krauss

Bitchin' Moment: Sleigh Bells' 2010 smash "Rill Rill"

5 / 31

Janelle Monáe

Bitchin' Moment: 2013's "Givin 'Em What They Love" feat. Prince

6 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2015's "No Cities to Love"

7 / 31

Hayley Williams

Bitchin' Moment: Paramore's 2008 single "Decode"

8 / 31

Alissa White-Gluz

Bitchin' Moment: Arch Enemy's 2014 single "War Eternal"

9 / 31

Kathleen Hanna

Bitchin' Moment: Bikini Kill's 1992 track "Suck My Left One"

10 / 31

Karen O

Bitchin' moment: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 2003 track "Date With the Night"

11 / 31

Beth Ditto

Bitchin' Moment: Gossip's 1987 hit "Pop Goes the World"

12 / 31

Florence Welch

Bitchin' Moment: Florence + the Machine's 2015 single "What Kind of Man"

13 / 31

Alice Glass

Bitchin' Moment: Crystal Castles' 2010 song "BAPTISM"

14 / 31

Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!)

Bitchin' Moment: Performing "Soulmates to Strangers" with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in 2013

15 / 31

Heidi Shepherd & Carla Harvey (Butcher Babies)

Bitchin' Moments: Butcher Babies' 2012 song "Mr. Slowdeath"

16 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2009's "ROCKSTAR 101" feat. Slash

17 / 31

Amanda Palmer

Bitchin' Moment: 2012's "The Killing Type"

18 / 31

Jenny Owen Youngs

Bitchin' Moment: 2012's "Your Apartment"

19 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: "Chandelier."

20 / 31

Grace Potter

Bitchin' Moment: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' 2010 song "Paris (Ooh La La)"

21 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2013's "Shut Up"

22 / 31

Teri Gender Bender

Bitchin' Moment: Le Bucherrettes & Adanowsky's 2010 song "Don't Try to Fool Me" (NSFW video!)

23 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2013's "Don't Save Me"

24 / 31

Sandy West

Bitchin' Moment: The Runaways' 1976 tune "Cherry Bomb"

25 / 31

Chloe Chaidez

Bitchin' Moment: Kitten's 2010 song "Chinatown"

26 / 31

Emily Haines

Bitchin' Moment: Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton's 2006 song "Dr. Blind"

27 / 31

St. Vincent

Bitchin' Moment: 2011's "Cheerleader"

28 / 31

Alison Mosshart

Bitchin' Moment: The Kills' 2011 song "Baby Says"

29 / 31


Bitchin' Moment: 2012's "Genesis"

30 / 31

Jenny Lewis

Bitchin' Moment: 2014's "Just One of the Guys"

31 / 31

Wild Flag

Bitchin' Moment: 2011's "Romance"

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Photo of the day

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: NSYNC is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Hollywood, Californ

Apr 30: *NSYNC 4EVER

It’s been a while since the guys of *NSYNC reunited. Since their epic onstage reunion at the 2013 MTV VMAs and JC’s 40th birthday, the guys have been doing their own thing, until today! Justin, JC, Joey, Lance and Chris got together to celebrate their new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and as if the day couldn’t get any better, JC reminds us that tomorrow it’s gonna be MAY.