American Culture

Janis Martin – this bride really did rock and roll…


One of the first great women in rock died Labor Day. Janis Martin, a rockabilly star of the 1950’s who retired in 1961 at age 21(!) only to come out of retirement and reclaim her legacy in the 1980’s, lost her battle with cancer.

Like Lorrie Collins and Wanda Jackson, Martin belonged to the small coterie of women rockers from the first flowering of the music in the mid 1950’s. And like every woman in every profession, she struggled for equal opportunity and recognition in a male dominated culture…

No amount of memorializing or proselytizing for Martin would do her talent, her work, or her legacy the credit it deserves. So let’s just appreciate a great singer and composer who deserved her title – “The Female Elvis”:

For more of Martin’s great music, check her myspace site.

6 replies »

  1. We’re lucky to live in an era where female artists have more opportunities and control over their careers than was once the case. You have to wonder what the rock landscape would be like today if women like Martin had had the kinds of access that some of today’s female greats have.

  2. Martin and those others I mentioned (especially Jackson) were as talented (often more so) than their peers. The shame of Martin’s career was that behavior that was attractively rebellious in males (multiple marriages) was not accepted from females. Between that and an “old fashioned” husband who resented her success, a great talent lost valuable years when she might have contributed more classics to rock and/or country music….

    But we have that great early work….

  3. Thanks for posting this. I had never heard of her prior to this. I’ve been missing some great music. Time to make up for lost time.

  4. I want you guys to know that YOU made me ask this question…

    How old is the youngest rogue or scholar here?

    By the way, thanks for the article. I am kind of pissed that Paris HIlton and airheads get attention. Reminds me of that other post on this blog about people getting famous for ‘nothing’.

    Now I’m feeling ‘old’.

  5. Hmmm. The youngest? Not sure, but I think that would be mid-20s. Most of us are 30+. Some of us – and these esteemed folks shall remain nameless – are extremely 30+.