From Wanda To Rihanna: Artifacts From ‘Women Who Rock’ At The Rock Hall Of Fame

By Zach Swickey

This weekend, the Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is opening a new exhibit devoted solely to the female powerhouses of rock. Dubbed “Women Who Rock: Vision, Power, and Passion,” the exhibit will cover over 60 artists — from Wanda Jackson to Rihanna — with two entire floors featuring artifacts, video and listening stations.

The various sections of the exhibit will focus on the different genres and eras of music in which females left their mark. While this generation may be more acquainted with the likes of the Spice Girls and the Pussycat Dolls, bands the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes paved the way for our modern-day pop groups, and consequently there is a section of the new exhibit focused on girl groups of the early ’60s. There are also displays looking at ’60s counterculture, the disco-flavored ’70s, the punk and pop explosion of the ’80s, and the female-empowering ’90s. We got a little sneak peek at some of the artifacts, and here are a few we’re stoked for everyone to see:

Chrissie Hynde’s jacket from the Pretenders’ debut album cover:
Everyone is familiar with Michael Jackson’s can’t-miss-it red zipper jacket from the “Thriller” video, but he wasn’t the first to make this iconic fashion statement. Chrissie Hynde rocked the getup in 1980, three years before the King of Pop did.

Lady Gaga’s 2010 Grammy Awards performance outfit:
Ever wondered what a leprechaun on acid would make if he were hired by the Haus of Gaga? Well, it would probably look quite similar to the outfit she wore at the 2010 Grammy Awards where she performed with the true Queen of Pop, Sir Elton John.

Madonna’s bustier from the Blond Ambition Tour
If any fashion item is more famous than MJ’s red zipper jacket, it’s Madonna’s Jean-Paul Gaultier-designed cone bustier, which donned back in 1990. Makes you wonder where the bra has been for the last 20 years.

Rihanna’s 2008 American Music Awards performance outfit:
Long before she sang about being excited by whips and chains, Rihanna wore this dramatic leather, studded and spiked bustier in front of a live, prime-time network audience.

Wanda Jackson’s acoustic guitar from 1958:
The Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, was one of the first female badasses in the male-dominated music industry. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, the Oklahoma-native has had a career resurgence, signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records and having him produce her latest critically acclaimed effort, The Party Ain’t Over.