Alright. It’s time for a women-in-rock history lesson. FYI I just learnt of this story a week or so ago – and it had me both cracking up at the social cliché of the situation, and also raging at the system that was taking away shit from women in music back then – and still is today.
Goldie and the Gingerbreads.
Sparkly jackets and big hair: you can just see Amy Winehouse and Adele all up in this.
So, not the coolest band name on earth, but, a band with a pretty cool story!
As we know, there were shit tonnes of “girl groups” in late ’50s/early ’60s, but Goldie & the Gingerbreads was a bona fide rock and roll band and, get this: the first all-girl band signed to a major record label. Ever!
Epic. (not Epic Records, just epic in general… it is epic they were the first band to be… you know what I mean).
Look at Goldie getting to be all cool with her exposed neck while the rest were forced to endure the horror that is turtle necks.
The Gingerbreads were formed when singer Goldie met drummer Ginger later in 1962. How rockstar are those names by the way? Another reason for me to curse my un-rockstar name of Emma (said in a drab tone to exaggerate effect, please).
Goldie had never met a female drummer and thought an all-female rock band would be fucking cool. She was right.
Then they added a keyboardist called Margo and and a guitarist called Carol. Those names make me feel better about my predicament.
The band’s first single was “Skinny Vinnie,” released in 1964.
I was kinda hoping this song would be making fun of a pussy-ass-guy but it turns out she loves him. I guess it was the 60s.
After seeing the band at A PARTY, Atlantic’s chairman signed the Gingerbreads to Atlantic subsidiary Atco (lol you don’t see that shit happen anymore).
They were then sent over to Europe for some reason, where members recorded “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat,” which was a Top 30 hit in the UK. Can’t shake a stick at that!
Goldie & The Gingerbreads enjoyed their greatest success overseas, touring with The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Beatles – holy shit balls.
So, now to the classic stitch up.
After G&TG fucking nailed it in the UK with “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”, they decided that they should definitely take that shit hot track back to their homeland of the US and nail it there, too.
BUT IN STEPS BAND WITHOUT VAGINAS, Herman’s Hermits (The 60s – wtf is wrong with your band names), and their shitty penis-version of the SAME SONG.
Just mere weeks before Goldie and her posse were about to drop their version in the States, Herman and his bloody Hermits release their version to great success, fucking up G&TG entire career and sending them in to financial ruin and legacy-oblivion.
In no way has this image been tampered with. This is what Herman and his Hermits looked like.
No shit, if you google the song ‘Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” – the Herms’ come up. Not Goldie and her delicious Gingerbreads.
Back then the recording industry worked different; writers wrote songs and artists recorded them. So I get that Hermy didn’t steal the song and claim it as their own OG – it just blows my mind that there weren’t any sort of legalities in place to protect Goldie’s recording of it for a certain period of time while they were enjoying success with it.
But the insult to injury is that despite Goldie and the Gingerbreads having an incredible legacy of being the first ever all-girl rock band signed to a major label, when you google the name of their biggest hit, they don’t even come up first!
When you check out the Wikipedia of the song, it’s focussed on Herm’s version.
It’s the classic stitch up of men getting recognition for the same work that women do and get ignored or forgotten for.
I’m lucky enough to be in a band with dudes where we are all equally confused about who came up with what ideas and we’re usually trying to say someone else did instead of claiming credit.
Have any of our lady musicians reading this blog out there experienced their male colleagues taking credit for your ideas or your work?
Yesterday Julia Deans (swoon) posted this hilarious article titled “Nine non-threatening leadership strategies for women” and I found this particular graphic to be timely to me writing about Goldie and her Gingerbread’s story;
I can’t find any comments from Goldie or her band members about the classic stitch up the Hermit’s did on them, so I’m guessing they went down the route of the right hand side of this graphic which, I guess, is to be expected in the 60s.
Girls, always be the image on the left. Protect your ideas, protect your content, protect yourselves!