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Last night's Sandy Relief concert was a historic gathering of some of the biggest names in music, an opportunity to hear music performed by iconic rock stars and one rap star. It was perfect DVR material and if DVD's of the show are produced, they will be best-sellers.

But, please, as wonderful as it was, we have to start asking these questions:
Why was there only one woman in the line-up?  
What was the criteria used to include performers that left room for only one female musician and one woman back-up singer, and no women comedians?
Were attempts made to ask other women?

A quick search this morning garnered just a couple of mentions:

The evening, billed as the “12/12/12 concert,” placed special emphasis on the date, and in 2012, it’s difficult to imagine that a major, hours-long musical event was staged with a single female headliner, and with few people of color.
Alicia Keys Puts On One-Woman Show at Sandy Concert:
The 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief featured some of the biggest names in popular music -- Paul McCartney! Billy Joel! Kanye West! -- and most of them happened to be male. Thankfully, Alicia Keys was on-hand to deliver a brief set before leading the crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden in an emotional encore performance on Wednesday night (Dec. 12).
Why not ask Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Carole King - who will be recieving a Library of Congress Award,  Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Ann and Nancy Wilson or even Bett Middler? A little research shows that these women,many the same age or even younger than the headliners last night, are all still performing.

Did they ask Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefanie, Rihanna, or even Lady Gaga?

What about Pat Benatar, who is from Greenpoint, an area hit by the storm?, Cyndi Lauper who is from Queens, NY?  

Last night's show was a rare opportunity to see our collective favorites play together for an important cause. There are few among us who weren't singing along with at least one of the songs in the set. It was historic and uplifting.

But, if things will ever change here in the US, we MUST keep asking why only one woman headliner was included.

It is embarrassing that media outlets as far away as London noticed that there weren't even any female comedians.  "The Guardian," noted:

Before I end I should mention that there was a healthy representation of comic talent punctuating the night. From Billy Crystal to Adam Sandler to Chris Rock to the cast of Saturday Night Live, they were there. But again, no female comedians took the stage. (Where were you, New York residents Tina Fey and Lena Dunham?) And the comedy was underwhelming and unfunny.
And, almost as frustrating as the lack of women headlining last night's show, is the lack of our own news media asking, "Why no women?"

It should be a glaring issue. Women are 51% of the US population. Last night if you include Diana Krall, who sang back-up to Sir Paul McCartney, women made up only .5% of the performance.

The concert's lack of women is one thing, but we can't forget the overall reason for the concert.  To donate to the effort click here:
To purchase memorabilia or learn more about the concert visit the website:

Last night's set list was iconic and will appeal to people of all ages in DVD format. But really, was there no room for a few more women here? Who makes these decisions?  Please, whenever you talk about this performance, includ that question in the conversation. These are the questions we have to ask more often if we are ever to achieve a level of equality in all areas of our lives.

 (from NY Daily News)
Bruce Springsteen: "Land of  Hope and Dreams," "Wrecking Ball," "My City of Ruins," "Jersey Girl," "Born To Run" (with Jon Bon Jovi)

Roger Waters: Selections from "The Wall," "Us and Them," "Comfortably Numb" (with Eddie Vedder)

Adam Sandler: "Hallelujah" (satire)

Bon Jovi: "It's My Life," "Dead Or Alive," "Who Says You Can't Go Home" (with Bruce Springsteen), "Living On A Prayer"

Eric Clapton: "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Got To Get Better In A Little While," "Crossroads"

The Rolling Stones: "You Got Me Rocking," "Jumpin' 'Jack Flash"

Alicia Keys: "Brand New Me," "No One"

The Who "Who Are You?" "Bell Boy," "Pinball Wizard," "Listening To You," "Baba O'Riley," "Love, Reign O're Me," "Tea and Theater"

Kanye West: "Click," "Mercy," "Power,” "Touch The Sky," "Gold Digger," "Good Life," "Runaway," "Stronger"

Billy Joel:  "Miami 2017,"  "Movin' Out,"  "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "New York State of Mind," "River of Dreams," "You May Be Right,"  "Only The Good Die Young"  

Chris Martin: "When I Ruled The World,"  "Losing My Religion" (with Michael Stipe), "Us Against The World"  

Sir Paul McCartney:  "Helter Skelter," "Let Me Roll It,"  "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,"  "My Valentine" (with Diana Krall), "Blackbird"

Nirvana reunion with McCartney,  "I Got A Feelin," "Live and Let Die,"  with Alicia Keys on "Empire State of Mind"

Read more:

Originally posted to 51 Percent on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:43 PM PST.

Also republished by An Ear for Music and Sexism and Patriarchy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

    by 51percent on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:43:51 PM PST

  •  Good question (8+ / 0-)

    You listed a fair amount of my favorite female performers. Mybe if the do another one it could be an all female line up.

    Kanye West did wear a skirt, does that count?

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:58:59 PM PST

  •  I' d have loved to have seen Pink. (4+ / 0-)

    Of course, she tours an awful lot, so maybe that was the factor.

    I also wondered why we couldn't have had the women in your list. Joni M. or Bonnie R. or any of the others. Carole King - she lives in NYC right?

    Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

    by Truedelphi on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:07:28 PM PST

  •  It was all old white men (6+ / 0-)

    It looked like the crowd for a Republican campaign rally.

  •  I wondered why most of the music seemed (6+ / 0-)

    oriented to a white, 38-55 demographic.

    A lot of today's popular music (which I tend to dislike) was not there, but perhaps that's a younger group that the organizers did not expect to have as much to donate?

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:24:08 PM PST

  •  That lineup makes me barf anyway (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    esp McCartney w "Nirvana" and Alicia Keys.


  •  Republished to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, peacestpete, 51percent, wader

    " can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:42:57 PM PST

  •  All the acts were headliners (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Catte Nappe

    First - it was not a good show. All old British rockers and Billy Joel - who I don't generally like but did well - and Bruce and Bon Jovi. Every single act can and has headlined the venue and filled it up. In most cases multiple times. So was Gaga asked? Carol King? They would have made sense. It was probably a case of who is up and running right now, not sure if all the female acts you mentioned have current touring organizations, and who said yes immediately combined with the era based old - in this case very old - boy network of the glory days of big room rock and maximizing ticket prices to the overwhelmingly white and wealthy audience (I saw only white people in the crowd).

    The comedians had no material. Tina Fey would have been a good call. Waters was awful. The Who are a shadow of the past. The Stones phoned it in. Bon Jovi can't sing the chorus to his big hit anymore. Kanye is not good ever - why no Jay Z? The big rock form is dead, we were watching dinosaurs from a bygone era. Prince used to play bad boy on these shows and that was a joke. There is no kid band that could scare these groups on their own terms. Rappers jumping around in front of DJs standing behind DAT players is a different era.

    I will point out that a young woman closed the show and took the most chances with her earlier set. That's probably the only time anyone has gone on after Sir Paul since 1962. And I find her all grade B vocal and histrionics but that's just me.

    The lack of women was more about their era than the current one. The whole idea was from a previous era.
    The greatest musician of that time died a long time ago. The Who letting Moon sing a number was saying goodbye.

    But they raised a lot of money. Would I have preferred Norah Jones singing a standard or two with David Murray and Charlie Watts on drums. Yes. A nod to the current state of rock. Which band? There isn't one. It's over.
    Did Pat Benatar belong there? Probably not.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:58:43 PM PST

    •  however - I am fifty and listed several (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, TiaRachel, Rogneid

      women musicians from the span of era's - as it were - that were covered last night. I can sing just as loud to Billy Joel as I can to pat benatar and carol king.

      It really seemed like it was an extension of an old boys club who didn't make an effort to reach out and balance the lineup.

      Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

      by 51percent on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:13:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Billy Joel vs Benatar from a sales standpoint (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In 2012 Joel does multiple nights at the Garden. Benatar plays BB Kings and, from what I've heard, does not sell it out.
        Heart would be a better call but they play the Beacon. My point was all acts booked play and sell out the venue on their own in 2012. (maybe not Kanye). They may have been looking to maximize star power.

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:24:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  kind of sad- really, when you think about it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

          by 51percent on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:51:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  what - that Joel would outdraw Benatar? (0+ / 0-)

            Don't really have a take on that. I like NY State of Mind but that's about it. Sort of like Hit Me ... best Shot. Not a "fan" of either.

            Or is it sad that virtually all of the artists from the (passed) age of great "classic rock" are male? Sign of those times. Janis died, Aretha doesn't fly. She and Dionne aren't rock anyway. There's Heart but that's about it. Etheridge can play. Siouxie? Isn't going to fill MSG by a long shot. My original post said it: Every single one of those artists could fill the venue on their own. Including Keys. Would you bump The Who for The Pretenders (if the Pretenders were touring?)

            Do we need more women in rock? Right now I don't think we need more rock and I've played a lot of it for money. What I think is sad is the vibrant form that was pop music ground to a halt a while back and now the only interesting stuff happens around the edges. And there's no larger cultural significance like there was when I got tear gassed as a very young kid with Street Fighting Man playing out the window. Times change. Music doesn't mean that much around here anymore, except it's still music and is way too vast for the comings and goings of our culture.

            To sum up: I don't care about demographics on a show full of dinosaurs. What I'd like to see is more women in state and local government. Starting like now. Like NY State Assembly. Or Mayor, though I'll have a hard time backing Quinn.

            If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

            by jgnyc on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 05:06:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Don't agree that Waters was awful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      51percent, Rogneid

      His band was fine for what they put forth within the 30 minute or less spot given.  Bringing Vedder in for "Comfortably Numb" was a winning move, as well.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:15:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  comfortably numb was a good call (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and that's what makes show biz. I thought he wasn't good, you dug it. He could fill the room on his own so he belonged there. (if he'd played Time ... he might have won me over)

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:26:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I hoped for "Wish You Were Here" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but we never know what an artist will offer in their next performance, so . . .

          "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

          by wader on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:04:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  My guess: they were (a) selected to draw an (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, jan4insight, milkbone

    audience that would contribute $$$$ and (b) the acts that were available.


    by raincrow on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:08:06 PM PST

  •  All the people who performed last night (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Rogneid, FG

    could sell out MSG or Barclays Center, most for multiple nights. None of the older women you mentioned, with the exceptions of Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks (maybe Annie Lennox) could sell out the Beacon. (Joni Mitchell stopped performing years ago.) Don't know why they didn't have more younger women who would be popular, like Lady GaGa or Taylor Swift, but there's no way of knowing who was asked and couldn't do the show.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 02:30:32 PM PST

    •  gaga was in Russia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but what about annie lennox, bonnie rait, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefanie, or Rihanna? - Pink?

      Or Cyndi Lauper whose home town was flooded?

      Women are 51% of the population yet are represented in congress by barely 17%! Until our representation reflects the population, we risk sliding backwards .....

      by 51percent on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 04:50:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They knew who their primary audience was - (0+ / 0-)

    and the product they were pitching was NOSTALGIA, (in all it's guises).

  •  I understand your point but this looks like (0+ / 0-)

    some sort of PC police. As you said, there are plenty of women in show business. It's not like they are being excluded from it. Going all PC police at every single concert is counterproductive.

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