Are Women Finally Making It Rock?
In this report about female rock groups Fanny and Pride of Women, Lillian Roxon’s passion for the advancement of women in rock shines through.
They don’t get an easy ride though; here she defends her lack of enthusiasm for Fanny’s first album with her fabulous trademark no-nonsense approach: ‘their album was pleasant enough, but lightweight’.
Although she’s quick to express her opinion, Roxon is refreshingly humble enough to admit when she’s wrong and that she is not above changing her mind about Fanny’s music after speaking with the band.
This is an episode of the radio show Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’ produced in 1971 and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States.
The cover image for this title is a publicity image of Fanny in 1973. Courtesy fannyrocks.com. The band image would have been arresting at the time for only having women in the line-up. In every other way it is typical of a publicity image of bands from the 1970s. You don't get much of an idea of their music due to the absence of their instruments but their clothes hint at a rocky but relaxed vibe.
Notes by Beth Taylor
Lillian Roxon (1932–1973) was an Australian journalist who lived in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Dubbed ‘the mother of rock’, she wrote the iconic Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia, which was published in 1969.
In the 1970s Roxon documented the emerging rock revolution and later the birth of punk from her haunt – the New York city music club Max’s Kansas City – which was frequented by Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie.
During 1971 she wrote and presented a show called Discotique – a two-minute ‘daily newscast from the world of music’. The shows, which ran from March to October 1971, were recorded and then pressed onto vinyl LPs (20 shows fitted onto one LP) and syndicated on 250 radio stations in the United States. At the time, her voice would have been a curiosity for listeners unaccustomed to hearing Australian accents.
Roxon died tragically at the age of 41 from a severe asthma attack.
The Discotique recordings in our collection date from 28 June to 23 July 1971 and appear on an LP that the Roxon family donated to the NFSA in 2013. Given Roxon’s significance to the history of rock music, Radio Archivist Maryanne Doyle had long been looking for radio recordings of Roxon reporting on the music scene.
Maryanne first heard about the Discotique recordings thanks to Robert de Young, producer of the documentary Mother of Rock, about Roxon’s life. Mother of Rock (2010) is preserved in the NFSA collection as part of the National Documentary Program funded by Screen Australia.
Notes by Beth Taylor