John Harris

Journalist & Author

Where are the women of rock? Ask Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie | John Harris

It is amazing that every UK festival headline act this summer is all-male – except for the incredible Fleetwood Mac

“Don’t ask me why I obsessively look to rock’n’roll bands for some kind of model for a better society,” wrote the legendary US writer Lester Bangs in 1977. “I guess it’s just that I glimpsed something beautiful in a flashbulb moment once, and perhaps mistaking it for prophecy have been seeking its fulfilment ever since.”

Some might sneer at his naive romanticism, but anyone with a deep love of popular music should know roughly what he meant. Moreover, with the festival season looming, opportunities to experience one of the same epiphanies abound. The drill is simple: you stand in a field, your mystical leanings perhaps enhanced by a taste of this or that, and watch talented human beings do their thing on stage in the most spectacular way imaginable. If everything coheres, the mixture of lights, music and mass transcendence will do its work, and deliver something often impossible to explain but dizzyingly powerful: righteous if you’re lucky; utopian à la Bangs if it’s a really good night.

‘I think every band should have a girl in it, because it’s always going to make for cooler stuff going on’

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