Women’s History Month: 5 Female Songwriters Behind Some of the Biggest Hits


There are the ones songs the lyrics to, however you would possibly not know who used to be in the back of the phrases. Many ladies have labored in the back of the scenes for many years, writing hits for everybody from Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Stevie Marvel, and past.

Listed here are 5 ladies who wrote some giant hits, most commonly in the back of the scenes over the last 5 many years or extra.

Cindy Walker

Harlan Howard, who penned greater than 4,000 songs in his profession, as soon as referred to as Cindy Walker “the best nation songwriter he’s ever heard.” Beginning out as a singer and dancer, Walker’s actual energy used to be in her phrases. Right through her profession, Walker penned songs like “You Don’t Know Me,” ‘In The Misty Moonlight,” “Now not That I Care,” and “It’s All Your Fault.” In 1944, Walker reached the highest of charts together with her music “When Your Blue Moon Turns to Gold” and endured to put in writing extra hits, together with Gene Autry’s “Blue Canadian Rockies,” Roy Orbison’s “Dream Child,” and Jim Reeves “Take Me in Your Hands and Grasp Me,” amongst others. Walker used to be inducted into the Nation Song Corridor of Popularity in 1997 and earned greater than 20 BMI awards right through her profession. Her songs had been lined by way of everybody from Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Ricky Skaggs, and Merle Haggard. The songwriter died in 2006, seven days after Willie Nelson launched You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, a choice of her biggest hits. “If you’ll get an actual just right name, you’ve were given one thing,” mentioned Walker. “I all the time write from the name. I’ve by no means written a music with out the name. The phrases and song come in combination, it simply type of involves you. The songs simply sing themselves to me. They more or less write themselves. I simply stand again and concentrate.”

Music Snapshot:
“Dream Child (How Lengthy Will have to I Dream),” recorded by way of Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell
“You Don’t Know Me,” recorded by way of Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles
“I Don’t Care,” recorded by way of Ricky Skaggs 
“Far-off Drums,” Jim Reeves

Sylvia Moy

Stevie Marvel used to be just about dropped from Motown Data, the mega-label based by way of Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit, Michigan in 1959, however he had a songwriting angel by way of his aspect: Sylvia Moy. The singer and songwriter believed within the younger Marvel, whose voice used to be converting as he were given older. “I don’t imagine it’s over for him,” Moy instructed a Motown exec. “Let me have Stevie.” Moy wrote “Uptight (The entirety’s Alright),” for the younger singer, and the only peaked at No. 3 in 1966 and spent 14 weeks at the Billboard Most sensible 100. Marvel remained at the label, which birthed the careers of Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, and lots of extra. Moy endured to paintings with Marvel right through his profession, writing a large number of singles for him, together with “My Cherie Amour” and “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day” throughout her tenure at Motown. Moy, who died in 2017 on the age of 78, additionally co-wrote the Isley Brothers hit “This Outdated Middle of Mine (Is Vulnerable for You),” endured writing for movie and tv, and used to be inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Popularity in 2006. 

Snapshot of Songs:
“This Outdated Middle of Mine (Is Vulnerable for You),” The Isley Brothers
“Uptight (The entirety’s Alright),” Stevie Marvel
“It Takes Two,” Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
“Honey Chile,” Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Holly Knight

A choice of songs by way of Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Kiss, and dozens of different artists in her songwriting catalog, Holly Knight has written some iconic songs right through the previous 40 years. Born in New York Town, Knight studied classical piano and began out in two bands—Tool, which hit the Most sensible 40 in 1986 with the observe “Hangin’ On A Middle Assault,” and Spider, which launched two albums on longtime collaborator Mike Chapman’s Dreamland Data. To begin with writing “Higher Be Excellent To Me,” for Spider, the music later made its manner directly to Tina Turner’s 1984 album Personal Dancer—certainly one of 10 songs Knight wrote for Turner. Knight later remodeled “The Very best“—initially recorded by way of Bonnie Tyler—for Turner, who reworked it into successful. Right through her profession, Knight received 3 Grammy Award-winning songs, earned 13 ASCAP awards, and used to be inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Popularity. She has written for Bon Jovi, Chaka Khan, Affordable Trick, Corridor and Oates, John Waite, Lou Gramm, Wynonna Judd, Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, Aaron Neville, CeeLo Inexperienced, Kim Wilde, Shawn Colvin, Dusty Springfield, Will Hoge, Leigh Nash and extra. Knight’s songs had been featured right through TV and picture, together with Thelma & Louise, Mad Max Past Thunderdome, Anchorman II, 13 Going On Thirty, and Dallas Consumers Membership, in conjunction with tv displays American Idol, The Voice, The Simpsons, South Park, The Following, and Schitt’s Creek.

Music Snapshot:
“The Very best,” Tina Turner
“The Warrior,” Scandal, that includes Patty Smyth 
“Love is a Battlefield,” Pat Benatar
“Rag Doll,” Aerosmith

Allee Willis

Should you ever questioned who wrote the theme music for the hit display Pals, Allee Willis is your lady. The songwriter, who has written movie and tv, labored as a documentarian, creator, Broadway lyricist, and past, wrote numerous hits for artists like Puppy Store Boys, the Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Holliday, Cyndi Lauper, Debby Boone, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Taylor Dayne, Rita Coolidge, Justin Timberlake, and extra right through her profession. Born in Detroit, the song of Motown used to be engrained in Willis, who began her profession as a junior copywriter at Columbia and sparked her hit-making run. Willis additionally wrote “September” for Earth, Wind, and Hearth and went directly to paintings with the band, co-writing six extra tracks off their double-platinum album, I Am (1979), together with “Within the Stone,” co-written with David Foster. Willis, who died in 2019, used to be inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Popularity in 2018.

Music Snapshot:
“I’ll Be There For You” (Pals theme music), The Rembrandts
“What Have I Carried out to Deserve This?” Puppy Store Boys (that includes Dusty Springfield)
“September,” Earth, Wind, & Hearth
“Neutron Dance,” The Pointer Sisters

Diane Warren

Operating as a team of workers creator for the past due singer Laura Branigan’s manufacturer, Warren penned her first hit when requested to put in writing English lyrics in keeping with the 1981 French music of the similar identify by way of Martine Clémenceau. In 24 hours, Warren wrote “Solitaire,” which become a Most sensible 10 hit for Branigan in 1983. Via 1985, she gave Debarge every other hit with “Rhythm of the Night time,” which reached No. 1 at the Grownup Recent chart. Right through her profession, Warren used to be the primary particular person to have seven hits from seven other artists at the charts at one time, and she or he has written for dozens of artists, together with Roberta Flack, Roy Orbison, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Roy Orbison, Cher, Patti LaBelle, Reba McEntire, ’N Sync, Gloria Estefan, Woman Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Enrique Iglesias, LeAnn Rimes, Aerosmith, Ricky Martin, Religion Hill, Celine Dion, and extra. Warren’s songs had been featured at the soundtracks of greater than 60 motion pictures. Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Need to Leave out a Factor,” featured within the 1998 movie Armageddon, won an Oscar nomination, and reached No. 1 at the Billboard Most sensible 100 and Recent chart, and once more at the nation chart with a rendition by way of Mark Chesnut, whilst “How Do I Are living,” which used to be first recorded by way of a then 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. Each variations had been launched at the similar day in 1997, Yearwood’s used to be featured within the movie Con Air, reached No. 1 at the nation chart, and received the Grammy for Very best Nation Vocal Efficiency. In 2001, Warren won her personal famous person at the Hollywood Stroll of Popularity and has been named ASCAP Songwriter of the 12 months six occasions.

Snapshot of Hits: 
“Not anything’s Gonna Prevent Us Now,” Starship
“Love Will Lead You Again,” Taylor Dayne
“Don’t Flip Round,” Ace of Base
“After I See You Smile,” Unhealthy English

Picture: Diane Warren (Rochelle Brodin); Sylvia Moy (Songwriters Corridor of Popularity)