Lucy O'Brien


I’m honoured to have an essay included in the wonderful Let’s Start A Pussy Riot collection. Published by Rough Trade/The Guardian, all proceeds go towards the campaign for the Pussy Riot musicians still held in a Russian prison. Entitled ‘The Enemy Within’, my essay looks at the role women have played within protest pop, from Joan Baez to MIA, and why rage makes them marginalised voices….

Myself and Miki Berenyi, singer/guitarist with ‘90s dream pop shoegazers Lush, were recently on a panel celebrating Blondie’s classic 1978 LP Parallel Lines, as part of RBP’s album club at London’s Idler Academy. We both agreed that Debbie Harry sang with a female gaze that was unusually assertive for the time (“I will give you my finest hour/the one I spent watching you shower”)!

And coming soon, my chapter ‘Not A Piece of Meat: Lady Gaga and that dress’, will be published as part of Iddon and Marshall’s The Gaga Collection. Here I look at the fine tradition of meat, sexuality and consumption in feminist art – from Carolee Schneemann to Linder Sterling, Jana Sterbak and… ahem, Gaga.

...Lastly, if you want to access any of my old interviews (from Debbie Harry to Roxanne Shante to Nina Simone), go to, one of the biggest music-writing sites on the web. And here’s to a beautiful summer!


Lucy O'BrienLucy O’Brien has been writing on music, feminism and popular culture, and creating fiction since the early 1980s.

She grew up in Southampton, played in all-girl punk band The Catholic Girls, and graduated from Leeds University in 1983. Since starting out on NME, she has written for a range of titles including the Sunday Times, Marie Claire, the Guardian, Q and Mojo.

She’s the author of Madonna: Like An Icon, She Bop and She Bop II and biographies of Dusty Springfield and Annie Lennox. A regular ‘pundit’ on TV and radio, she also co-produced the C4 film Righteous Babes on rock and new feminism. She teaches in Media & Communications at London's Goldmith's College and Westminster University, and is currently working on a memoir that combines music, mysticism and magic.

Latest release

She Bop: The Definitive History Of Women In Popular Music She Bop: The Definitive History Of Women In Popular Music (3rd Edition)

(Jawbone £14.95)

This long-anticipated third edition includes chapters on the digitalisation of pop and the rise of the mega diva.

 “Despite being present at every musical big bang, women are still fighting to have their stories told through the female gaze.

Thankfully this is exactly what O’Brien did in the first edition of the superb She Bop back in 1995 and does again in this vastly expanded analysis of the role gender plays in every aspect of music making.”
Lois Wilson, MOJO

For more information or to order from Amazon, click here


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