Women rarely make it into the main rock categories at the Grammys, but this year, the two solo female and women-led groups that managed to squeeze in to two categories took home the honors.
St. Vincent's self-titled album scored the Best Alternative Album win, and Hayley Williams-led Paramore earned Best Rock Song for “Ain't It Fun.” “St. Vincent” was up against Alt-J, Arcade Fire, Cage the Elephant and Jack White; and Paramore was up against songs from Ryan Adams, The Black Keys, Beck and White.
Sinéad O'Connor' “I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got” won Best Alternative Album the year the category was launched, in 1991, and since then, no other solo female or female-led artists have won. Acts like the B-52s, Arcade Fire, Belly, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, Bjork, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Neko Case are shuffled into this category, but as history shows, they're not frequently rewarded.
Best Rock Song was launched in 1992, and Alanis Morrisette (in 1996 and 1999) and Tracy Chapman (1997) have been the only female-fronters to take the prize, before Paramore. Melissa Etheridge, Fiona Apple, Hole, Garbage, Evanescence, and Lucinda Williams, have been nominated.
There were no solo female performers or female-fronted acts in the Best Rock Performance category this year, but the section is very new — it only arrived on the ballots in 2012. And only one lady-led act has been in there: Alabama Shakes in 2013, who lost to the Black Keys' “Lonely Boy.” That award was the cumulative of a few previous categories: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Bonnie Raitt was the only winner in that first group, in 1992; Eurythmics and Bonnie Raitt (with Delbert McClinton) won the middle category in 1987 and 1992, respectively; and no woman ever won Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
St. Vincent's 2014 album was among the very best-received sets of the year, and reached No. 12 on the album sales chart. Paramore's “Ain't It Fun” topped out at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles sales and radio play chart.
Check out all the nominees and winners from the 2015 Grammy Awards.