She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music

3rd Edition, London: Jawbone

She Bop is the definitive study of women in popular music. Drawing on more than 250 first-hand interviews, it covers nine decades of musical history, from ragtime and vaudeville to punk and hip hop, and features a cast of trailblazing female performers: Ella Fitzgerald and Madonna, Billie Holiday and Whitney Houston, Dusty Springfield and Beyonce, and many, many more. First published in 1995, She Bop was widely praised as ‘a contemporary classic and a must for any serious muso’s bookshelf’. It became a key text on numerous university and college courses, and has had a major impact on writing about women in music.

To coincide with the second edition, published in 2002, the National Portrait Gallery in London ran a She Bop exhibition of photographs inspired by the book, while BBC Radio 2 broadcast a two-part documentary series of the same name, which was scripted by O’Brien.

This revised and expanded third edition brings the story of She Bop into the 21st century, with a new final chapter covering the current generation of female performers and the ways in which the internet and digital culture have reconfigured the music industry for women.

Madonna: Like An Icon

London: Pan

Lucy O’Brien’s extensive and well-researched biography looks at Madonna the artist, giving detailed analysis of her music, complete with revealing interviews with musicians and producers. It focuses on her cultural impact and the way she uses cinema, photography, visual art, theatre and dance in her work. It takes an in-depth look at how - and, more to the point, why - Madonna has reinvented herself through the decades. It also looks at the wider context and includes interviews with similarly crusading female artists like Tori Amos, Laurie Anderson, Jeanette Winterson and Tracey Emin.

This is, quite simply, the definitive Madonna biography.


London: Pan

When she lost her battle with cancer in her sixtieth year, the phenomenal reaction to Dusty Springfield’s death confirmed her appeal across generations. From the 60s hits like ‘I Only Want To Be With You’, ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me’, to her 1980s collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys and beyond, Dusty retained her status as one of the few authentic white soul singers.

This classic biography features interviews with friends, musicians and collaborators, and a full discography. It charts every step of Dusty’s remarkable career, including her ‘difficult’ reputation, her sexual ambivalence and the excesses of drink and drugs, and explores why she has become an enduring pop icon.

Annie Lennox

London: Sidwick & Jackson

The author charts Annie Lennox’s career from the early troubled days of The Tourists through the monumental success of Eurythmics to the decision to take a pop sabbatical at the height of her career to work on behalf of the homeless. This in-depth biography features illuminating interviews with friends, musicians and producers, creating a strong picture of a complex artist.

Book Chapters

‘The Enemy Within: Women and Protest Pop’, in Let’s Start A Pussy Riot, eds Flecknell, French, Neubert & Siveyer (Rough Trade/The Guardian, 2013)

‘Girl Groups’ in Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay (An Anthology) ed. W.McKeen (Norton, NY & London, 2000)

‘The Woman Punk Made Me’, in Punk Rock, So What? (the cultural legacy of punk) ed. R. Sabin (Routledge, 1999)

‘The Year Skunk Broke’, in Girls Will Be Boys (Women Report On Rock) ed. L. Evans (Pandora, 1997)

‘Sisters of Swing: stardom, segregation and 1940s/50s pop’, in Girls, Girls, Girls! Essays on Women & Music ed. Sarah Cooper (Cassells 1995)

‘A Kiss in the Dreamhouse’, in Love is the Drug (Living As a Pop Fan) ed. John Aizlewood (Penguin 1994)

‘Pop Pastiche and the New Regeneration’, in Storia 5: A Woman’s Eye View of Britain Today ed. Kate Figes (Pandora 1990)