One of The World’s First All-Female Rock Bands Was Founded by Two Filipina-American Sisters

By the end of the 1960s, rock and roll was at the forefront of popular music not just in the western world but beyond. In Asia, Japan and The Philippines were two early markets that embraced the genre. But long before Arnel Pineda joined the legendary American band Journey, two Filipina-American sisters changed rock history in a big way. June and Jean Millington founded the band Fanny in Los Angeles in 1969. While Janis Joplin and Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane and later Jefferson Starship) proved that women could front major rock bands, when it came to writing, playing and singing one’s own compositions, rock music was more or less entirely dominated by men.

Fanny changed this as the Millington sisters teamed up with keyboardist Nickey Barclay and Alice de Buhr on drums to form a classic rock quartet. Fanny’s debut album was the first modern rock album by an all female band.

The group became popular among critics, music lovers and fellow musicians. Fanny even earned praise from the likes of David Bowie. Although audiences came to like Fanny, many industry leaders at the time felt that the world still was not ready for an all female band.

Although the band Heart helped to establish the presence female rockers on the record charts later in the 1970s, as an all female band, Fanny still holds an important trail blazing distinction.

In 1971, Fanny appeared on the legendary West German music television show Beat Club where they were introduced to an international audience. Although today the band are not often discussed in the US or The Philippines, the music has stood the test of time and it likewise goes to show that Filipinos have done some unexpected things in unexpected places.


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