The First All-Female Rock Band Signed to a Major Label, and Other Pioneer Girl Groups

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Every Wednesday, Douglas Wolk explores the people, places and coincidences that tie disparate musicians together.

The self-titled debut album by Fanny, originally released in 1970, was re-released this week. The band — sisters Jean and June Millington, Alice de Buhr and Nickey Barclay — never really turns up on the radio any more, and they barely did the first time around. (1971’s terrific glam-rock single “Charity Ball,” seen in a Sonny and Cher Show performance below, just scraped the bottom of the Top 40.) But their early records have held up amazingly well, and they were an enormously important band historically: The first rock band consisting entirely of women to release an album on a major label.

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