FANNY was a truly pioneering rock band, the first of its kind. Their career broke down the barriers for female musicians in rock. In fact, they were pretty much the original “godmothers of chick-rock”!
FANNY: four young women who were accomplished rock instrumentalists and singers… who never depended only on their sexuality to sell the music… who were self-described as being musicians first and women second. But the fact that they WERE women, and that they reached a level of success previously unheard of for a rock band composed solely of women, was a remarkable achievement.
FANNY was the first all-female rock act to record an entire album for a major record label, and in fact recorded and released five albums for major labels. FANNY was the first all-female rock act to rise to real prominence in the US and Europe. Acknowledged by both the press and their many fans as an awesome live act – in the words of Steve Peacock, a top UK music journalist of the era, “if you close your eyes, it’s like listening to the Stones” – FANNY toured tirelessly for up to nine months of every year. In a career that stretched from 1970 to 1975, they had a string of hit singles and also played on the studio recordings of some legendary artists. In addition to their many live gigs, they performed on top music and variety television shows of the time, including The Old Grey Whistle Test, the Sonny and Cher Show, American Bandstand and The Beat Club, Germany’s most famous band program.
The four original members of FANNY were June Millington (guitar, vocals), Jean Millington (bass, vocals), Alice de Buhr (drums, vocals), and Nickey Barclay (keyboards, vocals). June and Nickey were the primary songwriters for the band, but Jean and Alice made significant contributions to FANNY’s repertoire and all four participated in arranging the songs and crafting their stage performances. Some of the biggest music stars of the time, from David Bowie to Deep Purple to George Harrison to the Kinks, were so blown away by these four teenaged rockers that they went out of their way to promote the band and to book them as an opening act.
Despite their success, FANNY were never quite superstars, but they prepared the way for women in rock. When they started out, the idea of young women as rock players was as unthinkable as the idea of women having the vote had been to earlier generations. Recently, FANNY was finally honoured by receiving the ROCKRGRL WOMEN OF VALOR award for their vital achievement, and feted at Berklee College of Music on April 20, 2007 with a gala evening including testimonials and a “rockestra” of Berklee students playing FANNY’s songs.
FANNY: a legend whose legacy lives on in the women rock musicians of today.
This is their story…