The Best 90s Bands With Female Singers

The music scene of the 1990s was bustling with rebellion and new sounds, especially in the rock scene. Grunge, industrial, shoegaze, and other forms of the genre became popularized and with it came some excellent 90s bands with female leads. Some of these bands contained all women while some had female singers backed by a mixed or male instrumental band. The contrast of a feminine voice and hard guitars was the recipe for success for a lot of bands on this list.

Sleater-Kinney, now legendary, burst onto the scene influenced by riot grrrl and punk sounds with their all-female cast. The Cranberries, meanwhile, were originally an all-male band before their lead singer was replaced by the fantastic Dolores O'Riordan and the rest is history. Other great 90s female fronted bands include Hole, Garbage, and Portishead.

Vote up your favorite 90s bands with female singers and scan the list for new possible favorites.


  • The Cranberries
    Photo: Island
    The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 by lead singer Niall Quinn, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler. Quinn was replaced as lead singer by Dolores O'Riordan in 1990. The band officially classify themselves as an alternative rock group, but incorporate aspects of indie pop, post-punk, Irish folk, and pop rock into their sound.The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 1990s with their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, which became a commercial success. The band has sold over 40 million records worldwide (and over 14 million in the US), achieved five top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart ...more
  • Sleater-Kinney is an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. The band's current lineup features Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar) and Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals) following the departure of longtime member Janet Weiss (vocals, drums, and harmonica) in 2019. Sleater-Kinney was influenced by riot grrrl and is a key part of the American indie rock scene. The band is also known for its feminist and left-leaning politics.
  • PJ Harvey
    Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images
    3
    13 votes
    Polly Jean Harvey (born 9 October 1969) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, writer, artist, poet and composer. Primarily known as a vocalist and guitarist, she is also proficient with a wide range of instruments.Harvey began her career in 1988 when she joined local band Automatic Dlamini as a vocalist, guitarist and saxophone player. The band's frontman, John Parish, would become her long-term collaborator. In 1991, she formed an eponymous trio and subsequently began her professional career. The trio released two studio albums, Dry (1992) and Rid of Me (1993) before disbanding, after which Harvey continued as a solo artist. Since 1995, she has released a further nine studio albums ...more
  • Garbage
    Photo: Garbage Unlimited / Infectious Music
    4
    13 votes
    Garbage are an American rock band formed in 1993 in Madison, Wisconsin. The band's lineup—consisting of Scottish singer Shirley Manson (vocals) and American musicians Duke Erikson (guitar, bass, keyboards), Steve Marker (guitar, keyboards), and Butch Vig (drums, production)—has remained unchanged since its inception. All four members are involved in the songwriting and production process. Garbage have sold over 17 million albums worldwide. The band's eponymous debut album was critically acclaimed upon its release, selling over four million copies and achieving double platinum certification in the United Kingdom, United States and in Australia. It was accompanied by a string of increasingly ...more
  • No Doubt
    Photo: Interscope
    5
    10 votes
    No Doubt were an American rock band from Anaheim, California, formed in 1986. For most of their career, the band consisted of vocalist Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young. Since the mid-1990s, they were supported by trombonist and keyboardist Gabrial McNair and trumpeter and keyboardist Stephen Bradley in live performances. Though their 1992 eponymous debut album failed to make an impact, its ska punk–inspired follow-up The Beacon Street Collection sold over 100,000 copies in 1995, over triple that of its predecessor. The band's diamond-certified album Tragic Kingdom (1995) benefited from the resurgence of third-wave ska in the 1990s, and "Don't ...more
  • 6
    10 votes
    The Cardigans are a Swedish rock band formed in Jönköping, Sweden, in 1992, by guitarist Peter Svensson, bassist Magnus Sveningsson, drummer Bengt Lagerberg, keyboardist Lars-Olof Johansson and lead singer Nina Persson, with the line-up remaining unchanged to this day. Their debut album Emmerdale gave them a solid base in their home country and enjoyed some success abroad, especially in Japan. It was not until their second album Life that an international reputation was secured. Their popularity rose when their single "Lovefool", from the album First Band on the Moon, was included in the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Other singles included ...more