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Florence Welch Named ‘Greatest Woman in Rock of All Time’

Florence + The Machine performs in New York.
Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

In a staggeringly superlative declaration, London radio station XFM has declared Florence Welch (most often seen with a Machine) to be The Greatest Woman in Rock of All Time, though a more fitting title might be The Most Popular Female Rock Lead in Britain Right Now.

The Florence + the Machine vocalist beat out the Yeah Yeah Yeah‘s Karen O and singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, punk rock poet laureate Patti Smith, as well as Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Hole‘s Courtney Love, both of whom defined their era. Perhaps this means we’re now in the era of Florence, whose anthemic confessionals have earned a faithful following, with last October’s ‘Cermonials’ debuting at No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K.

An enthusiastic Welch thought it “amazing” and “incredible” to receive the top vote—sure evidence that those dog days really are over.

The Londoner described what it means to be a woman who rocks: “It is about doing something unexpected for someone who is perhaps more feminine,” she said. “Perverting the idea of feminity—managing to be vulnerable and powerful at the same time is a big thing in performance—really feeling like you’ve seen someone giving a big part of themself over to the audience.”

XFM Tally of the Greatest Woman in Rock of All Time

  1. Florence Welch
  2. Alison Mosshart
  3. Skin (Deborah Dyer)
  4. Karen O
  5. Debbie Harry
  6. Siouxsie Sioux
  7. PJ Harvey
  8. Hayley Williams
  9. Amy Winehouse
  10. Courtney Love
  11. Joan Jett
  12. Brody Dalle
  13. Chrissie Hynde
  14. Patti Smith
  15. Shirley Manson
  16. Bjork
  17. Charlotte Cooper
  18. Kim Deal
  19. Laura Marling
  20. Kate Nash

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