Shakespeare had it right: “If music be the food of love, then play on…” Then again, the man who once wrote “brevity is the soul of wit” sure did go on a fair bit, so maybe he wasn’t spot on all the time.

The point is his assessment of music is correct, and sometimes you find reasons to love music just a little bit more. In this instance, we’re celebrating some of the ladies in music who have operated out on the fringes; those who don’t rely on factory-processed good looks to make themselves noticed.

While various wipe-clean pop princesses go from trend to trend like some particularly excited flea on the dog hair of the world, this array of alternative ladies have stuck to their guns, provided their own looks and given us some memorable tunes in the process. Christ… what more could you want?

Shirley Manson

As beautiful as Shirley Manson is, it probably helped that her Garbage bandmates were three older men who had spent most of their careers behind the production desk.

Bursting onto the scene in 1995 with their self-titled debut album and the single Stupid Girl, Manson’s lithe figure, long red hair and alluring mascara was like a vision from heaven.

As the band’s career progressed, Manson lost the long locks and opted for a bleach-dyed crop, which did little to dim her radiance.

D’arcy Wretzky 

Top Ten Hot Alternative Rock Girls

As one of Billy Corgan’s former bandmates in the Smashing Pumpkins, D’arcy was probably used to strife and tension, but this ice-cool four-stringer always stood firm. Her unsmiling demeanour added more mystery to a woman who already seemed like a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

Her obtuse fashion choices and general silence gave the Pumpkins some much needed glamour and poise. Alas, the years have not been kind to Ms Wretzky: a relationship with Mickey Rourke, drug addiction and one of the world’s worst mugshots have since pushed D’arcy right off the radar.

Melissa Auf Der Maur

Another former Smashing Pumpkins bassist; Corgan sure knew how to pick them! After leaving Courtney Love’s Hole (which a few of us have probably done before) to fill the vacancy left by D’arcy, Melissa’s natural beauty and gorgeous red hair are her calling cards.

Brody Dalle

Have to be careful with this one: Dalle is married to Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, who looks like he could beat up the whole world with time to spare.

Dalle and her husband appear to have a lot in common; they’re both combative, visceral and given that both of them have benefitted generously from the looks department, their children will grow up to be part of the beautiful people club.

Ever since Dalle and her band The Distillers clattered their way onto our stereos, she has remained one of modern alt-rock’s poster girls.

Brix Smith

This might be one you’ll have to ask your dad about!

American Brix, who took her name from The Clash’s Guns Of Brixton, brought a dose of US sunshine to English art rockers The Fall when she married singer Mark E. Smith in the 80s.

Now the owner of a fashion boutique in London and a regular on British television and other media, Brix has never let up on the glamour and beauty she provides.

Donita Sparks

Riot grrrls L7 were one quartet you didn’t want to mess with.

Famous for throwing tampons at a festival crowd and whipping her pants off on British television during a performance, Donita Sparks combined feminine guile with masculine aggression. The result, as you can see, is nothing short of great.

Cristina Martinez

Artist, singer with Boss Hog, married to the prolific Jon Spencer and a grade A certified goddess, Martinez combined a lack of fear with astonishing bravado; posing either naked or in various states of undress on multiple album covers.

Using both her talent and looks as weapons, Martinez showed us a thing or two about having and flaunting it in an industry long decried as an old boys’ club.

Jemina Pearl

Throughout our lives we’re told to never judge a book by its cover, and Jemina Pearl, former singer with US brats Be Your Own Pet, is one of the best examples of that.

Sweet, petite and with a disarming smile, Jemina’s stage manner was akin to a drunk, malicious honey badger with a dirty mouth. A whirling dervish with scores to settle, Jemina is one of those women we’re all dying to meet and take us to edge.

St Vincent

A relative newcomer, St Vincent (real name Annie Clark) has quietly ploughed her own furrow with records that show inventiveness, raw talent and a keen eye for what makes a great song.

The Oklahoma native is also liable to transform her look at any given moment. In the build-up to the release of her latest eponymous album, Clark undertook a makeover that left her looking like an ice queen. Underneath all that remains an enviable beauty with more talent in her little fingers than most other people combined.

Kim Gordon

Part of the engine room of the now-sadly-defunct Sonic Youth, Gordon and former husband Thurston Moore railed against everything under a blanket of mean riffs, feedback and odd lyrics.

Gordon’s prominent position in the band and the scene as a whole made her an icon whose influence is still felt today. Tall, strong and blonde, she looks prepared to brandish her claws anytime. Eat me, indeed!

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