KISMIF Conference

Lucy O’Brien


Lucy O’Brien is the author of She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music (now in its 3rd edition), Madonna: Like An Icon (translated into 13 languages, with a third edition due in July 2018), and in-depth biographies of Dusty Springfield and Annie Lennox. She been a music writer since the 1980s, contributing to a range of titles including NME, Q, Mojo, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Quietus. She is also a broadcaster for TV and radio, co-producing the BBC Radio 2 series She Bop, and Righteous Babes, the Channel 4 film about rock and new feminism. She has been in academia since the early 2000s, teaching at London Goldsmiths College, Brighton University, and the University of Westminster. Currently Course Leader for BA Music Journalism and BA Music Marketing & Promotion at University for the Creative Arts, she is completing a PhD entitled: Express Yourself: Reframing women’s participation, agency and power in popular music’. And back in 1979/80 she played in all-girl punk band The Catholic Girls.

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Research Interests
Punk, feminism, music subcultures. Also the nexus between radical art and popular culture.



O’Brien, Lucy. (forthcoming, December 2018). ‘Country Girl: rural feminism in the performance of Alison Goldfrapp’, in Dr Z. Beaven, M. O’Dair and Dr R. Osborne (eds.), 40 Years of Mute Records: through Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, New Order and more, London: Bloomsbury.

O’Brien, Lucy. (forthcoming, July 2018). Madonna: Like An Icon, 3rd edition. New York: Bantam.

O’Brien, Lucy. (2016). ‘I’m With The Band: Redefining young feminism’, in A. Adrian and J. Warwick (eds.), Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music: Performance, Authority, Authenticity, London and New York: Routledge.

O’Brien, Lucy. (2014). ‘Not A Piece of Meat: Lady Gaga and that dress’, in M. Iddon and M. Marshall (eds.), Lady Gaga and Popular Music (Performing Gender, Fashion and Culture), London and New York: Routledge.

O’Brien, Lucy. (2013). She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music, 3rd edition, London: Jawbone.

O’Brien, Lucy. (2013). ‘The Enemy Within: Women and Protest Pop’, in Flecknell, French, Neubert and Siveyer (eds.), Let’s Start A Pussy Riot, London: Rough Trade/The Guardian.

O’Brien, Lucy. (2011). ‘Can I Have a Taste of Your Ice Cream: Leeds post punk, feminism and the Yorkshire Ripper‘, Punk & Post Punk, Vol.1: 1, pp. 27-40.

O’Brien, Lucy. (1999). ‘The Woman Punk Made Me’, in R. Sabin (ed.), Punk Rock, So What?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk, London and New York: Routledge.


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