Stevie Nicks

Photo: Getty Images

It's "Oprahpalooza!" Oprah honors trailblazing female musicians who've contributed to the soundtracks of our lives. First up is legendary singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks, a woman who has dominated the music scene for almost four decades as the front woman of Fleetwood Mac and a chart-topping solo artist.

At 16, Stevie wrote her first ballad, and one year later, she met guitarist Lindsey Buckingham in high school. In 1975, Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac and catapulted to superstardom. Stevie's influence was great—young women everywhere imitated her Bohemian style and gypsy mystique.

In 1981, Stevie took a break from Fleetwood Mac and released Bella Donna, her first solo album, but it wasn't the end of Fleetwood Mac. Fans were thrilled when the group reunited in 1997 and performed at sold-out stadiums across the country.

Although Stevie's been recording hits for almost 40 years, she says she wasn't always confident about her career. "You're always scared. It doesn't matter how famous or how big you are: You are always terrified that your next record is not going to be as good as the last one," Stevie says. "It's not just the fact that you become rich and you become famous. You have to work harder. Your trade has to get better."
Stevie Nicks

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

At 62, Stevie is still rock and roll's reigning queen—and she wouldn't have it any other way.

"If I couldn't sing for people anymore there would be a big hole in my life," she says. "Maybe I can't do four shows a week, which I am still doing, ... but I will always be able to perform because that's where my heart is. I don't know what I would do without it, honestly."

Watch Stevie discuss her latest single backstage Watch  

Stevie says she still feels young, and Oprah can't get over how good Stevie looks! What's her secret? "I have always taken really good care of my skin," Stevie says. "Even on the bad days, even if you're just very, very drunk and have a big night, and everybody else goes to bed with the makeup on. Not me."

Stevie also credits limited sun exposure and a strict, three-times-a-day skincare routine for her glowing complexion.
Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

For more than 15 years, Stevie has shared professional—and personal—advice with fellow singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. The two rockers first met at a Grammys party in the '90s and decided to work together on the soundtrack for the film Boys on the Side.

"I couldn't believe I was meeting Stevie Nicks," Sheryl says. "I mean, this was my first Grammys. I was the kid in 7th grade who had the shag haircut and the platforms and was singing [Stevie's songs] into the curling iron."

Watch Stevie and Sheryl perform Fleetwood Mac's biggest hit, "Landslide" Watch  

There is much that Sheryl admires about Stevie, including Stevie's artistic spirit. "There are a lot of great singers out there, but Stevie keeps diaries and diaries and diaries," Sheryl says. "She's always thinking as an artist. She draws. ... She was a living example for me, especially when I started working with her, that everything can always be new and fresh. You're always re-creating yourself, no matter what you do. In life, I think it's a really great lesson."
Sheryl Crow and Oprah

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

Stevie and Sheryl's professional relationship has evolved into an amazing friendship. When Sheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, she says Stevie was one of the first people she called. "Stevie was right up front," Sheryl says. "She's like, 'You are not dying of cancer. I'm proclaiming it right now.' I knew I wasn't, but it is a showstopper."

Today, Sheryl is happy to report that she's healthy and cancer free. "Five years is a great marker—it means I'm free and clear," Sheryl says. "And I want to encourage everyone to get mammograms and be diligent about that."

To encourage people to be proactive about their wellness, Sheryl recently co-wrote a cookbook, If It Makes You Healthy, with her personal chef, Chuck White. The cookbook is filled with more than 100 recipes that utilize vitamin-rich ingredients. "There's so much in food that also propagates staying well and can be a defense mechanism against cancers in general," Sheryl says.

Try 4 of Sheryl and Chuck's healthy—and delicious—recipes

In addition to singer, songwriter and cookbook author, Sheryl is also the mother of two little boys, Wyatt, who's almost 4 years old, and Levi, who is almost 1 year old. "They're road warriors," Sheryl says. "I think Levi was 2 weeks old when he started going on the road, and Wyatt was about 6 months. Wyatt started out in the bassinet in the studio when I was making the Detours record."

Watch more with Sheryl behind the scenes Watch  
Joan Jett

Photo: AP

Joan Jett has been paving the way for girls who want to rock for 35 years. It all began when she taught herself to play the guitar when she was 14 years old. At 15, she formed the world's first all-girl rock band, the Runaways, a group known for its aggressive sound and rebellious attitude.

When the Runaways members went their separate ways in the late '70s, Joan continued to be a music pioneer. After being rejected by dozens of music labels, she founded her own company, Blackheart Records, and released her smash hit, "I Love Rock 'N' Roll."

With 21 albums and an impressive list of chart-topping hits, Joan, now 52, still has plenty of reasons to love rock.
Joan Jett and Oprah

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

Joan doesn't just love rock and roll—it's like a religion to her. "I take it very seriously, and I think that it's important to do what you love," Joan says. "Rock and roll, when I grew up, really had a context and a meaning."

For Joan, being a female musician who is taken seriously is something she's struggled with her entire career. "I think that there are many glass ceilings, and I had a really hard time in the Runaways," she says. "First [people said] it was either a joke, a fad, but once people realized we were serious, then they started getting mean. They would say every word you can call a woman and try to dissuade you from doing what you love."

But, Joan says she doesn't take it personally; she knows many strong women face obstacles. "A lot of times you're going to get pushback, and I think it's really important for women to try to follow their dreams and push back that pushback," she says.

"Push back the pushback. I like that," Oprah says.
Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus

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For teen sensation-turned-rocker Miley Cyrus, performing on Oprah's stage with Joan, one of her idols, is the fulfillment of a dream. "It's amazing," Miley says. "I auditioned for my show [Hannah Montana] with 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll,' and the first album I ever made I had 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll.' So it's something that's always meant something to me. To see Joan stand up for chicks who want to play the guitar, [that's] something that's always inspired me, and I'm happy that I can be here with her."

Watch this duo perform some of Joan's greatest hits Watch  

For Miley, transitioning from Disney pop star Hannah Montana to performing as herself hasn't been as difficult as the media would make it seem. "Everyone likes making the transition real hard," she says. "Joan said, 'You've got to do what you said, and you've got to be honest.' It's not about how far I can push things so people will believe that I'm not Hannah Montana anymore. You just make the music that you love, and because I'm growing up, so does my music. It's not about making a statement."

Backstage, Miley reveals her tour must-haves and more Watch  
Joan Jett, Oprah and Miley Cyrus

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

Joan says she's grateful for the influence she's had on Miley and other young women.

"It's what I've always wanted to do from the beginning in the Runaways—to inspire other girls to either play rock and roll or just do what they love," Joan says. "You can't go wrong if you do what you love and you try. If you have difficulty, I mean, life is difficult. So I think you have to give it a shot. If you don't give your dreams a shot, you'll always regret it."

Photo: Getty Images

In the '80s, hip-hop music was a man's world...until the all-female rap trio, Salt-N-Pepa, heated up the scene. It's been 25 years since the release of their first album, Hot, Cool & Vicious, and since then, Cheryl "Salt" Wray, Sandra "Pepa" Denton, and Deidre "DJ Spinderella" Roper have released five albums, won a Grammy and empowered women with songs like "Push It," "Shoop" and "Let's Talk About Sex."

The trio separated in 2000, but in 2007, the ladies reunited for a VH1 reality series called The Salt-N-Pepa Show. Today, they continue to tour and sing their hits for fans across the country.
Oprah and Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

They may go by Salt, Pepa and Spinderella on stage, but offstage they're better known as DeeDee, Cheryl and Sandy. "We call [Sandy] Pepa when she's going 'Pepa crazy,'" Cheryl jokes.

Watch Salt-N-Pepa discuss bad hairstyles and dream duets backstage Watch  

When these women founded Salt-N-Pepa, they say they were following their passion, but they never expected to change the face of hip-hop.

"I always believed in Salt-N-Pepa, and I feel like the fact that we believed and we were so focused, it propelled us forward and it shifted the atmosphere," Cheryl says. "I think everything just moved out of the way for us to put our energy out there and inspire women."
Oprah and Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

At first, DeeDee says her parents didn't want her to join an all-female rap group. "My dad and my mom were, of course, like most parents: 'No, you're not going on the road at 16,'" DeeDee says. "I was in high school, so Salt-N-Pepa had to come and convince my parents that they would take care of me."

Cheryl promised she would take care of DeeDee, but Sandy had other plans. "[Sandy] took her to her room and corrupted her on the road," Cheryl jokes.

Find out how the women of Salt-N-Pepa met Watch  
Pat Benatar

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Rocker Pat Benatar, the daughter of an opera singer, knew early on that music was her passion. At 26 years old, she fell madly in love with guitarist Neil "Spyder" Giraldo, and they've been making sweet music together ever since.

In 1979, Pat's first album was released, which included the first single, "Heartbreaker." Two years later, Pat made music history when she became the first female solo artist to appear on MTV. Now, after more than three decades, four Grammys and 22 million records sold, Pat is one of rock's all-time greatest leading ladies.
Pat Benatar and Avril Lavigne

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For the first time, Pat and Neil perform one of their biggest hits, "Love Is a Battlefield," with young singer/songwriter Avril Lavigne. "This is my first time performing with Pat, and it's the biggest honor ever," Avril says. "This is such a moment for me to remember."

Watch Pat, Neil and Avril perform "Love Is a Battlefield" Watch  

Without strong rockers like Pat, Stevie and Joan, Avril says she wouldn't be where she is today. "These women paved the way for artists like me, and they were the first women in rock and roll. They had to go head-to-head with other male bands, so they're strong, they're independent, they're doing what they love. That's really just what it's all about," she says.

Avril talks about her new album, touring and more Watch  
Oprah and Pat Benatar

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

The road to stardom wasn't always easy for Pat. In fact, she says it was a nightmare. "I used to call it 'the gauntlet' because every single day somebody else would [say], 'Why don't you just come in here and sit down on my lap, and we'll get that record played.'"

One thing that wasn't difficult was maintaining a strong relationship with her husband and musical collaborator, Neil. "This is how we began, and it's always been like this, so we made a commitment really early on," Pat says.

What's Neil's secret? "She's always right," Neil says.

"Good answer," Pat says.

Backstage, Pat and Neil discuss their relationship and early love of music Watch  

Oprah and Sister Sledge

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios

In 1979, four sisters from Philadelphia, Kathy, Kim, Debbie and Joni, took the world by storm when they released a disco anthem that celebrated their family. Decades later, Sister Sledge's hit "We Are Family" is still one of the most requested songs of all time! "We say it's going to be here when we're long gone," Kathy says.

Watch Sister Sledge close the show with rock and hip-hop legends Watch  

Today, these sisters are working on a gospel album dedicated to their mother and encouraging a new generation of Sledge women. "What's so amazing is we have five aunts, five aunts in the first generation, five of us, and now we each have a daughter," Kathy says, "And there's a new Sledge group!"

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