Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge
Peter Kramer / Associated Press


Melissa Etheridge
Music: North side of the 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Rock Musician | Singer
Born Melissa Lou Etheridge on May 29, 1961 in Leavenworth, KS

Melissa Etheridge surfaced in the 1980s as a fiery performer who came fully prepared to demonstrate that a woman could shred both with her voice and a guitar, a combination all-too-rare in the boys’ club of rock ’n’ roll.

After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, she dropped out and headed west, landing a residency in Long Beach that built her reputation by word of mouth to the point that several major record labels started a bidding war to sign her.

An artist who blended the vocal passion of Janis Joplin with the blazing guitar work of Bonnie Raitt, she exploded out of the starting blocks with her 1988 debut album, “Melissa Etheridge.” It ushered her into the Top 30 nationally and went gold within a year, just a taste of what lay in store for her.

In deciding to publicly acknowledge that she was gay on her 1993 album, “Yes I Am,” she broke open more doors, selling more than 6 million copies of the album, helped along by the hit single and music video “Come to My Window.”

That track brought her a second Grammy Award for female rock vocal performance, the first having been awarded her for the 1992 song “Ain’t It Heavy.”

In 2002, she published her autobiography, “The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music,” tracing her exceptional life story, before successfully going through a bout with breast cancer. Showing the world her determination to survive, she resumed her music career while still undergoing cancer treatment, proudly displaying her bald head before her hair started growing back.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    2006 Best Original Song "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth Win

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