There are no are apologizes. She does whatever she wants and doesn’t even think twice. Her vocals are sassy and extreme; she plays the guitar or bass or drums with passionate skill, she may have bruises down her arms and legs, a bloody lip or black eye, some hair ripped out perhaps. She takes no prisoners. The music screams with fury. And at this moment I don’t fear anything or anyone…
For the next few weeks I am going to feature woman I love in Rock ‘n’ Roll… the history behind them and why they kick ass. Now there are so many great female musicians past and present so unfortunately I won’t be able to name them all… so don’t be mad if I miss your favourite. Add comments below so we can get the list very long!
Today’s feature and first up on my list is the groundbreaking 70s American all-girl teenage band the Runaways. I am a late comer to the Runaways, only within the last few months have I started completely obsessing about them. The band is best known for songs Cherry Bomb, Queens of Noise, Rock n’Roll, Neon Angels and Born to be Bad. What I love about the ladies of the Runaways is their uniqueness as individuals and the great talent each of them have.
Rhythm guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West started the band in 1975. Lead singer Cherie Currie was only 15 when she joined the Runaways! They were all so young and already amazing.
I’m sure many of you have heard about the up coming Runaways movie starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, fingers crossed that they give the Runaways justice which will be tough but reviews have been good so we’ll just have to wait and see. The movie is actually based on a book written by Cherie called Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway, in which she talks about her days as a Runaway and struggles with drugs and alcohol. I would love to get my hands on this book! Got a copy? Lend it to me!! Or if you know where I can get a copy for cheap let me know.
Lita Ford played lead guitar for the Runaways, after the break up of the Runaways Lita staked her claim to fame in the 80’s as one of the most successful and sexy woman in Metal. Having been a solo artist for 15 years and releasing 6 successful studio albums Lita took ten years off in the 90’s but she recently released another solo album called Wicked Wonderland. I love it that she’s still rocking and I can’t wait to hear her new album.
Of course Joan Jett is such a bad ass and we all know that she became a huge role model for female rockers after her. I remember being a little girl loving her solo work, songs such as “I love Rock n’ Roll’ and Bad Reputation. And like Lita she’s still rocking it with her band Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.
In the summer of 1977 The Runaways were the number 4 imported music act in Japan, just behind Led Zeppelin, ABBA and Kiss. If you ever get to see footage of The Runaways touring that summer in Japan you get to watch them arriving for a string of sold out shows and getting caught up in complete fan hysteria. The girls were not prepared and bassist Jackie Fox left the group during the tour (they went through a revolving door of bassist until the end) and Cheri left soon after having Joan who was once the part time singer take over lead vocals.
Sandy West continued to play music after the Runaways but in 2006 the best female drummer in Rock n’ Roll sadly past away from cancer.
And Jackie Fox pretty much stopped playing music altogether after The Runaways and is now apparently an Entertainment Lawyer in Los Angeles.
People found The Runaways at the time threatening because they were the only all girl band around playing Rock ‘n’ Roll, and to top that off they were only teenagers. But I love them for those reasons and they are relevant today as they were back in the 70s. The Runaways were only around from 1975 to 1979, only four years… such a short time… but their impact on music will last forever.
Who will be next on my list of the ladies I love that rock? Stay tuned!