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Runaways


The Runaways made a dent in '76 with their single "Cherry Bomb" ("Hello daddy, hello mom, I'm your ch-ch-cherry bomb!"). But that was overshadowed by the fact that they were the first all-female Rock group. When they started, members were in their teens, which gave them a "jailbait" reputation - responsible for launching Vixen Rock. If manufactured groups had never appeared, the Runaways might have been given a chance. But since that was not the case, they were dismissed as an over-hyped gimmick band that was merely the creation of producer Kim Fowley.

Too bad, the group could play their instruments and often wrote their own material. The Runaways never had a big album or even a huge single though Jett recommended they do a cover of the Arrows' "I Love Rock N' Roll."

The group passed and a solo Jett took it to the top of the charts. In Japan, for some reason, the Runaways found a measure of success that eluded them in the U.S. and Europe.





Personnel changes (including Currie's departure with Jett taking over as lead vocalist) preceded the group's demise in '79. Jett formed the Blackhearts who backed her, off and on, for the next 25 years. Currie and Ford also released solo albums but neither fared much better than the Runaways. Ford is best remembered for an '89 duet with Ozzy Osborne on "Close My Eyes Forever." Fox may have had the most rewarding post-Runaways career. She went to law school and became an entertainment attorney.

Efforts at a reunion failed largely because Ford backed out early. But she and Currie joined Jett on stage for a rendition of "Cherry Bomb" in '01, marking the first time in nearly 25 years the three had performed together.

About the only other thing the former band members did together was sue Fowley for unpaid royalties. West passed away from lung cancer in '06 at the age of 47.

Three years later, Fox claimed to own part of the group's trademark and was trying to block the movie, The Runaways, from being released. Jett initiated legal action so the film could premiere on schedule.

Not to be forgotten, Ford published Lita Ford - Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir in '16. As expected, the book chronicled her life and times in the Runaways. Ford was also featured in a commercial for Indeed, the online job site. In Music Teacher Celebration, Ford played a straight-laced music teacher who celebrated her work satisfaction with a kick-ass guitar solo.

And to top off the burst of activity, she released "Time Capsule," a "throwback" album with help from Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and singer Robin Zander, among others.

It didn't stop there. The Women's International Music Network (the WiMN) presented Ford with the '17 She Rocks Award, which recognized women who stood out as role models in the music industry. Also, Ford and Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) were among the artists heard on the "She Rocks, Volume 1" compilation.

Runaways Discography

Studio Albums:

1976 The Runaways
1977 Queens Of Noise
1977 Waitin' For The Night
1978 And Now... The Runaways

It's been said the Runaways paved the way for the Go-Go's (who had a better developed pop sense) and the Bangles (who were better musicians). But both those groups probably would have made it whether the Runaways had existed or not.

At various points in their career, the Runaways were pitched as a Punk group or at least a close cousin. This marketing initiative was laughable. Playing crude, simplistic songs at high volume does not make Punk. However, the Runaways did have a significant influence on a number of female led groups as diverse as Bikini Kill and the Donnas.

The Runaways had energy, attitude and solid production. But their material is often wanting and the performances overwrought. Anthems and ripping covers, something Jett would later do to perfection, are the main reasons to listen to the Runaways. "Runaways: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection" contains "Cherry Bomb" and the best of the rest including some fun live tracks.



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