The Runaways were an American rock band that formed in 1975 in Los Angeles, CA, comprised of all teenage women. The band released four studio albums, an album of leftovers and one live set from the years 1976 through 1980, three of those in 1977 alone. Though basically a cult favorite in the United States, they were much more popular in Europe and huge stars in Japan.
And yes, they really were just teenagers, and yes, they really did write and perform the bulk of the material on their albums. The members of the group all were part of the youth culture of the mid-1970’s Hollywood and suburban teen scene.
DJ Rodney Bingenheimer owned a popular youth club, The English Disco on Sunset Blvd., that was instrumental in bringing Punk and New Wave bands from England, for the first visit to the U.S. 15 year old guitarist Joan Jett would meet Kim Fowley at this club. Fowley had several near brushes over the years with pop fame of varying degrees, and was always looking for the next hot new trend that would make him rich.
Much like the Yardbirds before them, the band became more well known for what happened to the guitarists after the band called it a day:
- Lita Ford’s popularity peaked with a platinum album and a top 10 single in the late 1980’s, and is reported to be working on new music.
- Joan Jett, started a new band and a record label, which, incidentally also made her the very first female president of a U.S. record label. She has maintained a very successful career, and is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Among the others:
- Jackie Fox went to UCLA, graduated with a degree in Linguistics and has been a well received writer. She left the band after revealing that band manager Kim Fowley had publicly raped her, and she refused to allow her name to be used in the big screen biopic about the band in 2010.
- Vicki Blue has kept herself busy as a successful television and feature film producer, and even appeared in the comedy classic This is Spinal Tap as the character Cindy.
- Drummer Sandy West formed a new band and continued to do session work, never being able to replicate even the modest success the Runaways had. She died from cancer in 2006.
- Cherie Currie continued to record new music and tour, some of it with her sister, Marie. After this, she was, for a time married to actor Robert Hayes and has worked as a youth drug counselor and a fitness coach.
- Laurie McAllister eventually retired from the music industry in the early 1980’s and eventually found her true calling as a veterinarian technician here in Oregon. She left us in 2011 after a severe asthma attack.
Though not the first all-female rock and roll group signed to a major label (Fanny, Goldie and the Gingerbreads and The Pleasure Seekers came before them), they were part of a wave of female musicians in the mid-1970’s who were no longer content to allow men to control their destinies. They forged not just a new identity for women rockers, but finally proved once and for all that you didn’t need testicles to blow the roof off an arena.
- School Days, 1977, Waiting’ For The Night
- Queens of Noise (live), 1977, Live In Japan (1977, Japan, Canada & France; 2004 U.S.)
- Don’t Abuse Me, recorded 1976, released 1980, Flaming Schoolgirls
- Little Lost Girls, 1978, And Now…The Runaways (1978 U.K./1979 Japan only release; aka Little Lost Girls picture disc in the U.S., 1981)
- Black Leather, 1978, And Now…The Runaways (1978 U.K./1979 Japan only release; aka Little Lost Girls picture disc in the U.S., 1981)
- Cherry Bomb, 1976, The Runaways
- I Love Playin’ With Fire, 1977, Queens of Noise
- Wasted, 1977, Waiting’ For The Night
- Gettin’ Hot (live), 1977, Live In Japan (1977, Japan, Canada & France; 2004 U.S.)
- I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are (live), 1977, Live In Japan (1977,
- Japan, Canada & France, 2004 U.S.)
- Fantasies, 1977, Waiting’ For The Night
- California Paradise, 1977, Queens of Noise
- Neon Angels on the Road to Ruin, 1976, Queens of Noise
- Dead End Justice, 1976, The Runaways
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Host, Producer, Audio Engineer and Writer
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