This is part two of the original post on “Female Glam Rockers: Leathered-Up Queens of Noise”, and features more extensive look at three spectacular female Glamour Rockers in their own right: Joan Jett, Girlschool, and Lita Ford. As stated in the first post, these female rockers held their own with their male counterparts and as such are accepted as having “made their mark” in the fields of heavy metal and Glamour Rock acts, with astounding results musically and professionally.
Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin) is an American-born rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter best known for her work with the Runaways -ground-breaking all-girl rock group in the 1970s- as well as with her solo career as rock musician with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts had a string of hits in the 80s and 90s, including “I Love Rock N Roll”, which was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 from March to May 1982. Other hits by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts include “Crimson and Clover”, “I Hate Myself for Lovin’ You”, “Bad Reputation” and “Light of Day”.
Joan Jett was born in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. In her teens in the 1970s, Joan would sneak out at night with friends to attend rock concerts; she received her first guitar at age 13 from her parents at Christmas.(For this and subsequent info, see Wikipedia).Later, Joan’s family moved to West Covina, California (L.A. county) which gave Joan the opportunity to pursue her rock and roll dreams. Suzi Quatro was Joan’s idol, and Joan, as a teenage fan, would wait in the lobby after Quatro’s rock concert perfomances to try to meet the star. Legend has it that they did meet, but details on this encounter most likely would be found on Jett’s website http://www.joanjett.com which has many details about the writing of particular songs by the Runaways as well as with the Blackhearts. Jett adopted Suzi Quatro’s style of shag haircut, leather, and tough-girl rocker stance, musically and lyrically. Around age 16, Joan Jett began hanging out at the only Glamour Rock nightclub in the Los Angeles area called Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, where she met the man who would become the Runaways’ producer, the eccentric Kim Fowley. The rest is an astounding history, and see former post here for more information on The Runaways legendary musical sound and “mass hysteria” tours as the only all-teenage all-girl rock band then, and even to this day do they hold that distinction!
In Spring 1979, Joan Jett was in England pursuing a solo career and recorded several songs with Sex Pistols band members’ Paul Cook and Steve Jones. Jett then returned to L.A. to complete an obligation to finish a film about the Runaways called “We’re All Crazee Now” and during the shoots met Kenny Laguna who then was instrumental in helping Joan form the Blackhearts. She placed an advertisement looking for band members as “looking for three good men” and from these auditions recruited Gary Ryan on bass, Eric Ambel on guitar, and Danny “Furious” O’Brien. After recording demos, the band’s efforts were rejected by 23 major labels, so they decided to form an independent record label “Blackheart Records” and put the record out themselves. Watch the video post on this page to see this documented to the band’s great single “Bad Reputation”.
Girlschool are a British metal band, originating out of the “New Wave British Heavy Metal Scene” in 1978, according to Wikipedia. Girlschool was also frequent collaborators with contemporaries, heavy metal rockers Motorhead. Formed from a school band called Painted Lady, Girlschool enjoyed success with three metal albums in the early 80s but soon lost momentum after that. The principle members of the band are Kim McAuliffe (rhythm guitar, vocals), Dinah Williams (bass guitar), Deidre Cartwright (lead guitar, vocals) and Tina Gayle on drums. Kim McAuliffe was famously quoted as saying “The reason we were all girls is we couldn’t find any blokes to play with us.” Girlschool’s first three albums were Demolition (1980), Hit and Run (1981), and Screaming Blue Murder (1982). Their first single “Take It All Away” was released in 1978, and “Please Don’t Touch” was released in 1981 with Motorhead.
Lita Ford was born Lita Rossana Ford to a British father and Italian mother in London, England. She moved with her family to the U.S. at the age of four and began playing guitar at age eleven. In 1975, she joined the all-girl band The Runaways as lead guitarist. Lita’s lead guitar skills are on par with her male counterparts in heavy metal, and thus, she has toured with Glam Rockers Poison, Motley Crue, Britny Fox, as well as heavy metal rockers Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Antrax and Iron Maiden. Lita Ford’s first album was released in 1983 entitled Out For Blood; however, Ford scored the most commercial success with her album entitled Lita which went Platinum in the U.S. and Gold in Canada with singles “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Back to the Cave”, and “Falling In & Out of Love”. You can see Lita Ford on tour in 2012 with Heavy Rock group Def Leppard and Glam Metal band Poison.