40 Years Ago Today: The Runaways-The Runaways (1976)

Produced and directed by Kim Fowley (RIP). Fowley had been trying to put an all girl band together for over a year. One night in 1975 he met Joan Jett. 2 weeks later Sandy West. He quickly recruited Lita Ford, Cherie Currie and Jackie Fox and The Runaways were born.

The band is unique in that the 2 guitarists went on to achieve solo fame. Joan Jett and Lita Ford both hit it big in the 80’s, and are still performing today.

Cherie Currie took over lead vocals with no formal training. She has a really cool voice, plus she would often perform onstage in her underwear. She went on to a solo career and tried her hand at acting. She is still in the music industry.

Sandy West(RIP) was an amazing drummer. One of the most underrated female drummers of all time. When the band broke up in 1979, she had to work odd jobs and resort to criminal activity to make ends meet. She died of cancer in 2005.

Although Jackie Fox is listed on the cover, she never played on this album because Kim Fowley refused to let her play. Nigel Harrison(Blondie) secretly performed all of the bass work. A year after this album came out, Jackie became discouraged with all of the fighting in the band, so she called her good friend Randy Rhoads. He encouraged her to come home from the Japan tour. She quit the band, and has been out of the music industry for many years.

Cherry Bomb – Such an awesome song. When I first heard this song back in the day I had to find this album.

You Drive Me Wild – Sounds like an early Aerosmith song, mixed with a bit of the Beatles, and sung by a wicked woman with pipes.

Is It Day or Night? – Has a really cool ending in which the music stops completely 2 times before the real ending.

Thunder – This sounds like the female version of KISS. No small wonder since Fowley had co-wrote 2 songs on Destroyer the same year. Close your eyes when you listen to this song and pictures women in platform boots and KISS makeup spitting blood and fire. You know you want it.

Rock And Roll – A cool version of the Velvet Underground song, with more cowbell.

Lovers – Cool drumming and bass hold the bottom end down, and the guitar work fills in nicely.

American Nights – Cherie sounds a little like Carole Pope in this one, and the song has a feel good sound to it. Her keyboard work leaves lot to be desired, but the song is saved by the cowbell, Joan Jett’s screams and the guitar work


Blackmail – Joan Jett sings this one and does a great job. A foreshadowing of the next year when Joan takes over vocal duties.

Secrets – Cool guitar work that reminds me a bit of an Alice Cooper song and some neat background vocals move this song along. More weird keyboards here. Cherie should have stuck to singing.

Dead End Justice – The first half of this song is great. Has a bit of a punk rock feel to it, with some cool guitar riffs. Then the girls scream, and the song morphs into something weird with army drumming and voice-overs . It is almost like they had another song that was half finished, so they tacked onto the end of this song. It should have been left off. However, the guitar solo near the end is pretty cool.

A really good debut album that still sounds good today.



14 thoughts on “40 Years Ago Today: The Runaways-The Runaways (1976)

    • The back cover shows the girls and lists their ages. Four of them were 16 and Lita Ford was 17.

      My daughter is 16 and I can’t imagine her being thrown into the music business at this age.
      The song It’s A Long Way To The Top(If You Wanna Rock n Roll) comes to mind.
      I give these girls credit. They were raunchy, dangerous, brash, self-confident and it was a great ride while it lasted.
      40 years. Yes. My brother was born that year and I still remember him as a little brat like it was yesterday.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Nice writeup dude! A band I need to explore more of.

    I am not a big Joan fan. I liked Lita back in the day. But the Runaways, dare I say it, were probably better than either as far as rock thrills go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for taking us back. This one still needs to be listened to. I just saw Joan Jett do a surprise gig with Green Day at the premiere of a movie she and Billie Joe are both in. She was awesome – her voice is ageless. Love her growl.

    Liked by 1 person

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