The Runaways

The Runaways

At the time of recording, no one in the band was older than 19, making this one of the truest statements of teen rock rebellion ever committed to tape. Because the Runaways were the first major all-girl hard-rock group, people doubted that they had the power and attitude to compete with macho rock kings like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. The Runaways proved that these five California adolescents had as much swagger as Zeppelin, Sabbath and KISS combined. “Cherry Bomb” is the canonical song here, and it is as much a blueprint for the rock ‘n’ roll single as “Johnny B. Goode” or “Wild Thing.” However, “Is It Day Or Night?,” “You Drive Me Wild,” “American Nights” and “Dead End Justice” are just as mean and juicy. The group’s breakout stars were Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, but the album draws its primal electricity from drummer Sandy West and lead guitarist Lita Ford. (Not to mention the contributions of the group’s creepy guru and manager Kim Fowley, who produced the album and co-wrote most of the songs with Jett.) At a time when rock music was in rapid transition, The Runaways bridged the chunky dance-floor swing of glam to the raw-boned rebellion of punk.

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