Archive for The Runaways

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Lita Ford- Dancing on the Edge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

With heavy metal actually dominating the rock music scene in the summer of 1984, (trust me, it did), metal acts were coming out of the woodwork thick and fast. It was only right that a female metal artist come forward in what is a male dominated world. The metal world had Girlschool and Rock Goddess from England and from the USA came former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. “Dancing on the Edge” was her second album and I’m kicking myself for never noting her first one but it was this album which made me and the rest of the world take notice.

“Dancing on the Edge” came out amidst controversy in Lita’s personal life. First there was her supposed feud with former Runaways band members Joan Jett and Cherrie Currie. From what I’ve read, the feud with Joan was more or less fabricated by Joan Jett’s management who didn’t want Lita anywhere near their star. She was also engaged to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi at the time and he appears in the video for “Dressed to Kill” from this album. However, Lita has said that the relationship was marred with physical abuse due to Tony’s drug problems back then. Therefore, it’s an amazing endorsement of Lita Ford herself that she could put out such a killer album in spite of all the things in her personal life.

Cutting right to the chase, let me just say that “Dancing on the Edge” is a fantastic metal album. There a lots of great power chords and Lita has a great voice but the best thing is that she can really shred. She does this very well on every song. So well in fact, that it has always been difficult for me to pick a favourite track on the album. Each time I listen, I discover something small in a song that I hadn’t noticed when I heard it before. Therefore, I am forced to conclude that the album simply has nine fantastic songs of pure metal mania. God, I’m pinching quotes from Dee Snider. While Lita shines on vocals and guitar, she has two very capable musicians providing that all important rhythm section. On bass was Hugh McDonald who is currently with Bon Jovi and Randy Castillo who would later play for Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue on the drums. That can only help make “Dancing on the Edge” that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Gotta Let Go
  2. Dancing on the Edge
  3. Dressed to Kill
  4. Hit’N Run
  5. Lady Killer
  6. Still Waitin’
  7. Fire in My Heart
  8. Don’t Let Me Down Tonight
  9. Run With the $

Lita Ford- vocals, guitar

Hugh McDonald- bass

Randy Castillo- drums

Geoff Leib- synthesizers, backing vocals

Robbie Kondor and Aldo Nova- synthesizers

“Dancing on the Edge” cemented Lita’s permanent foothold as a serious metal artist in 1984. From there, her legacy would continue to this day with loads more great albums.

Next post: Ted Nugent- Penetrator

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1982: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- I Love Rock and Roll

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by 80smetalman

I_love_rock_n'_roll_-_joan_jett_(album_cover)

Not long ago when I visited Pat Benatar’s “Get Nervous” album, I ended the post by saying that in 1982, someone would come along and usurp Pat’s throne as the queen of rock. Yes, I know I’ve just given it away, the usurper would be Joan Jett. Unlike Pat’s bloodless ascension to the throne in 1980, Joan’s would be a very bloody one in regards to music because as evidenced by the “Get Nervous” album, Pat Benatar was not going to give up the throne without a fight. So if we were to look at this coup, not in rock terms but in terms of medieval fantasy, which I love, it would have unfolded in two ways. If both ladies amassed armies, there would be lots of casualties, ransacked castles and burning villages on both sides. In the second scenario, if both ladies chose to forego the armies and engage in single combat, both would have had serious wounds inflicted on them by the other. However, the end result would have been the same, a victorious Joan Jett standing over a vanquished Pat Benatar.

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

And if they engaged in single combat

And if they engaged in single combat

Putting my love for fantasy aside, fortunately, there was no actual bloodshed. The reason why Joan Jett would usurp the crown as Queen of Rock is simply down to the fact that her album “I Love Rock and Roll” is just brilliant. I first heard about the album when my lieutenant shot it down saying the band only played two chords. If that’s true, then they were the right two chords. My first induction to the album was once I returned to the US, the title track was dominating the juke boxes in just about every bar I went to and the second single, “Crimson and Clover” an old number by Tommy James and the Shondells got a considerable amount of play too. Furthermore, this would be the first and probably only album that had two songs that were common favourites of different dancers at the Driftwood. A dancer named Angie really knew how to move to “I Love Rock and Roll.” She made that song come to life almost. “Crimson and Clover” was finely manipulated by a dancer named Mary. Trust me, watching her work her magic to that song was something else. It is little wonder why I have fond memories of both of these songs.

Because the two hit singles from the album were classics written by others in another era, it has been surmised by some that Joan’s song writing is not up to much. When I listen to the other songs, I disagree. What those songs do is set an interesting vibe for the rest of the album. If I could give this album a theme, it would be “The early rock and roll years transformed to metal.” Many of the songs do have a vibe like they could have been written in the 1950s or early 60s but that hard guitar sound blows everything out of the water. Joan Jett writes the other ones that make the album for me like “(I’m Gonna) Run Away,” “Love is Pain” and “Victim of Circumstance” and while she didn’t write “Nag,” I’m going to mention it here anyway, I like it. How Joan Jett and the Blackhearts version of “Little Drummer Boy” missed my favourite Christmas song list, I’ll never know.

While it’s easy to sing the praises of Joan Jett, you can’t take anything away from her band. Along with Joan, who should have been included in my list of great rhythm guitarists, Gary Ryan and Lee Crystal provide a solid rhythm section and while I don’t know which guitarist does which solos but I am impressed by Rick Byrd and Irvan Arifin Harahap. These boys definitely played a key role in Joan’s ascension to the rock throne.

Track Listing:

1. I Love Rock and Roll

2. (I’m Gonna) Run Away

3. Love is Pain

4. Nag

5. Crimson and Clover

6. Victim of Circumstance

7. Bits and Pieces

8. Be Straight

9. You’re Too Possessive

10. Little Drummer Boy

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett- lead vocals, guitar

Gary Ryan- bass, backing vocals

Irvan Arifin Harahap- guitar, vocals

Lee Crystal- drums

Rick Byrd- guitar

That is the story how Joan Jett became the new Queen of Rock in 1982 and arguably the first Queen of Metal. It is hard to fault it with a great album like “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Next post: Blue Oyster Cult- Extra Terrestrial Live

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

The Runaways- The First True All Female Metal Band

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

Janis Joplin and Grace Slick for the first queens of rock in the 60’s and in the 70’s came Ann and Nancy Wilson who were arguably the first modern rock chicks. In the later part of the 70’s and early 80’s we had such great ladies like Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. All of these women were rock queens in the true sense and their contribution to music will always be remembered.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

 

Heart

Heart

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

In 1981, two all female bands made their way into the spotlight, The Go-Gos and Girlschool. While the former had a more commercial rock sound, the latter was straight forward heavy metal and stood alongside of many of the NWOBHM acts that were coming out that year. However, these two weren’t the all female bands who could blow speakers with great power chords. Before them came The Runaways.

The Go Go's

The Go Go’s

Girlschool

Girlschool

I had heard of The Runaways even before the film that came out a few years ago. Even at the tender (small chuckle here) age of sixteen, I was enamoured with these fine ladies who played such aggressive music. I did listen to their debut album and liked it. Likewise, I wanted to listen to their second one “Queens of Noise” but never got the chance. Must rectify that in the future. While, I never heard any of their songs on that cheap AM radio I had back then, they toured extensively and played many sell out concerts in the US and Japan. Furthermore, the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick and Van Halen supported them. Unfortunately, accusations of mismanagement, rows over money and direction plus several personnel changes lead to break up of the band.

Albums:

The Runaways- 1976

Queens of Noise- 1977

Waitin’ for the Night- 1977

Live in Japan- 1977

And Now, The Runaways- 1978

The Runaways

The Runaways

Cherrie Currie- vocals

Joan Jett- guitar, vocals

Lita Ford- guitar

Jackie Fox- bass

Sandy West- drums

*Vicki Blue and Laurie McAllister also played bass during The Runaways reign

While The Runaways may be no longer, the members are still around and making themselves known. One of them would dethrone Pat Benatar as the queen of rock in 1982 and possibly become the first metal queen. That one is up for debate. Another ex Runaway would also make a huge splash in heavy metal circles nor would some of the other former members remain completely silent. Almost silently, these ladies would go onto to be an influence on heavy metal and I think the all female metal bands that would spring up less than a decade later can look to them for inspiration. Don’t take my word for it, watch the film and listen to their music for yourself.

Next post: 1982- The Floodgates Are Open

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London