The Runaways were an all-female teenage American rock band that recorded and performed in the second half of the 1970s. The band released four studio albums and one live set during its run. Among their best-known songs are “Cherry Bomb”, “Hollywood”, “Queens of Noise” and a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll”. Never a major success in the United States, the Runaways became a sensation overseas, especially in Japan, thanks to the hit single “Cherry Bomb”.
The Runaways were formed in late 1975 by drummer Sandy West and rhythm guitarist Joan Jett after they had both introduced themselves to producer Kim Fowley, who gave Jett’s phone number to West. The two met on their own at West’s home and later called Fowley to let him hear the outcome. Fowley then helped the girls find other members. Two decades later he said, “I didn’t put the Runaways together, I had an idea, they had ideas, we all met, there was combustion and out of five different versions of that group came the five girls who were the ones that people liked.”
Starting as a power trio with singer/bassist Micki Steele, the Runaways began the party and club circuit around Los Angeles. They soon added lead guitarist Lita Ford, who had originally auditioned for the bass spot. Steele was fired from the group, replaced by local bassist Peggy Foster, who left after just one month. Lead singer Cherie Currie was found and recruited in a local teen nightclub called the Sugar Shack, followed by Jackie Fox (who had originally auditioned for the lead guitar spot) on bass.
The Runaways were signed to Mercury Records in 1976 and their debut album, The Runaways, was released shortly after. The band toured the U.S. and played numerous sold-out shows. Their opening shows included headlining acts such as Cheap Trick, Van Halen, The Talking Heads, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The documentary Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways, directed by former Runaway bassist Vicki Blue revealed each girl patterned herself after an idol: Currie on David Bowie, Jett on Suzi Quatro, Ford a cross between Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore, West on Roger Taylor, and Fox on Gene Simmons.
The Runaways is the debut studio album by American rock band the Runaways. It was released on June 1, 1976, by Mercury Records.
AllMusic has praised the album (especially band members Cherie Currie, Joan Jett and Lita Ford), comparing the band’s music to material by Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith.
According to multiple sources, including Cherie Currie (in her memoir Neon Angel), the liner notes of the 2003 Cherry Red Records reissue of The Runaways, and Jackie Fox herself, bassist Nigel Harrison played bass on the album, due to manager Kim Fowley refusing to let Fox play on the record.
The documentary film Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways states that the album’s first track “Cherry Bomb” was written ad hoc during the audition of lead singer Cherie Currie and the title is a play on the pronunciation of Currie’s first name. Currie was told to prepare a Suzi Quatro song for the audition; she picked “Fever”, a song the band did not know how to play. Instead, Jett and Fowley came up with the song and had Currie sing it for her audition.
In January 2009, “Cherry Bomb” was ranked 52nd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs list. A cover of “Cherry Bomb” is featured in the music video game Rock Band as a downloadable single track. The song also featured in the films Dazed and Confused, RV, Cherrybomb, The Runaways, and Guardians of the Galaxy, and is played in the opening scene of Margaret Cho’s stand-up comedy DVD “I’m the One That I Want”.
“You Drive Me Wild” is featured in the 2010 film about the band. Actress Dakota Fanning covers “Cherry Bomb” as well as “Dead End Justice” with Kristen Stewart, as they portray Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, respectively. (by wikipedia)
from German music magazine “Bravo”
When the Runaways debuted in 1976 with this self-titled LP, aggressive female rockers were the exception instead of the rule. Women had no problem becoming folk-rockers, singer/songwriters or Top 40 icons, but female artists who had more in common with Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith than Joni Mitchell were hardly the norm. With this album, the Runaways made it crystal clear that women (or specifically, adolescent girls) were more than capable of playing intense, forceful hard rock that went directly for the jugular. Lusty classics like “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild” made no attempt to conceal the fact that teenage girls could be every bit as sexual as the guys — a message that both men and women found intimidating.
And on “Is It Day or Night,” Cherie Currie sings about life in the fast lane with every bit as much conviction as Axl Rose would 11 years later. Currie and Joan Jett are equally riveting, and a 17-year-old Lita Ford was already an impressive guitarist. This LP was far from a commercial hit in the U.S., where timid rock radio programmers simply didn’t know what to make of the Runaways. But interestingly, it did earn the band a strong following in the major rock market of Japan. (by Alex Henderson)
Cherie Currie (vocals, piano)
Lita Ford (lead guitar)
Jackie Fox (bass, vocals – only credited, did not perform on the album)
Joan Jett (guitar, vocals)
Sandy West (drums, vocals)
Nigel Harrison (bass – uncredited)
01. Cherry Bomb (Jett/Fowley) 2.20
02. You Drive Me Wild (Jett) 3.22
03. Is It Day Or Night? (Fowley) 2.47
04. Thunder (Anthony/Krome) 2.33
05. Rock And Roll (Reed) 3.19
06. Lovers (Jett/Fowley) 2.12
07. American Nights (Anthony/Fowley) 3.17
08. Blackmail (Jett/Fowley) 2.43
09. Secrets (Currie/Fowley/Krome/West) 2.45
10. Dead End Justice (Anderson/Currie/Fowley/Jett) 7.04