It’s unfortunate that in 2014, an all girl band that rocks hard is still a bit of a novelty. Sure, there are plenty out there, and I’m sure that for every one I know of, there are dozens I’ve never heard of who have strong followings. But here’s the thing, whenever an all girl rock band finds any sort of success, I guarantee any media coverage you see, hear or read, will find it necessary to point out that they’re an all girl band. Like it’s some rare oddity or curiosity.
Now, have I just perpetuated that by making such a big point of it in the intro to a review of an album by the all girl Runaways? Maybe, but realising how old this album is, and that it was their last record after several years of being international stars, made me realise how little has changed since they broke through the glass ceiling of rock all those years ago. Anywho, that rant that even surprised myself is my long winded way of saying I just listened to The Runaways with their final album, And Now? The Runaways.
I grew up in a time where I knew Joan Jett existed and was a musician, but I knew her as some old bird who used to be famous. I was well into my adult years before I heard of the band in which she found initial fame, and that band was no manufactured gimmick. And Now? The Runaways is my first real exposure to just how good Jett and the rest of The Runaways were.
Kicking off strong, Saturday Night Special is straight up punk girls kicking ass and doing rock and roll with as much macho cockiness as any dude based group. Then Mama Were All Crazzee Now brings the kind of chant-along chorus that makes so much 70s rock so awesome.
I’m a Million shows that these broads weren’t scared to tackle some down and dirty blues. A song that prowls through a riff that’s all attitude, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce with its wailing solo. You can hear the 80s fast approaching with the corny synths in Little Lost Girls, but even that isn’t enough to diminish the absolute cool of these guys.
And Now? The Runaways proves that The Runaways weren’t just a great all girl band who did their part promoting women in rock. They were just a great band full stop. No other qualifiers required.
1975 – 1979
Waitin’ for the Night (1977)
Selected Major Achievements/Accolades:
Launched the career Joan Jett