When The Runaways released their debut in 1976, they had no company. In addition to gender, youth also set them apart. At 17, lead guitarist Lita Ford was the group's senior member; singer Cherie Currie, rhythm guitarist Joan Jett, bassist Jackie  Fox and drummer Sandy West were each a not-so-sweet 16. Stoner girls across America didn't have access to Currie's knee-high silver platforms, but they did copy the basic elements of her look-- feathered hair, blue eyeshadow, and raccoon eyeliner. Ford in particular came across as an ass-kicker, and lyrically, the group's numerous come-ons are aggressive, not passive. A clumsy T. Rex strut with Donna Summer-style orgasmic moans added for emphasis, "Cherry Bomb" is one of the first rock songs to encourage girls--not boys-- to be "wild." Elsewhere on The Runaways, only "Dead End Justice"-- a juvie hall breakout drama complete with dialog-- combines cheap thrills and female rebellion effectively.


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