Lita Ford: Queen of the Rock Guitar

by
Share This:

Lita Ford today (Photo: James Michael via AXS TV; used with permission)

She’s best known as a founding member of the Runaways in the late 1970s, and as a Grammy-nominated solo artist in the 1980s with classic rock hits such as “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever.” Lita Ford has also appeared in movies, on TV and in video games, all attesting to the power of hard work and her ability to break into a traditionally male-dominated world.

The musician, born September 19, 1958, in London, England, moved to Los Angeles with her family at a young age. Ford was just 16-years-old when she was recruited by producer Kim Fowley to join the all-female Runaways. With rhythm guitarist Joan Jett, drummer Sandy West and, briefly, bassist Micki Steele–who later became Michael Steele of the Bangles–already on-board, Ford joined as lead guitarist. They were soon joined by lead vocalist Cherie Curie and then bassist Jackie Fox.

From 1976 to 1978, the Runaways released four studio albums, and although they never had a hit single, they made an impact on the U.S. punk music scene. (The song they’re most closely associated with, “Cherry Bomb,” from their debut album, was subsequently re-recorded by its co-songwriter Jett, on one of her solo albums).

1988’s Lita album

By 1979, the group–whose members were still only around 20-years-old–called it quits. Jett has enjoyed the most post-Runaways success, with her own band, the Blackhearts. Her 1981 album, I Love Rock ‘n Roll, yielded a smash single with the title cut, which became 1982’s overall #3 pop hit.

For her part, Ford signed a solo deal with the Runaways’ label, Mercury Records, with modest success. A few years later, she signed with RCA and hired a new manager, Sharon Osbourne. The resulting 1988 album, Lita, included two huge hits: “Kiss Me Deadly,” which reached #12 on the Hot 100, and a duet with her manager’s husband–Ozzy Osbourne–“Close My Eyes Forever” (#8). A big tour followed for the leather-clad rocker.

Watch a live video for Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly”…

The singer/songwriter/guitarist was the recipient of the first She Rocks Awards in 2017, which “pay tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry.” The “Queen of the Rock Guitar” continues to tour regularly and those 1988 hits remain big fan favorites. (See dates here.)

Ford appears in a new AXS TV series, The Top Ten Revealed, which premiered Feb. 11. Each episode features a different theme: “Guitar Rock Intros,” “70s Hard Rock Hits,” and so on.

Related: Listings of 100s of current and future classic rock tours

  • Sign up for the Best Classic Bands Newsletter




 

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
Best Classic Bands Staff
Share This:

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.