The Runaways – The Runaways (Cherry Red Records)
It’s 40 years since teenage sensation The Runaways ran away with the hearts of a million young (mostly Japanese) rockers and carved their name into punk rock and roll history.
Formed in 1975 and guided by producer Kim Fowley, the fresh-faced quintet might have remained an underground oddity in their own country. But fans in the Far East fired lead single Cherry Bomb all the way to the top of the Japanese charts – launching the careers of twin guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford.
Now Cherry Red has re-released the band’s self-titled debut – a delicious mix of raw potential and ready-made radio hits. There are no bonus tracks, no remixes and no frills. Just a whole lot of passion and punk rock attitude.
Opener Cherry Bomb – a key track on the insanely popular Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtrack and used by the BBC to trail women’s races at this month’s World Athletics Championships – still sounds urgent four decades down the line.
But this is a record bursting with hearts-on-sleeves honesty and a skewed youthful charm. Sure, some of the lyrics will make parents of teenage girls cringe (and probably did back in the day) but The Runaways were never afraid to live their commercial life on the edge.
Thunder, Rock And Roll and American Nights are almost laughably generic and yet that’s the genius of this album. Its simplicity is its strength.
Jett and Ford remain key figures on the rock scene 40 years after the pair took a punt with Fowley and band mates Cherie Currie, Sandy West and Jackie Fox. This is a fun reminder of a band that, for a few years at least, existed on adrenaline, ambition and a slew of singalong choruses.
- The re-release of The Runaways’ self-titled debut is available now via Cherry Red Records.