Lita Ford: queen of rock guitar

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

She is 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, television and video games, all attesting to the power of hard work and its ability to break through in a world traditionally dominated by men.

The musician was born on September 19, 1958 in London, England, and moved to Los Angeles with her family from an early age. Ford was just 16 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 would later become Michael Steele of the Bangles – already on board, Ford joined as lead guitarist. They are soon joined by lead singer 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 American punk music scene. (The song they are most closely associated with, “Cherry Bomb”, from their debut album, was later re-recorded by co-songwriter Jett, on one of his solo albums).

The 1988 Lita album

In 1979, the group, whose members were still only about 20 years old, decided to withdraw. Jett enjoyed the greatest success after the Runaways, with his own group, the Blackhearts. His 1981 album, I love rock n roll, produced a shattering single with the title cut, which went on to become the No. 3 pop hit of 1982.

Ford, for his part, signed a solo contract 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 album in 1988, Lita, included two huge hits: “Kiss Me Deadly”, which reached 12th place on the Hot 100 chart, and a duet with her manager’s husband, Ozzy Osbourne, “Close My Eyes Forever” (# 8). A grand tour followed for the leather-clad rocker.

To concern Ford’s official “Kiss Me Deadly” live video

The singer / songwriter / guitarist received the first Elle Rocks Awards in 2017, which “pays tribute to women who demonstrate leadership and stand out in the music industry”. The “Queen of Rock Guitar” continues to tour regularly as a solo and in-demand support group. These 1988 hits remain big fan favorites. (See dates here.)

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