JOAN JETT & LITA FORD
What made these two such pioneers wasn’t just their sound – The Runaways adhered to the garage rock template of chugging barre chords (Jett) and sweet solos (Ford) during their brief and storied tenure – but because they made it definitively clear that rock was not a strictly male pursuit.
They weren’t the first band with female guitarists – aside from anything else, Heart had gone multiplatinum with Nancy Wilson out front on her trademark orange Telecaster – but never had five women looked so effortlessly cool as The Runaways. And a lot of that was down to Jett with her sneering, Keith Richards-esque swagger and Ford with her killer technical chops.
The Edgeplay documentary revealed that each of the band members chose a different idol to emulate: Jett was modelling Suzi Quatro, while Ford blended her heroes of Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore.
After the band’s 1979 split, Jett went on to lead a punk-inspired rock career, while Ford delved further into metal – both with considerable success. The band may have only existed for four turbulent years, but they inspired generations of girls to pick up a guitar, learn some chords, and kick out the jams.