JOAN JETT & LITA FORD

Australian Guitar - - Feature -

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.

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