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A Brief History of The Runaways
• Summer 1975 - 15-year-old Joan Jett is spending her free time at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco in Hollywood getting turned on to glitter rock like David Bowie, Gary Glitter, and T. Rex. Around the same time, Sandy West, whose passions included surfing and drums, approaches Kim Fowley, another frequent fixture at Rodney's, about forming an all girl band. Kim brings Joan and Sandy together and agrees to help them find other girls to join the band. By August the band grows to four members with Micki Steele on bass and Lita Ford on lead guitar. Lita had originally auditioned for the bass player, but since the position was already filled, ends up as the band's lead guitarist. With Kim as their manager, the three-piece band decide on the name, The Runaways, and within a few weeks they play their first show at a local party.

• Fall 1975 - The Runaways play their first public show at the famed Whisky-A-Go-Go in Hollywood.

• November 1975 - Joan and Kim meet twin sisters Cherie and Marie Currie, not yet 16. Cherie auditions for the band with no song to sing. On the spot, Joan and Kim write "Cherry Bomb.” Singing the newly written song, Cherie lands the job and becomes the lead singer. Shortly after, Micki Steele leaves the band and is replaced by Peggy Foster. By December, Peggy is replaced with Jackie Fox.

• February of 1976 - The Runaways sign to Mercury Records and soon enter the studio to record their debut LP, The Runaways. After their first album is released, the band embarks on their first U.S. tour. Highlights included the famous Agora Ballroom in Cleveland and CBGB's in NYC. The band then embarks on their first European tour. They returned to the U.S. and continue to tour. Highlights included the Royal Oak Theatre outside of Detroit with opening acts Cheap Trick and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

• 1977 - The Runaways second album Queens of Noise is co-produced by Sparks' guitarist Earle Mankey. Upon wrapping recording, they hit the road for their second US tour. Meanwhile, The Runaways are exploding in Japan. "Cherry Bomb” hits #1 in Japan and Australia, and they become the fourth biggest selling act in Japan. The mass hysteria of the arrival of the Runaways in Japan, for their sold out tour, rivals the arrival of the Beatles in America. Jackie quits the band and flies home to the states. Joan picks up the bass for their biggest show to date, The Tokyo Music Festival. They released, Live in Japan, which becomes one of the highest selling imports of the ‘70s.

• Winter 1977 - After returning home, the band returns to the studio to work on their third album, Waitin' for the Night. The band's lineup changes again, with Vicki Blue joining to replace Jackie Fox. Joan takes over lead singing duties replacing Cherie Currie, who leaves to pursue a solo career. Waitin' for the Night is the first release with Joan Jett on lead vocals. By the end of the year, the band parts ways with manager, Kim Fowley.

• 1978 -The Runaways find new management and begin to record their fourth album. They head to the UK to begin work on And now…. The Runaways. Once again, they have to replace their bass player, after Vicki Blue falls ill. Laurie McAllister joins the band and The Runaways begin their final tour, ending with New Years Eve at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

• 1979 - The Runaways decide to disband because of creative differences but not before leaving an indelible mark on rock and roll and paving the way for a number of all-girl groups to follow, including The Go-Go's and The Bangles.


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