Sunday Old School: Lita Ford
If you grew up in the eighties you knew Lita Ford as the hard rock girl with credentials. She could play guitar and mix it up vocally with Ozzy Osbourne. Eventually you find out she was part of The Runaways and that’s when you really begin to appreciate how important she has been to rock and roll.
Lita Ford was only sixteen when she joined the all-female rock band The Runaways. In 1976 the band released their first album, with Ford on lead guitar; the band would record three more albums and tour throughout the seventies. The Runaways were never a huge success in the U.S., but did reach number one with their single “Cherry Bomb” in Japan. By 1979 there were a lot of problems and band members leaving. Joan Jett (vocals, guitar) wanted The Runaways to be more punk while Ford wanted to continue on with their hard rock ways the band was known for. No compromise was reached and The Runaways broke up.
After the breakup, Ford went solo and in 1983 released ‘Out for Blood’, that did not do well. She tried again in 1984 with ‘Dancin’ On the Edge’ and received some success behind the singles “Fire In My Heart” and “Gotta Let Go.” In addition to the music, Ford was developing into quite the sex symbol for eighties head bangers. This makes sense given most of the glam front men looked a lot like Lita. (Note: Just because this is true does not mean it makes sense.) What happened next is a mystery to this day. For her third album, Ford worked with Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) as producer on an album titled ‘The Bride Wore Black’, but was never released (and still has not to this day) due to record label issues.
After the mess of an unreleased studio album Ford signed with RCA Records and hired Sharon Osbourne Management. She also softened her hardened music to make more glam-eighties friendly. In 1988 she released ‘Lita’, a very successful album that included the singles “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Back To The Cave”, and “Falling In And Out Of Love”, a song co-written by Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue, Sixx:AM). The album also included the song “Close My Eyes Forever”, a duet with Ozzy that peaked to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ford was always sexy and used this to her advantage, but the video for “Kiss Me Deadly” took this to another level. Pre-Production meeting discussions centered on how much leather, top five stripper moves and more leather. Question asked: Do we want to bring in fire, fans or ice? Answer: Yes. In the end I believe Ford looked at Tawny Kitaen fucking a car and decided, you know what, I’m going to fuck a guitar in my video. Thankfully, the video for “Close My Eyes Forever” was more focused on hair, not Lita’s hair, but Ozzy’s blown-out hairdo.
In 1990 Ford release ‘Stiletto’, featuring the singles “Hungry” and “Lisa”, but the album didn’t do as well as the previous. In 1991 she released ‘Dangerous Curves’ and also ‘Black’ prior to taking a break. After a long hiatus, Ford released ‘Wicked Wonderland’ in 2009. In 2012 Ford released what she has called her “real comeback album” titled ‘Living Like a Runaway.’
Ford has since patched things up with her band mates from The Runaways and continues to tour, promote rock and roll and be a sex symbol for aging metal heads. Thankfully, she has aged much better than the eighties front men.
“Close My Eyes Forever”
“Cherry Bomb” (Live)
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