Sandy West - drums; Joan Jett - guitar, vocals; Lita Ford - guitar, vocals ; Vicki Blue - bass, vocals
Exactly one week after this show was performed at New York's Palladium theater by America's all-female punk band, the Runaways, the Sex Pistols performed their final show before disbanding at Winterland in San Francisco. It was somehow appropriate that both the key male and female punk bands were breaking down at the same time, because in just over a year, the Runaways would be history, too.
This performance, although pretty rockin', shows a band that was in the early stages of falling apart. The initial major-label line up which included singer Cherrie Curie, bassist Jackie Fox, drummer Sandy West, and guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford, had now been stripped down to a quartet of West, Jett (now on lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Ford, and new bassist Vicki Blue. The group had also recently broken ties with longtime manager/producer Kim Fowley (a bizarre music industry veteran and hype-master, who helped launch the LA punk scene with friend/DJ Rodney Bingenheimer), as well as its record label, Mercury.
Still, the Runaways had a sizable following when this show was recorded. They had just released both a live album (The Runaways Live In Japan) and a new studio album (Waiting For The Night) in 1977, and would soon release And Now… The Runaways when things within the band fell apart and Jett went on to her own multi-platinum solo career, with classics such as "I Love Rock N Roll."
Among the tracks featured here are "Wasted," "Blackmail," "You're Too Possessive," "You Drive Me Wild," "I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are," "I Love Playin' With Fire," and "C'mon." The ladies also offer an angst-ridden version of the Troggs classic, "Wild Thing," which pales in comparison to their original material.
The Runaways would never again have the momentum they exhibited in 1975 and 1976 with Curie at the load vocal helm, and with songs such as "Cherrie Bomb." Curie would leave the Runaways to launch a film career (she appeared in films with Jodie Foster and Demi Moore) and a less than successful solo music career (which included her identical twin sister, Marie). Jett became a pop superstar, but Lita Ford would have a limited career that positioned her as heavy metal's only notable female lead guitarist. Original bassist, Mickey Steele, would go on to form the platinum band, the Bangles, and her replacement Jackie Fox would enroll at Harvard and become an attorney. The bassist on this recording, Vickie Blue, would continue to record and tour in a number of bands, and eventually become an award winning TV producer and director. Her documentary of the Runaways' history, Edgeplay, was a featured special on Showtime.
Sadly, drummer Sandy West, who actually initiated the formation of the Runaways with Joan Jett, died of cancer in October, 2006.