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She wasn't that bad, was she?

Born September 19, 1958 in London, Lita Ford came to America as a very young child. Early in her life, at the age of eleven, she began playing the guitar and taking interest in music along the lines of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Sweet. At the age of sixteen she joined The Runaways. A project developed by long time rock producer and songwriter Kim Fowley, The Runaways were a group of teenage girls with attitude... the musical embodiment of angst. Fowley had chosen well, as the personas of Lita Ford, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie mixed well enough to produce a modicum of success.

Of course, Joan Jett would go on to be the true success story to blossom out of The Runaways, but Lita Ford did not exactly fade into the shadows. In 1983, Lita would release her first solo effort, Out For Blood. The fact that she was wearing little more than a guitar and a black leather teddy on the cover helped set up her image as more centered on being the subject of heavy metal fantasies than a serious musician, songwriter and artist. That may or may not have been unfortunate.

An openly sexual image paired with subtle feminism in her lyrics made Lita Ford into an enigma. At the same time, Lita's transition from The Runaways to her solo career was not exactly smooth. Her desire for success in a musical career led to years of vocal training while working odd jobs including pumping gas. This led her to be willing to do whatever it took to launch her career. Singing and playing the guitar was all that mattered.

Lita Ford's second solo album, Dancin' on the Edge began bringing her acclaim for her musical talent, but the songwriting was widely noted as less than adequate. She would wear pants and longsleeves on the cover, which in 1984 may have caused people walking past the record bins to wonder if she was a she or if this was another of the make-up wearing hair bands of the time.

I went to a party last Saturday night
I didn't get laid, I got in a fight,
Uh, huh
It ain't no big thing
Late for my job and the traffic was bad
Had to borrow ten bucks from my old man,
Uh, huh
It ain't no big thing
I went to a party last Saturday night
I told you that story, I'd be alright
Uh, huh
It ain't no big thing

You just can't buy lyrics
like that anymore

It would be 1988 before Lita Ford scored her breakthrough album. Lita would contain the song by which Lita is best known, perhaps the most lyrically grating tune of all times, Kiss Me Deadly as well as her duet with Ozzy Osbourne, Close My Eyes Forever. Oddly enough, Ford co-wrote Close My Eyes Forever with Osbourne and it became the first top ten single for either artist. Kiss Me Deadly was not written by Lita Ford, which means she actually paid someone to write those lyrics.

Lita Ford would engage in a brief marriage to Chris Holmes, the guitarist for W.A.S.P. which might as well have been a red flag on future commercial success. In 1990 she released Stiletto, which may have been her most palatable album (I listened to this album accidently one night - drugs were involved). It also may be her classiest album cover. The following year she would release Dangerous Curves which went back to having a full body shot of her on the cover (look, for your information, Lita Ford album covers are an important part of any study of her career). Most reviews of the album said it was a decent offering with solid material but nothing worthy of jumping up and down about.

Failing to capture any commercial success with her work since Lita, Ford was left without a recording label and signed on with an independent label for a last ditch effort, 1995's Black which faded long before it was ever born. Her last known recording, it is said to have been another decent but simply uninspiring offering.

So, you may be wondering, what has happened to Lita Ford since 1995. Are their any records of her travels since then? Well, VH-1 named her #89 on the Greatest Artists of Hard Rock (for perspective, Spinal Tap finished higher). She is married now to someone named "Jim" (or at least was in 2001). Spies report she is living in Panama City Beach, Florida, and is still married and keeping a low profile there. She released a live album and a fairly, ehem, comprehensive "Best Of" collection. She has been doing some specials with The Runaways without Joan Jett and basically letting the sun come down on a career that maybe never peaked. Unless of course she has some sort of introspective comeback on the horizon. These days, one never knows.

Research conducted at AllMusic.com
And a horde of weirdly obsessive fan sites
And a memory that sometimes refuses to forget

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