Steven P. Justus | Westminster, CO USA | 02/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a nice overview of the Runaways, spanning four of their albums. Most of the selections feature Joan Jett as lead vocalist, which is not exactly representative of the band (Cherie Currie did most of the leads on their first two records), but that's forgivable since Jett is by far the most successful of the band in her career after the Runaways. Tracks 8-12 are from the album Waiting for the Night, my favorite Runaways album which was done after Currie had departed. That has never been released on CD, and it wasn't easy to find even when it was originally released in 1977, so this is your best chance to hear these songs. Cmon is from the even harder to find Live in Japan album, which has also never been released on CD (at least in the US).The music is basically straight-up three chord rock, with some metal and punk influence. The Runaways are definately not a pop or "girlie" band, but if you like that sort of hard-driving rock, this should be right up your alley. Some of the songs talk explicitly about subjects like female sexual desire, all night parties, and life on the streets, so if that really bothers you, consider yourself warned. It was probably too much for 1976-1978 America to accept, which is one reason the Runaways never got any acceptance by music critics of the time. Joan Jett herself said in an early 1980's interview that the Runaways were "too honest", and I think that's a fair assessment. The influence the band had on subsequent generations of female rockers is pretty well accepted now.There isn't really a weak track on this CD, but I like some tracks better than others. Cherry Bomb is the Runaways signature song; I Love Playin' With Fire, You Drive Me Wild, and Wait For Me round out the top four. Listening to this brings me back to my teenage years, when the Runaways were playing constantly on my record player. They still sound just as good today!"
Great intro for Runaways newcomers
frank vigliotti | Commack, NY United States | 07/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A nice sample of this ground breaking band from the seventies. Eventually a springboard for Joan Jett and Lita Ford, this group provided a major pathway for women in rock. Cherie Currie was touted as the lead vocalist at first, however Joan Jett attained stardom about 6 years later. This CD primarily has Jett's leads (which were shared with Currie), which is a bit of a let down, as much of their greatest stuff was with Currie on vocal. However the LP "Waitin' for the Night" has never been available on CD, and there are some awesome cuts from that. That particular album was recorded after Currie left the band, and Jett took over all of the vocals. The live cuts definitely leave something to be desired, however there are only two. Much of this materiel is very difficult to find, so it is a great collection to have. Note that the average age of the band members upon recording this materiel was about 17, which adds to it's charm. Add it to your collection."
Excellent overview of one-of-a-kind 70s girl band
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 03/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this was originally issued, it was one of only two Runaways CDs in print domestically. Yet even with their catalog freely available, this compilation still provides a valuable, condensed overview of their career. A good introduction for those unfamiliar, or those who simply want a single disc's worth of their music.The 13 tracks include cuts from their 3 US studio albums ("The Runaways", "Queens of Noise" and "Waitin' for the Night"), as well as their Japanese/Canadian live LP "Live in Japan", and the English release "Flaming School Girls."The track selection heavily emphasizes Joan Jett's contribution to the band, which is reasonable when you look at their overall history. Original vocalist Cherie Curie sings lead on only three of the eight tracks taken from the four albums (three studio, one live) on which she was present. Jett takes the lead vocals on 10 of the disc's 13. Jett wrote or co-wrote all but two.In some sense this seems a slight to Curie, but over the lifetime of the band it's clear that Jett was the dominant force. Initially it seems that their manager/Svengali, Kim Fowley, was the dominant factor, but Jett quickly asserted herself, both as a songwriter and vocalist. By the third LP (and with the departure of Curie), Jett had completely cemented her leadership.The track selection is quite good, though I might have picked different tracks here and there (e.g., the vault track "C'mon" could be lost without damaging the program). Jett's grungy rhythm guitar and Sandy West's pounding drum style push this music along. Lita Ford's lead guitar playing is a lot better on these late 70's studio tracks than it was in the live shows.Of the live tracks, "Queens of Noise" and "You Drive Me Wild", I like the latter better. The live version of "Queens of Noise" really doesn't add anything to that done in the studio, the production doesn't have the same pop, and Cherie Curie's vocals sound more forced. I would have rather seen them include a non-studio track from the live LP (e.g., Sandy West's version of "Wild Thing".)Strangely, condensing the Runaways canon onto a single disc seems to give their music a lot more legitimacy. The embarrassing cover versions (e.g., their version of "Rock 'n' Roll" with the big gap where the guitar solo should've been, or the later, horrid version of "Strawberry Fields") are gone, and what's left sounds good.The liner notes give a short history of the Runaways, the track notes are basically non-existent (giving only the LP the track was taken from). The pictures used on the front insert are taken from the full-color 12x12 photos that were included in the original Japanese pressing of the live LP.For those who are new to the Runaways, this is a good introduction. The impression it will create, devoid of the hype surrounding the band (e.g., monthly articles and photos in magazines such as Creem, Circus and Craw- daddy) is likely to be rather different than that created when the music was first issued. Especially now that female-rockers are a bit more commonplace (and especially since Joan Jett and Lita Ford have had successful solo careers)."
Brings back the memories
frank vigliotti | 01/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a short time when I was in high school, Joan Larkin (aka Joan Jett) lived four houses down from me and went to the same high school. I thought she was weird -- platform shoes with home-made glitter embellishments on them, big hair, glam clothes, the works. My sister was good friends with Joan's younger sister, and she said that Joan had posters of Elton John and T. Rex all over her bedroom, and had put lipstick kisses all over them.
I used to hear Joan practice with the Runaways, and hearing the clamor coming from four houses down, I thought it sounded horrible. (What was a Fleetwood Mac/Dan Fogelberg fan supposed to think, anyway? :-)
Little did I know of Joan's impending success, and the Runaways' influence and greatness. This is pure rock -- raw, unadulterated, loud, crude, and noisy. I've come to appreciate this music a lot more than I did when it was actually being made. Cool stuff."
The Original Riot GRRRLS
hyperbolium | 06/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the very best of The Runaways music. The songs on this compilation definately showcase Joan Jett as the main vocalist even though Cherie Currie was considered the lead vocalist. It's obvious from the songs compiled here that when Joan Jett sang lead that's when it all turned into sweaty, gut-level rock and roll. Lita Ford gives a searing guitar performance on "I Love Playin' With Fire" and her playing on "Take It or Leave It" will leave you with goosebumps all over. And everything you love about Joan Jett, whether it's her crunchy guitar sound or her growling vocals or even her sedate and almost pretty vocal style, is here and it's on '11' as always. The best tracks in my opinion (even though I love the entire CD) are the power ballad "Waitin' For The Night" and the headbanging "C'mon" becuz they each demonstrate the versatility these young ladies had, which has inspired and continues to inspire new generations of chick rockers world wide."