Lita Ford

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Lita Ford
Lita Ford at Jones Beach 2012 01.jpg
Lita Ford at Jones Beach 2012
Background information
Birth nameLita Rossana Ford
Born (1958-09-19) 19 September 1958 (age 60)
London, England [1]
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Glam metal, heavy metal, punk rock, [2]
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, Singer (Vocalist)
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1975–1995, 2008–present
Labels Mercury, RCA, JLRG Entertainment, SPV/Steamhammer
Associated acts The Runaways, Joan Jett, Ozzy Osbourne, Cherie Currie, Lemmy

Lita Rossana Ford (born 19 September 1958) [3] [4] is an English-born , American heavy metal guitarist, actress, vocalist and songwriter who was the lead guitarist for the Runaways in the late 1970s before embarking on a solo career in the 1980s.

The Runaways American all-female rock band from Los Angeles

The Runaways were an all-female teenage American rock band that recorded and performed in the second half of the 1970s. The band released four studio albums and one live set during its run. Among their best-known songs are "Cherry Bomb", "Hollywood", "Queens of Noise" and a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s "Rock & Roll". Never a major success in the United States, the Runaways became a sensation overseas, especially in Japan, thanks to the hit single "Cherry Bomb".


Early life

Lita Ford was born to a British father (Harry Lenard Ford) and an Italian mother (Isabella Benvenuto) in London, England. [5] When she was in second grade, she moved with her family to the United States, eventually settling in Long Beach, California. [6] [7]

Long Beach, California City in California, United States

Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the United States, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area of Southern California. It is the 39th most populous city in the United States and the 7th most populous in California, with a population of 462,257 in 2010. A charter city, it is the second largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and the third in Southern California behind Los Angeles and San Diego.

Inspired by Ritchie Blackmore's work with Deep Purple, she began playing the guitar at the age of 11. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano. [8]

Ritchie Blackmore British guitarist and songwriter, guitarist of Deep Purple

Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard-rock music which mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. During his solo career, he established the heavy metal band Rainbow, which fused baroque music influences and elements of hard rock. Rainbow steadily moved to catchy pop-style mainstream rock. Later in life, he formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night, transitioning to vocalist-centred sounds. As a member of Deep Purple, Blackmore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.

A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian pronunciation: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.

Music career

The Runaways (1975–1979)

In 1975, at age 16, Ford was recruited by recording impresario Kim Fowley to join the all-female rock band the Runaways. The band soon secured a recording contract and released their first album in 1976. The band garnered significant media attention and the Runaways became a successful recording and touring act during their late 1970s heyday. Ford's lead-guitar playing became an integral element of the band's sound until their eventual break-up in April 1979.[ citation needed ]

An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer.

Kim Fowley American musician

Kim Vincent Fowley was an American record producer, singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult pop rock singles in the 1960s, and for managing the Runaways in the 1970s. He has been described as "one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll," as well as "a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream."

<i>The Runaways</i> (album) 1976 studio album by The Runaways

The Runaways is the debut studio album by American rock band the Runaways. It was released on June 1, 1976, by Mercury Records.

In 1977, internal conflicts were erupting within the Runaways, who had by that time already parted ways with producer Fowley, lead singer Cherie Currie, and bassist Jackie Fox. Vocalist/guitarist Joan Jett wanted the band to shift to a more Ramones-influenced punk rock sound, while Ford and drummer Sandy West wanted to continue playing the hard rock-oriented songs the band had become known for. [9] With neither faction willing to compromise, the band finally broke up in April 1979. [9]

Cherie Currie American rock musician, actress, and woodcarver, former member of The Runaways

Cherie Ann Currie is an American musician, actress and artist. Currie was the lead vocalist of the Runaways, a rock band from Los Angeles, in the mid-to-late 1970s. After the Runaways, she became a solo artist. Then she teamed up with her identical twin sister, Marie Currie, and released an album with her. Their duet "Since You Been Gone" reached number 95 on US charts. Their band was called Cherie and Marie Currie. She is also well known for her role in the movie Foxes.

Jacqueline Louise Fuchs is an American attorney and former musician. Under her stage name Jackie Fox, she played bass guitar for the pioneering all-girl teenage rock band the Runaways. She is the sister of screenwriter Carol Fuchs and sister-in-law of Castle Rock Entertainment co-founder Martin Shafer.

Joan Jett American musician

Joan Jett is an American rock singer, songwriter, composer, musician, record producer and occasional actress.

Solo career (1980–1995)

Ford performing on 19 December 1988 in the "Olympiahalle" venue of Munich, Germany. Lita Ford by Zoran Veselinovic.jpg
Ford performing on 19 December 1988 in the "Olympiahalle" venue of Munich, Germany.

Following the breakup of the Runaways, Ford signed with Mercury Records and set about launching a solo career. Her debut solo album, entitled Out for Blood , was released in 1983 and was a commercial disappointment. Her next release, Dancin' on the Edge (1984) achieved moderate success and Ford's popularity began to rise. Dancin' on the Edge included the single "Fire in My Heart", which reached the Top 10 in several countries outside the United States. The follow-up single, "Gotta Let Go", performed better, reaching number one on the Mainstream Rock charts. Ford said in an interview that she recorded an unreleased album with RCA Records, and Tony Iommi didn't perform on it. [6]

Mercury Records record label

Mercury Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. In the US, it operates through Island Records; in the UK, it is distributed by Virgin EMI Records.

<i>Out for Blood</i> (Lita Ford album) 1983 studio album by Lita Ford

Out for Blood is the debut solo album from guitarist/vocalist Lita Ford, formerly of the band the Runaways.

<i>Dancin on the Edge</i> 1984 studio album by Lita Ford

Dancin' on the Edge is second solo album by Lita Ford. It is also her last release with Mercury Records before she left to sign with RCA Records. This album featured Ford's new back up band made up of drummer Randy Castillo, Aldo Nova on keyboards and featured the bassist Hugh McDonald, who is currently the bassist for Bon Jovi. Dancin' on the Edge surpassed the success of her debut Out For Blood in both sales and airplay.

Ford signed with RCA Records, hired Sharon Osbourne Management, and re-emerged with a more radio-friendly pop-metal sound. In 1988, she released her most commercially successful album, the self-produced Lita . The album featured several singles including "Kiss Me Deadly", "Back to the Cave", "Close My Eyes Forever", and "Falling in and Out of Love", a song co-written by Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe. The ballad "Close My Eyes Forever", a duet with Ozzy Osbourne, remains her most successful song, reaching No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. [10] Ford followed up the success of Lita with the album Stiletto (1990). Stiletto featured the singles "Hungry" and "Lisa" (a song dedicated to her mother). However, the album failed to match the success of her previous release. Ford's next release was Dangerous Curves (1991), which featured her last charting single to date, "Shot of Poison". Ford's final album prior to a lengthy recording hiatus was Black on the German ZYX Records.[ citation needed ]

Long hiatus (1996–2007)

Ford performing on 27 June 2009. Lita Ford.jpg
Ford performing on 27 June 2009.

By the mid-1990s, Ford placed a reduced priority on her music career as she turned her attention towards raising her two young sons. Following the release of Black in 1995, Ford did not release new material until the Wicked Wonderland album in 2009.

Return to stage (2008–present)

In June 2008, Ford re-emerged with a new band with Stet Howland (WASP) on drums, playing several warm-up gigs under the moniker Kiss Me Deadly prior to Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma. [11] In June 2009, she toured the United States and Europe with a new line-up on her last 14 shows consisting of former Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, drummer Dennis Leeflang, and Deepfield bassist PJ Farley. [12] [13]

After a long recording hiatus, Ford released the new album Wicked Wonderland on 6 October 2009, on the JLRG Entertainment label. [14] In an interview with, Ford spoke about her new material: "I just wanted to kick ass! I don't know what's popular, or the flavor of the day. I just wanted the music to rock! The lyrics are very personal and that's it. I wasn't going to come out in sandals with hairy armpits!". [15]

In May 2011, Ford promised to release a "real comeback album" later in the year with drummer Chuck Spradlin, saying that 2009's nu metal-inspired Wicked Wonderland, was too much of a collective project with ex-husband Jim Gillette. "A lot of people have told me that they want a real Lita Ford album, and I know what they mean. They are going to get it", she was quoted as saying at the time. [16]

The album Living Like a Runaway was released in June 2012 on SPV/Steamhammer Records. True to her word, the album was much more in line with her earlier work. The title is also celebratory, as Ford had recently settled differences with her former Runaways' bandmates. [17] During 2014 she was bestowed with The Certified Legend Award by Guitar Player Magazine. [18]

In 2016, Ford released the album Time Capsule – a collection of songs she discovered on old analogue tapes from the 80s featuring recordings she'd made with Billy Sheehan, Gene Simmons, Bruce Kulick, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Dave Navarro, Rodger Carter and Jeff Scott Soto. [19]

Personal life

In the mid-1980s, Ford was briefly engaged to guitarist Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. [20] [21] She revealed in her autobiography that Iommi was very physically abusive towards her during the relationship on multiple occasions.

Iommi co-produced her album The Bride Wore Black, which was never released. Ford said in a 1989 interview with Kerrang! magazine that "there's a certain amount of bad blood between Tony (Iommi) and I". Ford was married to W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes in the early 1990s for a short time; the pair divorced and Ford began dating former Nitro vocalist Jim Gillette in 1994. The couple was married after knowing each other for only two weeks. They have two sons, James, and Rocco Gillette. The family moved to Turks and Caicos, where Gillette operated a small building and real estate developing business. [22]

Her husband had been in negotiations for a reality TV show, tentatively titled The Gillettes: An Extreme American Family on TLC. In a March 2011 interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website, Ford claimed that she had taken a business trip to Los Angeles to discuss the show with TLC executives, and returned home to find her husband and sons not speaking to her. [23] She stated that because she had taken control of the show, Gillette turned the couple's children against her, claiming that Ford was going to do harm to the children. [24] She claimed that her sons physically attacked her, encouraged by Gillette, after which she decided to divorce him. [25] In a February 2011 radio interview, Ford acknowledged that she and Gillette were divorcing. [26] The couple's family problems ended any plans for the television show. Due to this, Ford has become an advocate for the awareness of parental alienation.

In 2016 Ford published her autobiography, Living Like a Runaway: A Memoir, through Dey Street Books. Rolling Stone called the book "Fearless. ... A vivid account of life as 'the one-and-only guitar-playing rocker chick who could shred like I did.' ... A fast-paced read... and an inspiring one." [5]


Ford performing with Patrick Kennison Lita Ford and Patrick Kennison.jpg
Ford performing with Patrick Kennison

During her solo career, Ford endorsed musical instrument manufacturer B.C. Rich and exclusively used several of the brand's guitars, most notably the Warlock. The 1992 TV series Howie, starring Howie Mandel, saw Ford as a regular guitarist for the house band. Ford also had a small role in the 1992 horror/comedy film Highway to Hell playing a character called "The Hitchhiker". Ford was also asked by VH-1 to join the cast of the seventh season of the reality television program The Surreal Life in 2007. She declined.[ citation needed ] Ford contributed her likeness and voice to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC video game Brütal Legend . She appears as the character Rima, alongside Jack Black, Tim Curry, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford and Lemmy Kilmister. Her song "Betrayal" is also one of the 100+ songs that appear in the game.

In 2010, a major Hollywood motion picture chronicling the career of Ford's first band, The Runaways, was produced. Ford was portrayed by actress Scout Taylor-Compton in the movie, entitled The Runaways . Ford is featured extensively in the 2005 documentary film Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways , in which she spoke candidly about her time in the all-female band. Among other things, she alludes to verbal and sexual abuse endured by the band members at the hands of their management, specifically Kim Fowley.[ citation needed ]

In 2013, Ford reunited with former Runaways bandmate Cherie Currie to record a Christmas single. [27] The single ties into work Currie and Ford are both doing on behalf of Toys for Tots, a charity run by the US Marine Corps, which gives holiday toys to children of need.[ citation needed ]

Ford appeared on the May/June 2013 cover of Making Music Magazine to discuss her life and career. [28]

In 2014, Ford narrated The Life, Blood, and Rhythm of Randy Castillo. [29]

Ford competed on the reality cook show Chopped in hopes of raising $10,000 for her charity. [30] Ford made it through the first round, but was eliminated in the second round.

Ford released her autobiography Living Like a Runaway in June 2016. [31]

In 2018, Lita Ford and Jim Cara started Lita Ford Guitars, creating guitars and experiences for fans and players. [32]

Lita Ford



1978Rock 'N Roll Sports ClassicHerself
1991 Highway to Hell The Hitchhiker
1992 Howie Herself
1993 Herman's Head Herself
2005 Edgeplay Herself
2009 Brütal Legend Rima
2011 Big Time Rush Herself

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Queens of Noise</i> 1977 studio album by The Runaways

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<i>Live in Japan</i> (The Runaways album) 1977 live album by The Runaways

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