Discovering The Runaways

The Runaways

Available On Amazon

I was in ninth grade in 1976 when I walked into Sam Goody’s Record store in the East Patterson Mall. The record store was nestled in the heart of heartless suburban New Jersey. As I scanned the wall of new releases, I instantly stood frozen in my Pumas as I caught my first glimpse of the Runaways debut album cover. I had no idea who they were or what they sounded like. Nonetheless, I brought the album instantly and tore the shrink off the record while I walked home. I had never seen a band that looked like the Runaways before and had not even listened to the vinyl yet, but I knew I was going to like it. Even though the album listed the members of the band as being sixteen, they did not look sixteen to my fourteen year old brain.

Discovering the Runaways

I finally arrived home after the forty five minute walk and placed the Runaways LP on my Emerson turntable. I was initially shocked by the sound I heard. I was expecting a pop or disco record based on the outfit Cherie Currie had on the cover. I never expected the raw rock and roll sound of the band. The lyrical content, grungy sound of the guitars and bass, and Cherie’s voice were so completely satisfying, and unlike any band I had ever heard before.

At the time, I was a backup disc jockey at the school radio station. I was too young as a ninth grader to have my own show.  I was assigned as a backup in case the regular disc jockey cut out of school.(which happed often) Our radio station at the time consisted of two turntables, a mic, and a small mixing board. We sat at a table out in the open a few feet away from a bench in which the most annoying jocks in the school hung out. It was not the optimal place for a long haired skinny ninth grader to be spinning records from.

I brought the Runaways record into school and asked the main disc jockey if I could play “Cherry Bomb,” during his show. I explained that they sounded like no one else and that the students in the commons would love the band.  The disc jockey I was backing up at the time was a huge Moody Blues fan who was not impressed with my argument. However, he was curious because he kept staring at the gatefold of the Runaways debut album. So, he cued up Cherry Bomb and let her play. I reached over and turned it up real loud. The jocks instantly got aggravated with me and threatened to smash the microphone into my head. The jocks did not care too much for the sound of the Runaways. Mr. Moody Blues DJ didn’t care for them either. Half way through “Cherry Bomb,” one of the science teachers came over and told me to turn it off. I picked up the album cover and showed the teacher the gatefold. I asked the science teacher if he could believe that the Runaways in the centerfold were only sixteen and how old did he really think they were; 20? 25?  I remember the teacher staring back at me shaking his head with a disapproving frown saying, “they look sixteen.” It seemed no one was impressed.

The Runaways

Photo : By Steve Bibiano ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I thought that I had discovered a band that no one would ever hear, and that I would be their only fan. I was too young to realize that a record that was placed at the front of a national record store was probably going to be heavily promoted by the record company. Only a few weeks later, everyone knew who the Runaways were as they began to grace the covers of the teen rock magazines and started to garnish radio airplay. But for a brief two week period, the Runways were all mine. At least, that’s what my fourteen year old brain believed.

Discovering the Runaways

Written by Tony Scavieli

The Runaways Official Website

Add Comment

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Classic Rock History, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, 11787. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Otis Rush Songs
Top 10 Otis Rush Songs
Johnny Rivers Songs
Top 10 Johnny Rivers Songs
The Hooters Songs
Top 10 Songs From The Hooters
Cyndi Lauper Songs
Top 10 Cyndi Lauper Songs
Frank Sinatra Albums
10 Essential Frank Sinatra Albums
John Lennon Albums
5 Essential John Lennon Albums
Best Christmas Albums
50 Essential Rock, Pop And Swing Christmas Albums
Duke Ellington Albums
10 Essential Duke Ellington Albums
Bands Who never had a top 40 hit in the U.S. Billboard Top 40
10 Classic Rock Bands Who Never Had A Single Break The U.S. Top 40
Steve Vai Crossroads
When The Karate Kid Fought Steve Vai
MTV's Favorite Bands
MTV’s Favorite Bands And Artists Of The 1980s
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
10 Musicians We Would Love To See In Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band