"Lita" Ford was born on Sept. 23, 1959 in London and moved with her parents
to California when she was a small child. She first made a name for herself
in the 1970's as the sexy teen guitarist for The Runaways, along with
Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. After disappearing for a number of years, she returned
in the early 1980's as the queen of heavy metal with albums like "Out for Blood"
and "Dancin' on the Edge." Soon after she was given a makeover and became a
big pop rock star, although she still retained her hard rock sheen, touching
also on her glam roots. Lita has had a long and enduring career. She has also
had a lot of well publicised romances with noteworthy men of metal like Tony
Iommi, Nikki Sixx and W.A.S.P.'s Chris
Holmes whom she married in 1989.
Lita Ford - Out For Blood (Mercury) 1983
1. Out For Blood
2. Stay With Me Baby (4:31)
3. Just A Feeling (4:41)
4. Ready, Willing And Able (2:59)
5. Die For Me Only (Black Widow) (3:05)
6. Rock 'N Roll Made Me What I Am Today (2:53)
7. If You Can't Live With It (4:20)
8. On The Run (2:50)
9. Any Way That You Want Me (3:36)
10. I Can't Stand It (3:28)
I was in high school when
this album came out. A friend of mine purchased this CD. We were, of course,
enthralled by the cover art. Lita looks fantastic in here leather duds and her
disembowled BC Rich. For some odd reason when the CD version of this album came
out some years later the cover was edited to the equally sexy cover pictured
above. I guess someone felt that guitar abuse wasn't something they wanted to
support. After all violent crimes against guitars such as those depicted on
the original cover are unlawful. Pfffffft! OK, someone is either a bit too anal
retentive or perhaps someone just thought the album would sell better with a
less bloody cover, especially seeing as how by the time the CD came out Lita
was a popular pop metal vixen. The cover art aside, this album wouldn't have
been worth a nickle if the music wasn't good. I mean, we were already fans of The Runaways but if Lita had immediately chosen to go down the same route
as fellow Runaway Joan Jett, we probably wouldn't have cared much. Rather,
Lita wanted to play heavy metal. "Out For Blood" is 100%, 80's heavy metal.
Her looks were equally matched by her chops and her sexy voice. The title track
and "On the Run", both rock hard. Even the ballad, "Just A Feeling", is quite
good. Especially noteworthy is "Rock 'N Roll Made Me What I Am Today", which
is an autobiographical song about Lita's teenage years in The Runaways.
This album was released long before her pop makeover in the late 80's. There
are no big pop hits here just lots of raw energy. OK, the production is a bit
uneven and in hindsight, the cover art was pretty tacky, but so what! This was
how metal was in 1983. It certainly pulled me and my high school metalhead buddies
Unfortunately this CD is
now out of print and sells for a premium on auction sites. Not even the 'best
of' discs seem to include anything off this CD. Even Lita herself has sort of
put this disc down, although from what I have read it's more the mix she doesn't
like as opposed to the actual songs. However, it is unfortunate. For me and
many other longtime fans, this was part of heavy metal history and certainly
an important disc in Lita's career.
Lita Ford - Dancin' on the Edge (Mercury) 1984
1. Gotta Let Go (4:39)
2. Dancin' On The Edge (5:00)
3. Dressed To Kill (3:45)
4. Hit 'N Run (3:54)
5. Lady Killer (3:40)
6. Still Waitin' (4:19)
7. Fire In My Heart (3:45)
8. Don't Let Me Down Tonight (4:42)
9. Run With The $ (4:21)
I was a fan of Lita in
the Runaways and also enjoyed her first solo album "Out For Blood" when I bought
it as a new release. For some reason after that I sort of lost interest in Lita's
solo career. It was over a decade later when a friend of mine suggested I give
this CD a listen, stating it was better than anything she had done before it.
After finally scoring a copy, I do agree that it is a worthwhile listen, although
I am not sure I would place it on the same pedistal as "Out for Blood" or the
classic Runaways material. Lita's sophmore release is still chock full of meaty
hard rock and heavy metal axe slinging, although it is most certainly a transition
record for her as well. She had not yet reach the point in her career where
she was a chart breaking pop star. "Gotta Let Go" is crunchy, raunchy rocker
and one of Lita's finest tracks ever. Likewise "Ladykiller" is a signature cut
complte with a chainsaw. Even the power ballad "Don't Let Me Down Tonight" is
a good song without being cheesy and sappy. However, other tracks like "Run
with the $" and "Hit and Run" are most certainly more radio oriented and remind
me a bit of Loverboy or Toto. This may be a bad thing to most
metalheads, but I actually enjoy these songs as well, if I am in the right mood
for them. "Dancing on the Edge" is one of the forgotten nuggets of the 1980's.
It's melodic, sexy, heavy and fun.
| Lita Ford – Lita (RCA/Dreamland) 1988
1. Back to the Cave (4:01)
2. Can't Catch Me (3:58)
3. Blueberry (3:47)
4. Kiss Me Deadly (3:59)
5. Falling In and Out of Love (5:07)
6. Fatal Passion (4:41)
7. Under the Gun (4:48)
8. Broken Dreams (5:12)
9. Close My Eyes Forever (4:42)
Without a doubt this is Lita Ford’s most popular CD. It features two of her biggest hits including "Kiss Me Deadly" and her duet with Ozzy Osbourne on "Close My Eyes Forever". A quick Google search on-line revealed some of the most pathetic reviews I have ever read on this album. Many of them began with "Lita is so hot...". Ok, I can agree that she is a gorgeous woman, but so is Shakira and Britney Spears, and I have no desire to listen to their music. Good looks does not equal good music. Unfortunately, with "Lita", the ex-Runaways guitarist moved further away from the hard rock and heavy metal she should have been making and further into pop metal, pop rock, and in the case of "Back to the Cave", just plain old pop. I can’t even justify calling that song rock. Then there are the obligatory ballads, of which there are several on an album of only nine songs. Actually, the last three songs on this album are all ballads. There are a few gems here, including the two aforementioned hit songs. Growing up in the 80’s, there was just no escaping these two songs. Both have huge pop hooks. The duet with Ozzy is quite good. It’s a melodic 80’s power ballad. Both songs are forever engrained into the memories of those of us who were around during this time. "Falling In and Out of Love" is also a good rocker, though it might have been better had the rhythm guitars been out front and the keyboards been left off all together. Lita sounds sexy on this song. On "Blueberry", I can’t help but think of the scene in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where the girls turns into a big, blue, blueberry after chewing the gum.
As with the majority of Lita’s catalog, I listen and wonder what might have been had she been left along to rock, rather than being forced into being a sexy pop star. She certainly has the capability to rock us hard. Her debut album and her tenure with the Runaways proved this.
A few interesting facts about this album. Pat Benatar's rhythm section, Don Nossov and Myron Grombacher, are featured throughout the album. Lemmy of Motorhed fame has a writing credit on " Can’t Catch Me". Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue fame has a writing credit on "Fallin In and Out of Love". The album was produced by Nick Chapman, who helped create a string of hit singles for Sweet, The Knack, Suzi Quatro, among others. "Lita" was certified Platinum in the U.S. and Gold in Canada, while "Out for Blood" didn’t even chart, which just goes to show that millions of people disagree with my opinion on Lita’s catalog.
Lita Ford - Stiletto (BMG) 1990
1. Your Wake Up Call (1:58)
2. Hungry (4:53)
3. Dedication (3:33)
4. Stiletto (4:37)
5. Lisa (4:53)
6. The Ripper (5:19)
7. Big Gun (4:34)
8. Only Women Bleed 5:54)
9. Bad Boy (4:03)
10. Aces and Eights (4:12)
11. Cherry Red (4:09)
12. Outro (1:55)
Lita had managed a hit with her ballad "Close Your Eyes" with Ozzy on her proceeding CD. With that in mind, "Stiletto" is another attempt at radio-ready, pop rock. Everything is here; the overly slick, keyboard heavy, production, hooky pop choruses, the beautiful ballad, and the sexy shots of Lita in a slinky black dress. The album begins with a short intro before breaking into the sex-laced "Hungry" that proclaims, "I’m so hungry for your sex". This song was sure to get the attention of any teenage boy in listening distance. "Lisa" is a moving ballad that I believe pays tribute to Lita’s mom. "The Ripper" is one of the more rockin’ songs on the CD, which is unfortunately overshadowed by a keyboard heavy, slick production that robs that track of the raw rock and roll guitar sound that it should have had. "Aces and Eights" is a solid pop rocker, but is again held back by a slick production that just robs the track of the raw rock and roll guitar sound that the song begs for. "Stilletto" also includes and excellent cover of Alice Cooper’s "Only Woman Bleed." Frankly, I’m surprised that this song wasn’t released as a single. It might have done really well for Lita in 1990. It might have even been cooler had Lita made this song a duet with Alice himself. Overall, "Stiletto" is a good pop record but I can only imagine that this album would have been that much better with less keyboards and a harder rocking guitar sound. I’ve always just wanted to hear Lita put out an album that is pure, heavy, guitar-laden, rock and roll. Unfortunately, "Stiletto" isn’t that record.
Lita Ford - Dangerous Curves (BMG/RCA) 1991
1. Larger than Life (3:54)
2. What do Ya Know About Love (3:53)
3. Shot of Poison (3:31)
4. Bad Love (4:20)
5. Playin' With Fire (4:08)
6. Hellbound Train (6:06)
7. Black Widow (3:31)
8. Little Too Early (2:58)
9. Holy Man (4:43)
10. Tambourine Dream (4:53)
11. Little Black Spider [instrumental] (1:47)
After releasing a couple of successful pop albums in “Lita” and “Stiletto”, Lita returns to playing rock and roll. The Tom Werman produced “Dangerous Curves” is still very commercial and has a pop appeal, but is much less focused on Lita’s sex appeal and more on guitars and songs. As one might expect from a Tom Werman produced album, this overall sound here is very glossy and overly produced. Had the guitars had more bite to them much of this album would have been among Lita’s hardest rocking. Still, despite the squeaky clean production, there are some very good songs and it’s good to hear Lita attempting some real hard rock again. “Larger than Life”, “Black Widow” and "Hellbound Train" are all fun, straight forward rockers. “Shot of Poison” is a nice pop rocker that should have been a hit, if it wasn’t. “Playin’ with Fire” is an ultra-catchy song and sounds like it could have been on Kiss’ "Crazy Nights" LP. This song definitely would have held up better over time had it not been drenched in those 80’s keyboards that drown out the guitars. As would be expected there are the obligator ballad as well in “Bad Love”. All in all, “Dangerous Curves” is a nice fusion of Lita’s rock persona and her more commercial, pop side.
Lita Ford - Black (ZYX) 1995
1. Black (5:07)
2. Loverman (5:55)
3. Killin' Kind (4:29)
4. Hammerhead (4:37)
5. Boilin' Point" (3:51)
6. Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight (4:17)
7. War of the Angels (4:46)
8. Joe (5:40)
9. White Lightning (3:58)
10. Smokin' Toads (4:13)
11. Spider Monkeys (6:51)
"Black" is the sixth studio release from former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. This is the album where she attempts to "get with the times", so to speak. The album is far less polished and pop than her last three albums. The sound is more guitar oriented and slightly darker than anything Lita has recorded since her debut. "Black" sees Ford attempting a melodic, slightly grungy, 1990's and steering clear of the pop metal sound she was known for. Now, being that I am no fan of grunge, I should completely hate this album. However, I don't. I find much to enjoy here. "Black" is certainly not lifeless and boring. The album opens with the title track, which a solid, hard rock and roll song. "Loverman" is starts off as an endearing, acoustic ballad that is actually better than a lot of the pop Lita was cranking out. The song features some nice guitar work from Lita as the song builds from it's melancholy opening to a more upbeat song at the end. Likewise, "Killing Kind", "Joe" and "Hammerhead" are all melodic rock songs, whereas "Boilin' Point" is an upbeat hard rocker, and probably my favorite song on the album. "White Lightning" is a blues-based hard rocker. "Black" may not be the pop metal Lita is known for, but it's certainly no slouch either. "Black" is a melancholy, melodic, slightly dark, rock and roll album. It may very well be Lita's most honest, organic record.
| Lita Ford – Wicked Wonderland (JLRG) 2009
1. openLove (3:46)
2. Piece (3:42)
3. Crave (4:33)
4. Scream (3:58)
5. Sacred (4:13)
6. Wicked Wonderland (3:50)
7. Indulge (4:43)
8. Patriotic Snob (5:31)
9. Everything (3:58)
10. Inside (4:43)
11. Truth (3:56)
12. Betrayal (3:36)
13. Bed (6:51)
14. Garden (4:06)
15. Push (4:17)
I’ve long been a fan of Lita Ford, ever since her days in the Runaways. I’ve always been of the opinion that she was a rocker forced to be a pop diva by record companies. The pre-release hype on "Wicked Wonderland" was that it would be her hardest rockin’ CD ever. I anxiously waited to hear that one. Unfortunately, before the CD was even commercially available reviews began to pop up saying that this was the worst thing she had ever recorded. Hype doesn’t mean a whole lot, nor do professional reviewers. However, when even the fans began writing poor reviews on site like Amazon, I was very apprehensive. Well, a friend purchased a copy of "Wicked Wonderland" to hear with my own ears. The pre-release hype wasn’t actually wrong, this is the heaviest thing that Lita has ever recorded. Unfortunately I also think I agree with most of the fan reviews, though I also don’t think this thing is the travesty that many make it out to be.
"Wicked Wonderland" was co-produced by Lita and her husband Jim Gillette, of cult pop-metal band Nitro. According to Lita, the pair didn’t pay attention to any of the current music. Listening to this CD, I find that hard to believe. Musically the entire album has a slight nu-metal and industrial edge to it. There is very little here that resembles anything that Lita has done in the past. Lita experiments with various synth effects throughout "Wicked Wonderland". I’m sure the point was to create something new and different, but to me this has a lot in common with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. There is nothing wrong with experimenting musically, but sometimes experiments fail. Some of these songs would have succeeded if not overshadowed by the computerized aspects and the very digital recording. None of the songs are really guitar driven as most of the times the guitar is used as just another effect in the song. "Sacred," which is essentially the most straightforward rock offering on the CD, beings with a bluesy slide and clean vocals. This ballad showcases the talent Lita has without excessive help from effects and modern production techniques.
Husband Jim Gillette shares vocal duties with Lita on just about every songs. Nothing wrong with that really, as I loved Gillette in Nitro. If there would have been some more straight forward hard rock and heavy metal presented here, I think Jim and Lita would have been a great tag team on vocals. Jim can shatter glass with his high falsetto vocals, which unfortunately he doesn’t really utilize here. Lita still sounds like Lita. Her voice has always been strong and sexy.
Another point about this CD is the lyrics. Lita is now in her 50’s, which is cool. I’m glad that so many rockers continue to record long after their popularity has waned. However, these lyrics are overtly sexual and are just not fitting whatsoever. In the past Lita has written lyrics that may have been sensual, but they weren’t the equivalent of adolescent porn. Lita is indeed a beautiful woman and I am sure many teens that grew up in the 80’s fantasized about Lita. However, why would a mature woman in her 50’s be singing lyrics like, "36" 24" 36" that's right. Long blonde hair and a body that's tight, Got my guitar, play it loud as hell. When the boys watch me play their private parts start to swell." (from "Piece") or "Golden dreams, sick sick sick, infatuation blood red lips, whips and chains, nice round hips, I show no mercy, but you love my tits..." (from "Crave").
Says Lita, "Everybody has their own Wicked Wonderland. It’s a place where you can do whatever you want and get as freaky as you feel. These songs are my version of that – they’re all about my life… well, the parts that happen when the kids are in bed and my husband and I get into the boudoir."
Perhaps Lita is trying to pick up where she left off many years ago, or perhaps she is just living the image that she has upheld since the 80’s. Maybe my problem with the lyrics is more my problem than Lita’s, but regardless, I found the lyrics to be immature and sort of creepy.
Anyone looking for anything resembling Lita’s past is going to be greatly disappointed here. However, this isn’t the travesty that many are making it out to be. If disconnected from Lita’s past, it’s actually not a horrible album, but I am still waiting for that full throttle, straight forward hard rock/heavy metal album from Lita.