Formed in London in the late 70s, Girlschool were one of the first all-girl rock acts to make a mark in the mostly male-dominated NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). The band’s first two albums have gone on to become classics.
Having signed with Bronze, their debut album Demolition surfaced in 1980. Stand-out tracks included a blistering cover of Gun’s Race With The Devil that just made it into the Top 50.
Nothing To Lose, Demolition Boys and Emergency all showed the girls rocking out with finesse and ballsy attitude.
By the time their second album Hit and Run appeared in 1981, their reputation had already been cemented. Though not as strong as their debut, the album still oozed with the same raw energy and aggressive attitude that showed the girls could still take the boys on at their own game and succeed.
Earlier in the year, the band released the very successful St Valentine’s Day Massacre EP (with Motörhead).
By third album Screaming Blue Murder (1982), Enid Williams was replaced by bassist Gil Weston, and their producer, Vic Maile, was replaced by The Police producer Nigel Gray, whose aural buffering couldn’t stifle tracks like Hellrazor and their feisty cover of The Stones‘ Live With Me.
The strain was showing by Play Dirty (1983), produced by Slade‘s Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, who glammed them into US radio-friendly pop-rock couched in Def Leppard bombast, and including covers of T. Rex‘s 20th Century Boy and Slade‘s Burning In The Heat.
The album tanked, Kelly Johnson left to stay in LA with her girlfriend Victory Tischler-Blue (aka Vicki Blue, former bassist with The Runaways) and Girlschool soldiered on with new members. They became a staple on the rock festival circuit and still command a loyal following today.
Johnson – who tragically succumbed to spinal cancer on 15 July 2007 – was one of the finest hard rock guitarists Britain ever produced, whatever school she came from.
Lead guitar, vocals
Rhythm guitar, vocals