1980s, Denise Dufort, Enid Williams, Girlschool, heavy metal, Kelly Johnson, Screaming Blue Murder
I think the early 1980s metal groups, especially the ones out of England, were riding on the shoulders of the punks. The punks brought us back to real rock’n’roll. And the new metal groups like Iron Maiden and Motorhead, and this great group, Girlschool, were jumping off that sensibility with faster rhythms, shorter songs, and a sexier streetwise lyrics than the old school metal. Girlschool further supports this hypothesis because their second album, Hit and Run, came out on the Stiff Record label, the same label that gave us Elvis Costello, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, and most relevantly, Motorhead.
By any standard Hit and Run is a fantastic album. Shut your eyes. Would you believe this is an all girl metal quartet? Well the fact that I ask that question, and the fact that you’re even a little bit surprised shows us exactly how screwed up our parents made us, and affirms exactly what Girlschool set out to prove by being an all-girl group in the first place: that girls can play rougher than boys. I don’t think they do a single ballad or remotely spiritual tune.
Check out this song: “Flesh and Blood” from their third album, Screaming Blue Murder. WHAM Kim McAuliffe’s driving power chords. And WHAAAAAAA Kelly Johnson screaming her pure self through each guitar solo. And WHOMP the shockwave pounding foundation laid by Denise Dufort on Drums and Enid Williams thumping bass. They do rawer-and-hotter-than-the-original versions of songs by boys, like Gun’s immortal “Race With the Devil” and ZZ Top’s “Tush.”
Girlschool, Screaming Blue Murder, PolyGram Records, SRM 1-4066 (1982). Photography – Fin Costello; Album Design – not credited.