||The Runaways - guitars
||Lita Ford - vocals, guitars
||Lita Ford - vocals, guitars
|Born on: 19.08.1958
Carmelita Rossana Ford AKA Lita Gillette (born 19 September 1958) is a British-born, American rock musician and singer who was the lead guitarist for The Runaways and achieved popularity for her solo career between the 1980s and late 2000s.
Lita Ford was born to a British father and an Italian mother in London, England. She moved with her family to the United States at the age of 4 and began playing the guitar at the age of 11. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano.
In 1975 at the age of 16 she joined the all-female rock band The Runaways, for whom she played lead guitar.
It was not long before the all-girl formation caught the eye of the media. Lita Ford's guitar skills made her a driving force in the band and a permanent member from her arrival to the band's eventual break-up.
In 1979, disagreements were erupting within the band, who had since parted ways with both producer Kim Fowley and lead singer Cherie Currie. Rhythm guitarist Joan Jett and bassist Vicki Blue wanted the band shift more towards Ramones-influenced punk music whilst Ford, backed by drummer Sandy West, wanted to continue playing hard rock-oriented songs.With neither accepting the other's point of view, the band finally broke up that year.
After the group split in 1979, she began a solo career. Her first album Out for Blood as well as the title single were released in 1983 and had no luck on the charts. The next effort, 1984's Dancin' on the Edge achieved moderate success. It included the single "Fire In My Heart" which reached the Top 10 in several countries. The next single "Gotta Let Go" was one of Ford's biggest hits. It reached Number One on the Mainstream Rock charts.
Ford toured extensively and made several guest appearances on TV shows for the next four years, but had no releases; a follow-up to Dancin' On The Edge, titled The Bride Wore Black, was abandoned and never released because Ford did not like the production of the album and this upset the head of her record label, leading to Ford switching from Mercury Records to RCA Records. The artist has described the album as being in "Label hell! Who knows what shelf that is sitting on!"
By the time Ford returned again, the lighter pop-metal she had long favoured had broken through to mainstream audiences, which set the stage for her most commercially successful album, 1988's Lita. With Sharon Osbourne as her manager, and again produced by herself, the album featured four commercial hits, including "Kiss Me Deadly", "Back To The Cave", "Close My Eyes Forever", and "Falling In And Out Of Love" (co-written with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe). The ballad "Close My Eyes Forever", a duet with Sharon's husband Ozzy Osbourne, was her only Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit, reaching #8.
Her next release was called Stiletto. It featured the singles "Hungry" and "Lisa" (the second was dedicated to her mother). However this album was not as successful as Dancin' On The Edge and Lita.
Ford's next release was Dangerous Curves, which featured her last charting single "Shot Of Poison". Ford's last release would be with ZYX Records and would be titled Black. It failed to repeat the success of 1991's Dangerous Curves.
During her solo years, she was an endorser of B.C. Rich guitars and used Warlock, Eagle, Mockingbird and Bich single and double-neck models.
Ford appears in the 1992 film Highway to Hell as 'The Hitchhiker'. Ford was also asked by VH-1 to be in the cast of The Surreal Life for its 7th season, in 2007. She declined.
Return to stage, new album and tour 2008-2009
In June 2008, Ford and her new solo band played several warm-up gigs prior to Rocklahoma under the name Kiss Me Deadly in the New York City area.
In June 2009, Lita began touring the US and Europe, with a new line-up consisting of Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal (Guns N' Roses guitarist, 2006-present) on guitar, Dennis Leeflang (Bumblefoot drummer) and PJ Farley on bass (Trixter, Ra) and Michael T. Ross (Angel/XYZ).
Ford released a new album Wicked Wonderland on 6 October 2009 via JLRG Entertainment. The album was written and produced by Ford, husband Jim Gillette, and Greg Hampton. Lita will tour the US in the Autumn and Winter of 2009, including dates on Queensryche's American Soldier Tour.
In an interview with ExclusiveMagazine.com, talking about her new album Wicked Wonderland, Lita revealed the reason why its sound is heavier than the 80s music she once used to put out - "We just wanted to kick ass! We don't know what's popular, or the flavour of the day. We just wanted the music to ROCK! The lyrics are very personal to us and that's it. I wasn't going to come out in sandals with hairy armpits!".
Asked about how easy it was for her to create this new album/sound after all these years away from the music scene, Lita states that she and Jim [Gillette] "just did what came naturally. We'd been on an island in the middle of the Caribbean and hadn't heard anything current or even watched TV in years. We didn't have a TV or radio! We wrote from our hearts. We're very happy that lots of people love it!".
Asked about why she had chosen to walk away from fame all those years ago, Lita simply states that she "got married 15 years ago to the most amazing man I've ever met - Jim Gillette. We wanted to start a family and we did! We were on a deserted island just enjoying our love, lives, and our family. We have the most incredible sex life on the planet and that occupied quite a lot of our time!".
Lita Ford contributed her likeness and voice to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game, Brütal Legend. Lita appears as the character Rima, alongside Jack Black, Tim Curry, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, and Lemmy Kilmister. Lita's song "Betrayal" is also one of the 100+ songs that appear in the game.
Lita and her family also appear in comic book form in "The Gillettes: Family Business" written by Jake Tinsley and depicted by Manga artist, Jason Dube.
In 2010, Ford was portrayed by actress Scout Taylor-Compton in the movie The Runaways.
Ford is married to Jim Gillette, of the band Nitro. She has two sons with him, James and Rocco Gillette. James was born on Jim and Lita's third wedding anniversary. They were married in 1994 after knowing each other for 2 weeks. The Gillette family is currently in negotiations for a reality TV show tentatively titled The Gillettes: An Extreme American Family.
During the 1980s, Ford was engaged to Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, Black Sabbath leader/guitarist Tony Iommi, and later married (and divorced) W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes. In 1996, while living off the Florida coast she took part in interviews for MTV called "It Came From The 80's II". A memorable note, was at 38, she was voted 1 of the 100 Best Butts in the history of Rock and Roll.
An achievement in the Xbox 360 version of the video game Guitar Hero II, is titled the "Joan & Lita Award" in tribute to Lita and Joan Jett. It is awarded to two players who can get a 100 note streak in cooperative mode.
Ford lent her appearance and likeness to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 videogame Brütal Legend as Rima, Queen of the Zaulia beast-riders. In addition, the character Lita Halford was named after both Ford and Rob Halford, who also provides a voice in the game.
Her song, "Close My Eyes Forever", was included in Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore.
The song "Kiss Me Deadly" was covered in a compilation album called Viva La Internet/Blank CD by Reel Big Fish.