The punk rock movement has fostered the birth of countless influential artists and bands. The Ramones and the Sex Pistols are both bands that practically every socially involved person is familiar with. However, there are plenty of other artists that have been just as influential as the most well-known leaders of the punk movement, an example being the Runaways. The Runaways were pioneers of freedom for women not only in relation to the punk music scene, but in relation to woman's rights as a whole. Formed by the famous singer and guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West, the Runaways worked with producer Kim Fowley to secure their original lineup. The group was an instant success - within a year of their inception, they signed to Mercury Records and released the debut self-titled album. The band headlined shows with prominent names such as Cheap Trick and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.   The runaways blackmail cherrybomb american nights secrets album cover The Runaways had an enormous following in Japan, where they ranked number 4 in the most imported music acts of the country at that time. The group's only live album, Live in Japan, was filmed in the country. They also had their own TV special while in Japan, and they appeared on TV for other purposes on many occasions. While the band did not have as large of a following in the United States compared to elsewhere, their fame spread nearly worldwide. The band's success was by no means confined to monetary gain and album sales; they were the first all-female rock band to achieve the extent of success they did, so they are credited with reaching an essential milestone in the women's rights movement by proving that woman can also become punk icons. They were a representation of everything that punk rock embodies - free spirit, individuality, and self-expression were all valued by the group. They were some of the first women to be so open with their beliefs in the way that they were, and this has earned them a well-deserved spot in history.   One of the primary reasons that the Runaways remain relevant today is that without their career, many modern bands and artists would have been discouraged from following their dreams. Their career happened to be during a time when women were discouraged from doing a lot of things, one of them being joining a rock band. The Runaways worked towards destroying the gender stereotypes that confined women. Their success provided hope for other musicians with the same dream, and their dedication to freedom continues to influence people today. The Bangles, The Go-Go's, Courtney Love, and the Adolescents are all musical acts that cite the Runaways as a primary influence, among countless others. Females aren't the only people who can relate to the Runaways and appreciate the mark they left on the world - considering the amount of fame they had, their music itself is worthy of celebration. The Runaway's in-your-face blend of punk rock and heavy metal is unique and energizing, a reflection of the members who composed it.   Everyone can learn something from the Runaways. Freedom, expression, and disregard for the limitations that other people put on you are values that every human being should embrace. The Runaways knew this, and they worked hard to promote the ideas that make life worth living. It doesn't matter if you enjoy their music or not; take a note from their book and live your life the way you want to, because no one has the right to tell you that you can't.     photo credit: Affendaddy via photopin cc photo credit: Affendaddy via photopin cc photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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