GIRLSCHOOL
NWoBHM • United Kingdom

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Girlschool started in 1975 when Enid Williams (Bass, Vocals) and Kim McAuliffe (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals) formed an all girl rock covers band called ´Painted Lady´ in South London.

Kelly Johnson and Denise Dufort later joined and in April 1978 they changed their name to ´Girlschool´

Their first single ´Take it all away´ was released on the ´City Records´ label which led to them gaining a Motörhead support slot on the Overkill tour in 1979.

After signing with Lemmy´s record company Bronze later that year, the band released their first album ´Demolition´ in 1980.

After playing Japan in 1982, Enid left and was replaced by Gil Weston of The Killjoys and Girlschool recorded their third album ´Screaming Blue Murder´.

After Kelly left to live in L.A. she was replaced by Cris Bonacci on lead guitar and singer Jackie Bodimead on lead vocals for the 1985 album ´Running Wild´.
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Thanks to NJCat_11, m@x, colt for the updates

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Bronze YearsBronze Years
Box set · Remastered · Import
Lemon Records UK 2014
Audio CD$30.52
$35.58 (used)
Running WildRunning Wild
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$22.99
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Girlschool In ConcertKing Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Girlschool In Concert
King Biscuit Flower Hour Records/Sony BMG 1997
Audio CD$5.64
$4.97 (used)
Hit & Run: RevisitedHit & Run: Revisited
Import
EMI Import 2011
Audio CD$4.37
$3.46 (used)
London 1980London 1980
Cleopatra 2014
Audio CD$14.98
Wild at HeartWild at Heart
Import
Hallmark 2003
Audio CD$2.62
$11.51 (used)
LegacyLegacy
Steamhammer / SPV 2008
Audio CD$8.26
$6.94 (used)
Play DirtyPlay Dirty
Extra tracks · Import
Castle Music UK 2004
Audio CD$16.99
$10.96 (used)
Singles CollectionSingles Collection
Import · Remastered
Lemon Records UK 2007
Audio CD$14.99
$80.14 (used)
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GIRLSCHOOL Discography

GIRLSCHOOL albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 5 ratings
Demolition
NWoBHM 1980
.. Album Cover 4.69 | 4 ratings
Hit and Run
NWoBHM 1981
.. Album Cover 3.07 | 2 ratings
Screaming Blue Murder
NWoBHM 1982
.. Album Cover 1.19 | 2 ratings
Play Dirty
NWoBHM 1983
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Running Wild
NWoBHM 1985
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Nightmare at Maple Cross
NWoBHM 1986
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Take a Bite
NWoBHM 1988
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 2 ratings
Girlschool
NWoBHM 1992
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
21st Anniversary: Not That Innocent
NWoBHM 2002
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Believe
NWoBHM 2004
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Legacy
NWoBHM 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hit and Run: Revisited
NWoBHM 2011

GIRLSCHOOL EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live and More
NWoBHM 1982

GIRLSCHOOL live albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live
NWoBHM 1995
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour: Girlschool
NWoBHM 1997
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live From London
NWoBHM 2005

GIRLSCHOOL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

GIRLSCHOOL boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Cheers You Lot
NWoBHM 1989
.. Album Cover 2.10 | 2 ratings
C'mon Let's Go
NWoBHM 1991
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
NWoBHM 1991
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Demolition / Hit and Run
NWoBHM 1991
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of
NWoBHM 1993
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Screaming Blue Murder / Play Dirty
NWoBHM 1994

GIRLSCHOOL singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Take It All Away
NWoBHM 1979
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Emergency
NWoBHM 1980

GIRLSCHOOL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live from London
NWoBHM 2005

GIRLSCHOOL Reviews

GIRLSCHOOL C'mon Let's Go

Boxset / Compilation · 1991 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
This compilation of Girlschool was typical of the cash ins that were around to capitalise on the NWOBHM all girl band's success. It features some quintessential Girlschool with 'C'mon Let's Go' from the dynamic "Hit and Run" album. 'Flesh and Blood' was an interesting choice as it was really a filler from "Screaming Blue Murder' though I didnt mind it's bold experimental feel.

'Not for Sale' is a competent rocker from the debut, as was the hard driving anthemic 'Deadline' and 'Midnight Ride'. One of the best tracks from the debut was the infectious melodic metallic 'Demolition Boys' that was always a fan favourite. 'Don't Call It Love' is the hit single and best track from "Screaming Blue Murder" and 'Take It From Me' is another good rocking track. There are other versions of this compilation with variations of track order and album covers.

At only 25 minutes this is a short burst of energy from the band that is OK for those wanting to taste what the band are like but you are far better advised to grab the debut or "Hit and Run" as all the best tracks are found on those. The best compilation is the 2 CD "The Collection" and that is definitely a better place to start.

GIRLSCHOOL Play Dirty

Album · 1983 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
Well I hate to do this to my beloved Girlschool, the all girl NWOBHM pioneers, but this album is a travesty from end to end with only 2 decent songs and enough filler material to grace all the B sides to all their singles. They began their career with 3 fabulous albums especially the heavy blitz of “Hit and Run” and then they produced this. This was produced by Slade's Noddy Holder and it sounds like Slade meets Vixen and other offenders of false metal. The result is the worst Girlschool album in history.

Even the album cover was akin to Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Love Beach” disaster, with the girls looking like sex goddesses, out of place and uncomfortable. The songs on this are embarrassing, especially the cover version of glamour puss T-Rex, ‘2oth Century Boy’, surely the silliest cover of this song by girls who should know better.

I think they were on one vodka too many when they agreed to produce the appalling Slade inspired ‘1-2-3-4 Rock 'n’ Roll’ , that ended up on an EP prior to this release and now you can hear it on the CD as a bonus track, sorry that is no bonus.

There are some real glitzy fluffed up songs on this such as ‘Breaking All the Rules’ and the forgettable nonsense of ‘Going Under’. The other single was written by Holder, ‘Burning in the Heat’ which is tolerable in its own cheesy way. ‘Play Dirty’ was a single and the promo was the best thing about it showing the girls walking around with attitude leering into the camera.

The truly detestable songs were those that didn’t suit the image such as a synth-soaked 80s powerless ballad, Surrender’. There are a couple of rockers at the end, ‘Rock Me, Shock Me’ and ‘Breakout’ and then mediocrity returns with the last track.

The tracks that are Ok are featured on compilations rendering this album obsolete. It would make a perfect beer coaster, complete with sexualised female stares and skin tight leotards. This is a sellout and the lowest point for the band. So low in fact that Kelly buggered off for good, as she was always a hard rocker and she hated what the band had become. The only way was up for the band after this shocking embarrassment.

GIRLSCHOOL Screaming Blue Murder

Album · 1982 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
Girlschool’s 3rd studio album was a step down from their last album, the quintessential “Hit and Run”, but this still featured some excellent tracks that became part of their live performance for many years. There was a lineup change when bassist Enid Williams was replaced by The Killjoy’s Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston. It didn’t make too much of a difference although I liked Enid’s vocals occasionally.

The album features one of the heaviest Girlschool tracks, the title ‘Screaming Blue Murder’ with shouting chorus and loud riffing guitars. The lyrics are straight forward in your face rebellious rantings; “Action screams like screaming blue murder, Action screams when there's something to say, Action screams when there's no words to tell it, Action screams when you're fading away... Come on let me show you just what we're gonna do, We're all screaming blue murder, screaming blue murder...” You get the picture, don’t you? The band were all about turning the guitars up to a maximum level and just cranking it out having a good time and damn the consequences.

‘Live with Me’ was a Rolling Stones cover and well performed. ‘Take It from Me’ had an infectious chorus and good lead breaks. ‘Flesh & Blood’ had strange verses with a driving drum beat from Denise Dufort, like tribal drums with sensual whispered vocals. It was a throwaway but I kind of got into this very different approach to the music with sparsely arranged guitars and sporadic drumming; giving it a decidedly progressive feel.

The best track on this was also a huge hit for the band, ‘Dont call It Love’ with a memorable chorus and very thoughtful lyrics in the verses, sung with attitude by rhythm guitarist Kim McCauliffe; “You know I seen this all before, And I know what you’re waiting for, But I won't be fooled again, By someone like you, I knew right from the start, That you would break my heart, Don't Call it love, Don't Call it love...” The film clip for theis is a tragedy with the girls skulking behind poles and oiled up muscle men flexing their muscles as the girls drape off them like accessories. It was the 80s! The lead break is melodic and well played by Kelly Johnson. Interestingly she doesn’t sing very much on this as she had done on previous albums and it may have been a sign of her disinterest in continuing with the band with the pressure of touring and appeasing the fan base.

There is a lot of filler material here unlike their previous albums and it is a shame to hear them churning out forgettable rubbish like ‘It Turns Your Head Around’ and ‘When Your Blood Runs Cold’ that reek of filler material.

Overall this is a patchy album with about 4 tracks to recommend it. They are all available on the double CD compilation “The Collection” rendering this album obsolete if you get that and I do recommend it as it is the best material the band produced in one hit. The saving grace of this album is the single, ‘Don't call It Love’ which is memorable and one of the best Girlschool moments. A good album that could have been a triumph but the filler material is unforgiveable. After this things got worse and worse typifying the crystal clean glammy 80s sound and the eventual decline of the band.

GIRLSCHOOL Demolition

Album · 1980 · NWoBHM
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AtomicCrimsonRush
The debut “Demolition” for all girl British metal band Girlschool is quite an achievement featuring some of their best material and two bonafide classics that became live staples and huge hits in the UK. The single that topped the chart was a cover of The Gun’s ‘Race With the Devil’ with some scorching lead riffs played beautifully by Kelly Johnson. She was their lead vocalist but did not sing on this, that job was left to bassist Enid Williams. She does a fine job and the film clip shows her having a lot of fun on this; she was always cracking up while the other members were rather serious. The hit was a blockbuster version and always stayed firm in my memory as a teen listening to these rocking babes. Kelly on guitar is devestating on this.

The other big hit was the single, ‘Emergency’ with the chorus “911 Emergency” repeated over and over. The chords were simple, skull crushing ‘A’ and ‘E’ chords that crashed down. The themes of the lyrics was simple, “Can't make out, things they said, Spent too many nights getting out of my head, Must be mad, must be blind, Driving me crazy right out of my mind...” In other words the song is about going crazy, confused by too many voices and the drink, so you better call 911. A typical theme of the band was to get drunk and party such as ‘Nothing to Lose’ or ‘Deadline’.

The opening track, ‘Demolition Boys’ is one of the best songs with a fabulous rhythm and raucous chorus, “things used to be different for me, till I heard the noise, demolition boys, demolition boys...” The riff is killer all the way and a prime example of aggressive 80s metal.

Other great tracks are ‘Not for Sale’ and ‘Take It All Away’. The latter song features an infectious chorus with harmonies that are well executed. The verses have some interesting lyrics; “One day you're up, next day you're down, Nothing you can do but just stay around, Trying to do your best, hoping they're impressed, But can you hurry up 'cause you wanna know who's next... they’re gonna take it all away.” Once again it is about standing up to the men, I assume, who are always trying to take from you and trying to make you be something you are not. Girl Power.

‘Midnight Ride’ is another highlight with a catchy chorus with repeated words that stick in your head. There are no terrible songs with everything turned up to 10 and rocking hard with attitude and flashy melodic metal grooves.

Overall the album was a solid start to the band but the followup was the brilliant “Hit and Run” and it never got better than this. “Demolition” has a lot of great metal and is worth a listen as one of the early NWOBHM albums.

GIRLSCHOOL Hit and Run

Album · 1981 · NWoBHM
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AtomicCrimsonRush
I have all the Girlschool releases from the 80s and I can say without reservation that “Hit and Run” was the best thing they ever did. Every song is killer metal with innovative lead breaks and wonderful singing from Enid, Kim and Kelly. This is the best material that Kelly would contribute to Girlschool before her departure from the band.

I saw a lot of these tracks played in a TV concert on a late night rock TV show and the next day I was in the record store buying the vinyl album. I had been waiting for an all girl band to kick some serious butt with distorted guitars and melodic singing; it was the ideal band in my teen years. I had grown up with the raucous legend Suzi Quatro and the less heavy The Runaways who were pioneers of girl metal. Girlschool took it to the next level with intense riffs and shout out loud choruses. Kelly was a master on guitar and her voice was sultry but defiant. It was love at first sight for me when I saw her on that mini special with leopard skin top and low slung axe around her hips. The band were in their best line up on this second album; Enid Williams was a bassist but had a turn at the softer vocals when needed; Kim McAuliffe was the rhythm guitar who sung some songs but took over later as lead vocalist when Kelly departed; Denise Dufort stayed hidden behind her drums but was a real rebel off stage; and the incomparable lead vocalist, lead guitarist, Kelly Johnson, was always at her best during these early years of the band.

The album begins with the glorious chugging guitar that sounds like a car engine starting up and then revving into high gear and then the drums pound in and we are on our way with a grinding Motorhead style riff. Kelly is extraordinary, singing with attitude and with clean female vocals that hit you like a ton of bricks; “Speeding down the motorway, Let slow life pass us by, Another mile another day, some action in our lives, We're on our way, Living for today, C'mon let's go (Let’s go!)” The chorus, as was the trademark for the band, was raucous shouting designed to rev up any crowd. There is a crunching scratchy guitar rhythm that mimics the drum patterns as the guitars continue to rev like motorcars. The second verse is pure 80s metal, aggressive and focussed on pressing the pedal to the metal; “Engines screaming red hot rage, We're gonna reach an all time high, Speed crazed racer rip my mind, 'Cause you know you're gonna hit the sky” Kelly’s vocals are divine when she tears out these rockers. Denise is drumming her heart out throughout this metal banging classic. Brilliant.

Kelly was also capable of softer vocals such as on ‘The Hunter’ that was always a highlight on this album. It features a ‘Born to be Wild’ style riff and tempo. The lyrics are suggestive and sultry; “Tracking her down, with a dream kind of smile, Moving up closer....but something doesn’t feel right, touching her skin... you wonder if it’s all right and how did this begin, The Hunter...” The chorus is sung in whispers with an echo. The lead break is Kelly burning it up with very bluesy lead licks and some driving bass rhythms.

Other highlights are ‘Following the Crowd’ with a very strong drum beat and hypnotic groove. The title track is the powerful hit single with some awesome verses that stay in the head; “I was out in the cold, Alone in the night, How could I carry on? Felt so empty inside, All you gave me were promises, Nothing better than lies, Hit and run!” The single charted fairly well but they were never a singles band, though it did better than a lot of their previous singles it is fair to say.

I was always a fan of ‘Back to Start’ which is the slowest track but it has some fabulous guitar licks and one of the best lead breaks on the album. The lyrics are more thoughtful and sung with clean vocals from Enid; “Looking forward for my future, never could refuse, trying to find my motivation... nothing left for me, all I’m able to see, is I need some time, because I made up my mind, I’m back to start”. Love the way she sings this with depth and feeling.

‘Kick it Down’ is a fun song that just rocks along at a moderate pace with very distorted guitars crashing keeping a driving beat. The lyrics are again about standing up to the system and people who are against you; “Tired of people telling you what to do, Kick down the door still I gotta prove to you, I got the safe on my own, but I must get off my pride, You must keep on going till you reach the other side, Tell you what I'm going to do Kick it down!” The lead break is very good again with some fret melting licks.

‘Tush’ is a fun rocking cover version of the classic that many bands have covered and this sounds like the ZZ Top version. 'Im Your Victim' has some good melodic metal passages. 'Watch Your Step' has a memorable chorus and very cool metal guitars in the lead breaks. There is not a bad song on this.

One of the most popular Girlschool tracks is the raucous crazy ‘Yeah Right’ that always appeared in concert. The filmclip even featured Motorhead’s drummer appearing in ladies clothing, waving a rolling pin in the spoken section that mocks parental advice, with the standard teenage answer, and goes like this; “And don't forget, don't stop out too late again tonight... (yeah right)... I'm warning ya’...(yeah right)...And don't drink too much....(Yeah Right!)” The shout on the last part obviously means Girlschool are planning to do the opposite of the motherly advice. It is fun and has some very heavy guitars. Enid sings it very well and she is great on bass on this too. The verses basically explain the theme of rebelling against parents; “Hanging round the bar never getting very far, gonna let my sorrows drown, Leaning on the wall, 'till I start to fall, gonna get the vodka down, Better understand, gotta get it while I can, gonna have some fun tonight, I've done it all before but I still want more, gonna carry on til it's light, And they're always telling me, You can't do that, you can't do that...” This would be a running theme of Girlschool echoing the distrust and misery of their childhood years driving them to the rock scene, similar to The Runaways in many respects who also sung about leaving home despite parents pleading not to (listen to them on ‘Born to be Bad’ for a heart wrenching look at teenage runaways). I think Girlschool just wanted to have fun and rock hard and they did it without listening to what they should or should not be doing.

The last track on the vinyl version is the brilliant ‘Future Flash’ with a relentless guitar riff and Kelly beautifully elegant on vocals; “like a fish out of water, a scaly skin... don’t believe what they tell you, it’s only a lie, but you shouldn’t have to fight, live and let die, out to get you, they’re coming our way, out to get you!” I always loved these lyrics and I think many teens like me in the 80s, could relate to them. The lead break is scorching where Kelly performs hammer ons and speed licks to perfection. The refrain is interesting with Kelly whispering, “rock and roll rat race... they lower their voices to make us feel sad...” The ending of the song is backmasked vocals and it sounds bizarre and compelled me to play the vinyl backwards to try and hear what they are saying; and they are singing to Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ song; “we are Siamese if you please, We are Siamese if you don’t please.” As the ending continues with strange screaming guitars and choral harmonies there is another backmasked message. I checked it out and it’s Kelly saying, “and there’s only one thing I can say about all this and that’s bollocks!” well, I tend to disagree, Kelly, this album is far from that.

It is a lot of fun to listen to on a Friday night cranked up to 10. Every track is fantastic with some of the best girl metal I have ever heard. The Cd version now has a plethora of extra tracks that are part of the greatest collecton found on most compilations including the quintessential "Girlschool Collection" anthology, such as 'Take It All Away', 'Midnight Ride', 'Race With the Devil' and 'Emergency'; all hugely popular for the band. In conclusion, it is brilliant 80s metal from the NWOBHM. Girlschool did everything right on this classic.

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