“There had been other all-girl groups, but none of them meant shit compared to Girlschool, one of the all-time great British rock bands, male or female.”
So writes Mick Wall, in his new feature on the band, available in issue 246 of Classic Rock. It tells the story of a group who came across as a genuine gang, four girls who weren’t packaged by some record company to represent something they weren’t. They could live with anyone else, entirely on their own merits. “I got them on the tour in the first place and everybody else went like, ‘Ugh, girls,’” said Lemmy. “And I said, ‘fuck you, they’re as good as you.” He was right.
Below, Mick chooses his 10 favourite Girlschool songs.
Take It All Away (Single, 1989)
Not as heavy as the album version a year later, but this indie release – essentially a cheap demo – already shows all the razor-edged musical charisma that was to become a Girlschool signature.
Demolition Boys (Demolition, 1980)
From its eerie police siren intro to that badmotherfucker guitar riff, it was r-e-a-l. Catchy as VD. No cure sought.
Emergency (Demolition, 1980)
Identical riff (almost) to Demolition Boys, but no one was complaining. This was in the band’s Kelly-in-leatherjacket heyday.
C’Mon Let’s Go (Hit And Run, 1981)
All the ingredients of a rock classic: colossal riff, bones-into-dust drums, fuck-you chorus. Kelly on lead vocals and geetar, Kim her permanent shadow.
Come on! Hit And Run (Hit And Run, 1981)
Kim and Kelly take the boys to school and make them stay late. ‘Say goodbye to the bad times, now I’m free on my own,’ Kelly sings, and you know she means it.
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Bomber (St Valentine’s Day Massacre EP, 1981)
Kelly on co-lead vocals with Lemmy and co-lead guitar with ‘Fast’ Eddie. Which other ‘girl’ band could take on this classic and actually do it better than Motörhead?
Please Don’t Touch (St Valentine’s Day Massacre EP, 1981)
They were on the same label, but nevertheless it was a bold and rather heart-warming move putting Girlschool and Motörhead together for this brassy Johnny Kidd cover.
Play Dirty (Play Dirty, 1983)
Okay, they had obviously overdone it in their love of Pyromania, but only Leppard themselves could have made something as fist-in-the-air good as this anthem.
20th Century Boy (Play Dirty, 1983)
Girlschool did a number of impressive covers during their career, but this is a personal adrenalinhigh favourite. Boys as toys. Geddit?
Screaming Blue Murder (King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Girlschool, 1997)
You had to see Girlschool live if you really wanted to know what the fuss was all about. Recorded in Nashville in 1984, here Kelly and Kim were on fire.
You can read Mick Wall’s Girlschool feature in the latest issue of Classic Rock. Buy it online (opens in new tab) or become a TeamRock+ member to read it right now.
Girlschool: "We weren’t trying to fit in with the guys, we were being ourselves"