Let’s again go back to the 80s – Singer/Lead Guitarist Kelly Johnson of Girlschool
Today, we take women in Metal for granted. But in the 80s, when Metal started making a comeback with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Girlschool was a prominent force in that genre. Kelly Johnson was the lead guitarist and lead singer of Girlschool.
Girlschool never did get big. They did a lot of touring with bands like Motörhead, but never did score that high selling album. After four albums in the early 80s with Girlschool, Kelly Johnson left.
Their music by today’s standards sounds dated, and we’re not going to lie and say it stands the test of time. However, we will say that Girlschool deserves a lot of credit. Like we said earlier, today, we take women in Metal for granted. But it wasn’t always that way. Only Lita Ford and Warlock sold well in the 80s. The rest of the Metal bands with female members didn’t fare that well unfortunately.
Would the music sound dated if it was produced better? It’s hard to tell. Their music never did seem to have top notch production qualities.
They never did sell well in the States. They never cracked the Billboard charts. Their 1981 album Hit and Run made Gold in Canada, and it hit number five in the UK, where they’re from.
Kelly Johnson left the band in 1984, after their lighter album Play Dirty which was more hard rock than Metal. They got lighter in an attempt to sell records, but it backfired and they lost their fan base by doing that.
So, she got frustrated and left in early 1984.
She rejoined the band almost ten years later in 1993 and she remained active with them until 1999, which unfortunately, she got diagnosed with cancer.
Kelly Johnson died in 2007 of cancer. Although Girlschool never did get big, we all owe a big thanks to people like Kelly Johnson who paved the way.