ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Rockers fell out with Gerry over ‘Joan Jett’ plan

RECORD label owner Gerry Bron played a pivotal role in the British rock scene in the1970s and 80s.

Among the bands he signed were Uriah Heap, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Motorhead... and Girlschool.

And the all-female heavy metal band are being celebrated with the new Cherry Red Records boxset The School Report 1978-2008, released next Friday.

The Jewish record label boss, who died in June, 2012, was blown away by Girlschool when they auditioned for him in December, 1979. He was impressed with their stage presence and musicianship.

Their first album for his Bronze Records label, Demolition, reached number 28 in the charts in June, 1980, but it was the following year’s St Valentine's Day Massacre EP, recorded with Motorhead as Headgirl, which saw them reach number five in the singles chart and appear on Top of the Pops.

Bron had had the brainwave to get the two bands to release an EP where they would cover each other’s songs as well as Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ song Please Don’t Touch.

Just a couple of months later, their second Bronze album, Hit and Run, reached number five.

The 1982 album Screaming Blue Murder reached number 27 before they had a falling out with Bron over his idea to turn the group into the British version of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, who had topped the charts with I Love Rock N Roll.

Girlschool were against recording his choice of song 1-2-3-4 Rock and Roll.

According to music expert John Tucker’s sleevenotes for the new boxset: “The band were less than enamoured with this approach, and refused to finish the recording, leaving it to the studio team to complete the track.”

Drummer Denise Dufort said: “Well, they wanted us to be more commercial, and they tried to change us. And we were adamant, like ‘no way’. The way we were was the way we were, and we didn’t want to be like Joan Jett.

“At the time we kind of did like the song, and Doug Smith and everybody thought it would make us really big in America. They also wanted us to record an album in that vein and do it in LA with Spencer Proffer.”

With the relationship soured, they released one more Bronze album, Play Dirty, in 1983 — but it only reached number 66.

The failure of Bron’s luxury air taxi service, Executive Express, left Bronze Records in a precarious financial position, which saw Girlschool leave the label.

Girlschool visited Israel in March, 1983, for four gigs at Kolnoa Dan, Tel Aviv.

Tracey Lamb, a founding member of all-female band Rock Goddess, who replaced bassist Gil Weston on the trip, wrote on Facebook: “Beautiful memories.”

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