Legendary punk rock producer Kim Fowley dead at 75

Story highlights

Kim Fowley is perhaps best know for his work with "The Runaways"

Joan Jett left the band and went onto success with her band "The Blackhearts"

CNN  — 

Best known for launching the 1970’s all-girl punk rock band the Runaways, producer and manager Kim Fowley has died. He was 75.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kim Fowley,” independent music publisher Peer Music announced on its website Thursday.

“With a career in the music business spanning over fifty years, Fowley was a singularly unique figure in the realms of rock history.”

Fowley worked with a wide range of artists, including Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Modern Lovers, Blue Cheer, Kiss and Helen Reddy.

But he will be remembered in the rock and roll history books for helping form the California punk band, the Runaways.

That all-female group, which featured Joan Jett, released four albums in the late 1970s. One of their hit songs was “Cherry Bomb.”

The band, which became an overnight sensation, broke up in 1979.

“There was a lurid quality to what he was trying to do” with “The Runaways,” Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis told CNN.

He said Fowley’s group of “the teenage girls being dangled out there as jailbait turned out to be really inspiring. What started out as a joke, became really serious.”

Jett and her post-Runaways group, the Blackhearts, are being inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Remembrances started pouring in on Twitter.

Joan Jett tweeted “Kim was a friend, he taught me so much. I am very sad.”

Heavy metal singer Sebastian Bach tweeted “RIP my friend Kim Fowley the King of the Night Time World, a true Rock and Roll character.”

Ariel Pink, a singer-songwriter, tweeted “rip Kim Fowley. No words. Prayers go out to his wife, kara. His music, life, and spirit will continue to be an inspiration.”

British actor and musician Michael Des Barres tweeted “Kim Fowley – magician, manipulator & lover of rock ‘n roll. I learned & laughed & was in awe of him for over 40 years.”

In recent times, Billboard Magazine reported that Fowley was suffering from bladder cancer and “in an interesting turn of events, former Runaways singer Cherie Curie cared for Fowley during his fight with cancer.”

Billboard reported “their reconciliation came in 2008 following years of legal battles over royalties and harsh verbal tirades in the press.”

Fowley was known as a Los Angeles Sunset Strip character, often dressing in outrageous suits and pitching his latest project.

“He would do anything to seize the moment, he was kind of indestructible and you have to admire that,” said DeCurtis.

“It’s necessary for a band to have charisma, and it’s necessary for a band to have a Kim Fowley in there someplace. The behind-the-scenes people are as much a part of rock ‘n’ roll as the guys onstage … Kim Fowley is a necessary evil” he told the San Diego Reader in 2012.

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