Kelly Johnson, original lead guitarist of Girlschool, passed away on 15th July. She had been suffering from spinal cancer for the last six years.

Joining Girlschool in 1978, Kelly was a face in the classic line-up alongside Kim McAuliffe (rhythm guitar, vocals), Enid Williams (bass, vocals) and Denise Dufort (drums). The band was an integral and major force in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and were one of the first all female bands to break through into the hard rock mainstream.

They toured heavily with Motorhead, the friendship resulting in a collaboration with Motorhead under the name Headgirl for the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" EP. Both bands appeared on the lead track "Please Don't Touch" and covered each other's songs, Girlschool choosing "Bomber" and Motorhead picking "Emergency".

Kelly originally left Girlschool in 1984 after recording the band's fourth album, "Play Dirty", to live in Los Angeles for the next ten years. She rejoined in 1993 and moved back to the U.K. In 2000, she decided to quit the music business for good after recording her final album with Girlschool, "Not That Innocent: 21st Anniversary" (2001), though always remained a close friend to the band.