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Joan Jett

ON AIR
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Bio

By playing pure and simple rock & roll without making an explicit issue of her gender, Joan Jett became a figurehead for several generations of female rockers. Jett's brand of rock & roll is loud and stripped-down, yet with overpowering hooks -- a combination of the Stones' tough, sinewy image and beat, AC/DC chords, and glam rock hooks. As the numerous covers she has recorded show, she adheres both to rock tradition and breaks with it -- she plays classic three-chord rock & roll, yet she also loves the trashy elements (in particular, Gary Glitter) of it as well, and she plays with a defiant sneer. From her first band, the Runaways, through her hit-making days in the '80s with the Blackhearts right until her unexpected revival in the '90s, she hasn't changed her music, yet she's kept her quality control high, making one classic single ("I Love Rock 'n Roll") along the way. Jett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 12 years old. By the time she was 15, she had formed her first band and was performing around town. Kim Fowley, a Los Angeles record producer, discovered the band at one of their gigs and became their manager; soon, he renamed the all-female group the Runaways and secured them a contract with Mercury Records. The band released three albums that never had much commercial success in America, yet were very popular in Japan; the group was popular in both the Los Angeles hard rock and punk scenes, which led to Jett's production of the Germs' first record, (GI). The Runaways group broke up in 1980 and Jett moved to New York to begin a solo career. Teaming up with producer/manager Kenny Laguna, Jett independently released her self-titled debut album in 1980 in America, since no labels were interested in signing her. The record was a more traditional rock & roll record than the punky Runaways, yet it retained her previous band's defiant attitude. The record sold very well for an independent release, leading to a contract with Boardwalk Records, who reissued the album under the title Bad Reputation; it soon climbed to number 51 on the American charts. Jett formed the Blackhearts between Bad Reputation and her second album, 1981's I Love Rock-n-Roll; the group included guitarist Ricky Byrd, bassist Gary Ryan, and drummer Lee Crystal. Released at the end of 1981, I Love Rock-n-Roll became her greatest success, sending her into the Top Ten. Originally the B-side of an Arrows single, the title track was an enormous success, spending seven weeks at number one in the spring of 1982. The follow-up single, a version of Tommy James & the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover," went Top Ten as well; a single of Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)," taken from the Bad Reputation album, reached number 20 in the summer of 1982. Album, released in 1983, went gold yet had no hits that compared with either "I Love Rock 'n Roll" or "Crimson and Clover." Jett starred in Paul Schrader's 1987 film Light of Day, which featured the Top 40 title song, yet she didn't have another Top Ten hit until 1988, when "I Hate Myself for Loving You," taken from the Up Your Alley album, hit number eight; the album became her second platinum record. After the album's success, her career had another slow period, with 1990's all-covers album The Hit List making it to number 36 and 1991's Notorious failing to chart. Between Notorious and 1994's Pure and Simple, a new generation of female rockers came of age and everyone from hard alternative rockers like L7 to the minimalist riot grrrl punk rockers like Bikini Kill claimed Jett and the Runaways as an influence. As a consequence, Pure and Simple received more press and positive reviews than any of her albums since the mid-'80s. In 1995, Jett recorded the live album Evilstig with the remaining members of the Gits, a Seattle punk rock band whose lead singer, Mia Zapata, was raped and murdered in 1993. Jett reunited with the Blackhearts for the 1999 album Fetish, and in 2006 Sinner, a return to her punk roots (and ten of whose 14 songs were found on the 2004 Japanese-only record Naked), came out. The next few years were spent touring with spots on the Warped Tour and as an opening act for bands like Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and Green Day. When Jett returned with a new album, it was with touring guitarist Dougie Needles, longtime drummer Thommy Price, and even longer-time associate Kenny Laguna all on board. 2013's Unvarnished represented a stunning return to the form of the early days of the Blackhearts and featured a song produced and co-written with Dave Grohl. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
Joan Jett

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    14 songs

    On Air

    Unvarnished

    12 songs

    On Air

    Pure and Simple

    10 songs

    On Air

    Notorious

    11 songs

    On Air

    Up Your Alley

    10 songs

    On Air

    The Hit List

    10 songs

    On Air

    Good Music

    15 songs

    On Air

    I Love Rock N' Roll [Blackheart Records/Bonus Tracks]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Fit To Be Tied: Great Hits By Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

    12 songs

    On Air

    I Love Rock 'N' Roll

    20 songs

    On Air

    I Love Rock N Roll [33 1/3 Anniversary Edition]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation [LP]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Unvarnished [LP]

    25 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation

    15 songs

    On Air

    I Love Rock N' Roll [Blackheart Records/Bonus Tracks]

    17 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation [Bonus Tracks] [Enhanced]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Fetish

    14 songs

    On Air

    Sinner

    15 songs

    On Air

    I Love Rock N' Roll [Blackheart Records/Bonus Tracks]

    16 songs

    On Air

    Naked

    10 songs

    On Air

    Up Your Alley

    11 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation [Limited Edition]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation

    14 songs

    On Air

    Fetish

    20 songs

    On Air

    Bad Reputation [Bonus Tracks] [Enhanced]

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Joan Jett

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   I Love Rock N' Roll
  3.   Crimson and Clover by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  4.   Dirty Deeds by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  5.   Do Ya Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
  6.   Love Me Two Times
  7.   Tush by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  8.   Love Hurts by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  9.   Coney Island Whitefish by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  10.   Fetish
  11.   Louie, Louie by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  12.   You Can't Get Me
  13.   Handyman by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  14.   Summertime Blues by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  15.   Spinster
  16.   Everyday People
  17.   Fake Friends by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  18.   Secret Love by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  19.   We're Not Gonna Take It
  20.   Riddles
  21.   Good Music by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  22.   Jezebel
  23.   Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)
  24.   I Know What I Know by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  25.   Doing Alright with the Boys
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Joan Jett

    On Air

    Denis Leary & Elizabeth Gillies: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    Ladies That Rock

    On Air

    Sing-A-Long Songs

    On Air

    Singing In The Shower

    On Air

    101 Greatest Cover Songs of All Time

    On Air

    Cheap Trick: DNA

    On Air

    Covered

    On Air

    Classic Rock

    On Air

    '80s Hits

    On Air

    '80s #1 Hits

    On Air

    '80s Rock

    On Air

    The Greatest Years in Music

    On Air

    Classic Hits

    On Air

    Party Rock

    On Air

    AC/DC: DNA

    On Air

    Kids Classic Hits

    On Air

    '80s, '90s & Today

    On Air

    The Ramones: DNA


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