Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Week Joan Jett Turned 50

Joan Jett is the coolest person in the world. I say this having seen two Joan Jett and the Blackhearts shows and from my observations about the lack of coolness left in the world (at least in this country). Anyway, she celebrated her 50th birthday on September 22. Most people know her for the 1980's classic song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," but she has had many really good records beyond that one hit. Also, I'm pretty much totally in love with her. And lucky for you I want to share my love of Joan Jett with everyone!

But, um, where do I start? Let's go back to when there was still some rock 'n' roll, somewhere, on the radio and in this country. Actually, much of it was not on the radio in the seventies. First, a band called the Runaways, which included Joan Jett and Lita Ford, formed in 1975. Then there was a guy named Kim Fowley (who I've seen at a bar and is, well, certainly a unique looking dude) and he wanted to make a whole bunch of money. He decides a band of teenage girls singing rock 'n' roll songs while dressed in leather and lingerie may be a good idea. So he takes the band of pretty hot teenage girls and markets them well. And lucky for everyone involved, punk rock had made rock 'n' roll popular again. Then, following Fowley being an ass and a weirdo (who couldn't see that coming) as well as other growing band tensions, the Runaways broke up in 1979.

Cherry Bomb by The Runaways

Joan Jett still wanted to make music, but nobody would take her seriously, still believing her to be a novelty act due to her previous involvement with the Runaways. Not to be kept down, she and a friend created Blackheart Records in order to release her first solo record. The creation of the label out of necessity made Jett the first woman to actually start a label. And it turned out pretty well because her record became a hit. Then she started to have a bunch of hits and became a star. When that cooled off she started to produce records for various bands, but finally returned to creating her own and released Sinner in 2006.

I Love Rock 'n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Crimson & Clover by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Like I said, I've seen Joan Jett and the Blackhearts twice. The first time was while I was in St. Louis for a conference. It was the most energy I've ever felt at a show. For one, the St. Louis Cardinals had won the World Series for the first time in 800 years or something while the show was going on and when the band came out for the encore she announced it to the crowd (the game had been going on while Throwrag, the Eagles of Death Metal and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played). Plus I had a great view of the stage even though the place was packed.

Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
I Love Playin' with Fire by The Runaways
I Love Rock 'n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Crimson and Clover by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Doing All Right with the Boys by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Riddles by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Five by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts


  1. You should talk about how you, me, and albert laid down the law in El Paso to watch Joan Jett. We park how we want to park, and where we want to park.... for life.

  2. I think I will write about that tomorrow. Good idea.

  3. Joan rocks hard, and she still draws because she's always been live and direct with the audience.
    when she was recording in vancouver, my buddy was drum teching the studio- got my album cover autographed... the only other one i have is james brown.
    respect to ms. jett,