Joan Jett dominated the 80s radio airwaves with the fiercest female vocals of anyone at the time.
With red hot guitar riffs and buckets of attitude, Jett is known as The Godmother of Punk. Some even call her the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll.
But where is Joan Jett Now?
Let’s find out!
The Story of Joan Jett
Joan Jett is a singer-songwriter and guitarist born in 1958. Jett grew up in east coast suburbia until her family moved to California in the early 70s. Her proximity to Los Angeles helped nurture Jett’s growing interest in becoming a rock star. Before then, authority figures told Jett that girls don’t make it in music.
She told these naysayers to shove it by co-forming an all-girl rock band, The Runaways, in 1975. The Runaways quickly made their mark on the LA rock scene. The teenage girl band opened for The Ramones, The Who, Cheap Trick, and many more.
Four years and five albums later, the band imploded. Joan Jett and fell band member Lita Ford went on to successful solo careers.
Jett’s rocky transition from Runaways’ guitarist to fronting her band proved fruitful. Joan Jett and The Blackhearts’ prime years were 1981-1983. With her I Love Rock N’ Roll cover, Jett became an instant icon.
Two of her thirteen albums are certified Platinum. In 2015, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Joan Jett’s Best Known Songs
Bad Reputation is Joan Jett’s call to the wild. It’s a declaration. Released in 1980, Jett wrote the hit shortly after splitting with The Runaways. Jett was tired of hearing the gossip about her being a rebellious rocker! Bad Reputation is certified Gold and remains one of Jett’s signature songs.
I Love Rock ‘N Roll is Joan Jett’s most famous hit. The tune spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard charts. Jett’s music video for I Love Rock ‘N Roll helped anchor the image of Joan Jett as a rock icon.
Another cover that put her on the map was Crimson and Clover. Tommy James and the Shondells became superstars when they first wrote and released the song in 1968. Joan Jett’s early 80s rendition gives the song a little more oomph.
Heavy guitars paired with her seductive vocal delivery feel like a hot kiss backup up against a wall. The fact that a woman was singing sultry lyrics about another woman scored points with rockers worldwide.
I Hate Myself For Loving You became a head bangin’ hit in 1988. The song was released on Jett’s sixth studio album and got Jett back in the top ten charts. The lyrics swagger with simple brilliance. I wanna walk but I run back to you – I hate myself for lovin’ you!
Is Jett Still Performing?
Absolutely! Joan Jett is a touring workhorse. She has performed every single year since 1975. She even played three gigs in 2020, one being for health care workers! Joan Jett also dropped a new album on March 25th, 2022.
Joan Jett’s new album, Changeup, is a 25 song acoustic set of her prior work. It’s the unplugged version of Jett if you will. Early reviews from music magazines like NME give it high remarks. Stripped-down versions of loud rock tunes like Cherry Bomb and Bad Reputation provide the lyrics with more time in the sun.
Joan Jett’s 2022 dates start April 8th in Macon, Georgia. In June, she joins Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Poison for a 36 date stadium tour.
Is There a Documentary About Joan Jett?
The 2018 documentary film Bad Reputation is about Joan Jett’s music career. The documentary centers around Joan Jett’s breakthroughs as a female musician in the music business.
Producers interviewed Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Billie Joe Armstrong, and other musicians as fans of Jett. Bad Reputation is streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Joan Jett was a producer for the 2010 narrative biopic The Runaways. Although not a documentary, the film is an attractive piece about how Jett got her start. Kristen Stewart plays Joan Jett, and Dakota Fanning plays her bandmate, Cherie Currie. Michael Shannon stars as their notoriously outrageous band manager Kim Fowley.
Edgeplay is a 2004 documentary about The Runaways. Produced and directed by former Runaways bassist Victory Tshler-Blue, the film did not get the blessing of Joan Jett. She appears only in archival footage.
According to Jett, she did not see the point in airing dirty laundry about her teenage band. Perhaps if Blue had celebrated their triumphs instead, Jett would have agreed to be interviewed.
Does Joan Jett Have Any Original Songs?
Of course! Although most of Joan Jett’s top-charting singles were remakes, Joan Jett has been writing songs since she was fourteen. She was a principal songwriter for The Runaways.
Her most well-known originals from The Runaways are Cherry Bomb, School Days, and Hollywood. The Runaways were a collaborative young band, with Jett credited for 17 of their songs. Jett was always a part of every sing writing effort.
After going solo, Joan Jett recorded over fifty original songs as Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. Fake Friends and You Don’t Know What You’ve got are great examples. And that’s in addition to Bad Reputation, and I Hate Myself For Loving You!
We understand why some may ask if Joan Jett writes any of her music. She does record a ton of covers and is superbly good at it. But she does this because she loves rock ‘n roll! Jett has a hard-rockin’ gifted ability to cover a song and make it her own.
Jett Is Still Fierce
Joan Jett is a force to be reckoned with. She formed a successful all-girl rock band in the mid-70s and has continuously played music from that moment to now. Jett’s new album is proof! She’s a vegan powerhouse in her mid-sixties with no plans to retire. And she mentors female musicians. Joan Jett simply rocks!
The better question to ask about Jett now is how she accomplishes all that she does? And what’s her exercise routine, because she looks great!
What do you think of Joan Jett? Have you seen her in concert lately?