I Love Rock N' Roll
“I think there's nothing better than seeing a three-chord straight up rock 'n' roll band in your face with sweaty music and three minute good songs.” Joan Jett
Promoted by the press as the "Godmother of Punk" and the "Original Riot Grrrl," Joan Jett first rose to fame in the 1970s as the founding member of the all-girl rock band “The Runaways.” Following the band's split up in 1979, Jett went solo and is best known for her hit "I Love Rock N' Roll" (1982). Along with her backup band “The Blackhearts,” she also has recorded such popular songs as "Bad Reputation" (1981), "Crimson and Clover" (1982), "Do You Wanna Touch Me" (1982), "Light of Day" (1987), "I Hate Myself for Loving You" (1988), "Little Liar" (1988), "Love is All Around" (1996), and "A.C.D.C" (2006).
This Grammy-nominated singer, whose music has been featured in over 50 movies and in several television commercials, was inducted into the WAMA (Washington Area Music Association) Hall of Fame in 1993, became the first inductee into the Long Island Music Hall Of Fame held on October 15, 2006, at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, ranked #32 on VH1's “100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll,” and ranked #66 on VH1's “100 Greatest Hard Rock Artists,” along with “The Blackhearts.”
The 5' 5½'' brown-eyed, black-haired rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer, whose trade marks are her Gibson Melody Maker and leather pants, is listed as one of Blender Magazine's “Hottest Women of Rock,” ranked #54 on VH1's “100 Sexiest Artists,” and was chosen as one of People Magazine's “100 Most Beautiful People in the World” in May 2007.
"The triangle on my chest represents the divinity of myself and others. The band around my arm represents the creative essence of life in a swirl of positive and negative forces." Joan Jett (explaining the symbolism of two of her tattoos)
She is also an actress and appeared as Columbia in the Broadway production of "The Rocky Horror Show" (2000). She also appeared in the films "Light of Day" (1987), "Boogie Boy" (1998), "By Hook or by Crook" (2001), "The Sweet Life" (2003), and "Repo! The Genetic Opera" (2008).
On television, she could be seen in an episode of "Highlander," "Walker, Texas Ranger," and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." She will play small roles in the upcoming films "Multiple Sarcasms," a drama starring Timothy Hutton and Mira Sorvino, and "Lock and Roll Forever," a comedy featuring Lucas Grabeel and Brad Dourif. She reportedly will be portrayed by Kristen Stewart in the upcoming film "The Runaways."
Original Riot Grrrl
Childhood and Family:
Born at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 1958, Joan Marie Larkin moved to Wheaton, Maryland, in 1967. She dropped out of Wheaton High School when she was 15 to pursue her music career.
Moving to Los Angeles, California, Jett attended Taft High School in Woodland Hills. After her parents divorced, she changed her last name to Jett, her mother's maiden name. She currently lives in Long Beach, Long Island, New York.
"I never made any kind of statement about my personal life on any level. I never made any proclamations. So I don't know where people are getting that from." Joan Jett
Although frequently rumored to being homosexual, Jett has never expressly stated her sexual orientation.
“Many troops would come to our shows and we developed relationships with the commanding officers of the various bases and they would just invite us on and we would meet the troops and sign autographs and they were wonderful.” Joan Jett (on touring military bases in the 80's)
Jett is a vegan and has been a consistent supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces. She has toured for the USO for over 20 years and visited the Pentagon on May 15, 2006.
Godmother of Punk
Dropping out high school at age 15 to pursue her music career, Joan Jett formed a teenage, all-girl rock band called "The Runaways" with drummer Sandy West in late 1975. They were joined by Micki Steele (who was later replaced), Jackie Fox (later replaced by Laurie McAllister), Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie (later replaced by Vicki Blue).
“I just wish more people would know of us and of her because Sandy was the first musician I ever played with, period, and I believe she had a lot to do with shaping the guitar player that I became.” Joan Jett (on “The Runaways” band member, the late Sandy West)
At one of their gigs, the band was discovered by Kim Fowley, a Los Angeles record producer who would become their manager. After getting signed with Mercury Records, the band recorded five LPs and toured around the world as the opening act for Cheap Trick, Van Halen, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
During their short-lived career, the band, who were popular in Europe, Japan, Asia, Australia, Canada and South America, was best known for the songs "Cherry Bomb," "Queens of Noise," "Neon Angels (On the Road to Ruin)," and "Born to Be Bad." The band disbanded in spring of 1979.
“There was a very brief moment after my first band, the Runaways, broke up that I contemplated going into the military.” Joan Jett
In the early 1980s, Jett moved to Long Beach, New York, to begin a solo career. She collaborated with songwriter/producer/manager Kenny Laguna and independently released her self-titled solo debut in Europe on May 17, 1980, through their new Blackheart Records label. The album sold relatively well, prompting its re-release a year later as "Bad Reputation" (1981) on Boardwalk Records. It would be re-issued in 1999 on CD with several bonus tracks and a re-mastered version of the original album.
Jett formed a backup band called "The Blackhearts," whose members included bassist John Doe, local bass player Gary Ryan, guitarist Eric Ambel, and drummer Danny "Furious" O'Brien. They recorded a new album titled "I Love Rock N' Roll" for Boardwalk Records. It spawned the hit title track, which in the first half of 1982 was #1 on the Billboard charts for seven weeks in a row. It is now Billboard’s #28 song of all time. Jett subsequently embarked on sellout tours with The Police, Queen, and Aerosmith, among others.
Along with her backup band "The Blackhearts," Jett released the albums "Album" (1983) and "Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth" (1984). She also recorded "Good Music" (1986), which featured appearances by The Beach Boys, The Sugarhill Gang and singer Darlene Love, and "Up Your Alley" (1988), which went multi-platinum and peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 album charts with the single "I Hate Myself for Loving You" reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and being nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
Around this time, Jett and the Blackhearts became the first rock band to perform a series of shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway, breaking the record at the time for the fastest ticket sell-out ever. She also co-wrote Alice Cooper's song "House of Fire," which appeared on her 1989 album "Trash."
Jett, who appeared in the 1981 live concert film "Urgh! A Music War," performing "Bad Reputation" with the Blackhearts at The Ritz in New York City, made her acting debut in 1987 co-starring with Gena Rowlands and Michael J. Fox in the Paul Schrader film "Light of Day." She has also appeared in the independent film "Boogie Boy" (1998).
Entering the 1990s, Jett and the Blackhearts released the albums "The Hit List" (1990), "Notorious" (1991), "I Love Rock'N Roll 92" (1992), "Do You Wanna Touch Me" (1993), as well as the compilation albums "Do You Wanna Touch Me" (1993) and "Flashback" (1994). She also recorded the albums "Pure and Simple" (1994), "Evil Stig" (1995; with "The Gits"), and "1979" (1995), a Fan Club only album.
“When I find out performers' political persuasions, it taints my feelings for them. So there is always concern that you'll lose fans.” Joan Jett
Meanwhile, Jett produced the bands "Circus Lupus" in 1992 and "Bikini Kill" in 1994. She also appeared on "Ellen" and the television show "Highlander: The Series."
The new millennium saw Jett appear in the Broadway production of "The Rocky Horror Show" in the role of Columbia and host a showcase of new film and video shorts or Maryland Public Television from 2000 to 2003. She also played News Interviewee in the film "By Hook or by Crook" (2001).
In 2004, Jett and the Blackhearts released the album "Naked." In 2006, the album "Sinner" was released. She also appeared on the 2006 Warped Tour and embarked on a fall 2006 tour with Eagles of Death Metal. She opened eight American shows on Aerosmith's 2007 World Tour and opened for Def Leppard in August 2008.
Recently, Jett made a cameo appearance in Darren Lynn Bousman's "Repo! The Genetic Opera" and guest-starred in an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Jett reportedly will be portrayed by Kristen Stewart in the upcoming film "The Runaways."
“I would love to do more acting. It's just a matter of waiting for something to come along that I love.” Joan Jett