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Music / Joan Jett

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"I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby!"

Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin, September 22, 1958 in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania) is an originator, an innovator, and a visionary. As the leader of the hard-rocking Blackhearts, she's had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top 40 singles, including the classics "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," and "Crimson and Clover." She sits at the head of her own independent label, Blackheart Records. Jett has acted in movies and television, including 1987's Light Of Day and a memorable cameo in Repo! The Genetic Opera; and in a Tony-nominated Broadway musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She has appeared on such acclaimed television shows as Oprah (the last season) and Law & Order. As a producer, she has overseen albums by Bikini Kill, Circus Lupus, as well as The Germs' LA punk masterpiece, GI.

Her music has become a permanent force in mainstream culture. Carrie Underwood sings a parody of "I Hate Myself for Loving You" as the theme for NBC's Sunday Night Football, and her music is heard in countless films and TV shows including Easy A, Kick-Ass, The Runaways, Baby Mama, and many more.

Since co-founding The Runaways, the pioneering all-girl punk quintet, at age 15, Jett's determination and drive have kept her in the public eye. Jett was able to see her story told in The Runaways, the film based on (lead singer of The Runaways) Cherie Currie's book Neon Angel, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett, and her fellow A-lister Dakota Fanning as Currie. Jett was close to the project: she served as an executive producer.

The two discs of the Greatest Hits set, meanwhile, present twenty blazing tracks from Jett's three-decade-plus career. It's a comprehensive look at one of rock's most iconic figures. Of course, the hits collection was released through Jett's own Blackheart Records, a label she founded with long time songwriting partner and producer Kenny Laguna, in 1980 - which made her the first female artist to own and operate an independent record company.

Blackheart Records is currently home to such up-and-coming groups as San Antonio-based female threesome Girl in A Coma (Both Before I'm Gone, Trio B.C., Adventures in Coverland) and Los Angeles' pop-punk trio the Dollyrots (Because I'm Awesome, A Little Messed Up). The label continues to add new artists to its roster.

Jett and the Blackhearts continuously tour across the globe to throngs of adoring fans. Joan Jett has spent her lifetime breaking barriers and challenging expectations - this is, after all, a woman who is both a spokesperson for PETA and a devoted supporter of the US Military. She's fought hard for all of her historic accomplishments, yet she remains humble and appreciative.

"I've had a blessed career," she says. "I consider myself so lucky to have been able to do things my own way."


  • Joan Jett (1980)
  • Bad Reputation (1981) - re-issue of Joan Jett on a bigger label
  • I Love Rock 'n' Roll (1981)
  • Album (1983)
  • Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth (1984)
  • Good Music (1986)
  • Up Your Alley (1988)
  • The Hit List (1990)
  • Notorious (1991)
  • Pure and Simple (1994)
  • Evil Stig (1995) - recorded with The Gits
  • 1979 (1995) - fan club only album
  • Naked (2004) - Japan only
  • Sinner (2006)
  • Unvarnished (2013)
  • Change-up (2021)

Associated Tropes:

  • '80s Hair: Sported this look towards the end of the decade.
  • Alliterative Name: Joan Jett.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Joan has refused to state one way or another what her sexuality is, although several members of her band The Runaways have claimed she was sexually involved with Cherie Currie. In 2018, when asked about an LGBT festival refusing to show her documentary, she points out that she constantly wears a labrys and has female symbols tattooed all over her, which is as close to a coming out as we have.
  • Artist and the Band: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are a hard rock band Jett formed after her first band The Runaways broke up in 1979.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Her hair is usually fairly short, rarely going past her shoulders at its longest.
  • Cover Version: A lot of her output with the Blackhearts is made up of covers, not that we're complaining.
  • Cultural Rebel: One of the first prominent female hard rockers.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Arguable example - Jett is known for wearing all-black clothes to the point that it can become an Iconic Outfit, but this is more to reinforce her image than to actually denote, y'know, evil and stuff. She's said to be very amicable and kind-hearted in real life.
  • Determinator: See the Start My Own entry below.
  • Even the Girls Want Her
  • Friend to All Living Things: She's a vegan and animal rights supporter.
  • Guttural Growler: She's famous for her gravelly, raspy voice, both while singing and speaking generally.
  • Heavy Meta: "I Love Rock 'n' Roll".
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: And how!
    • Although she has since switched to pleather due to her support of animal rights.
  • Iconic Outfit: Leather vest, black eyeliner, black hair, leather pants, and tattoos.
  • Ironic Echo: From "Victim of Circumstance": "I'm just a victim of a bad reputation, I've got no chance to shake it!"
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Is the proud owner of several shelter cats.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: Joan leading The Blackhearts.
  • Nice Girl: She even says people find it shocking when they find out how much more subdued she is in real life, compared to her stage image.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Light of Day.
  • Ode to Apathy: She wrote a song called "Bad Reputation" about a woman who doesn't care about her bad reputation and so doesn't attempt to improve it.
  • Older Than They Look: She was born in 1958, but doesn't look past her forties.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Kenny Laguna, her long-time producer and co-founder of Blackheart Records. Joan is also godmother to his daughter, whom she has also worked with.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Her signature look.
  • Rearrange the Song: All the songs she's ever covered become punk-hard-rock. And it's awesome.
    • When she starred as Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show, the character was modified from a perky 50s burlesque girl to a tough punk drifter. This lead to, among other things, Columbia's tap dance interlude in "The Time Warp" being replaced by her reaching into the orchestra pit to grab an electric guitar and shredding an improvised solo.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The album title Evil Stig.
  • Stage Name:
    • Born Joan Marie Larkin
    • The name Larkin is derived from an old Irish name meaning "fierce."
  • Start My Own: Her single "I Love Rock-'n'-Roll" was rejected by 23 different record labels. So, she and Kenny Laguna formed Blackheart Records, and her career took off.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: It's occurred sometimes, such as with "I Need Somebody".
  • Textless Album Cover: Album.
  • The Lad-ette: Famously so. She's known for her short hair, dressing like a biker, having numerous tattoos, and getting on stage swearing like a sailor while playing badass riffs like it's nobody's business.
  • Uncommon Time: The chorus of "I Love Rock and Roll" is missing its last beat.