Joan Jett

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Joan Jett
Joan Jett 2013.jpg
Jett in 2013
Background information
Birth nameJoan Marie Larkin
Born (1958-09-22) September 22, 1958 (age 60)
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • musician
  • record producer
  • actress
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1975–present
Associated acts

Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin, September 22, 1958) [1] is an American rock singer, songwriter, composer, musician, record producer and occasional actress.


Jett is best known for her work as the frontwoman of her band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and for earlier founding and performing with the Runaways, which recorded and released the hit song "Cherry Bomb". The Blackhearts' version of the song "I Love Rock 'n Roll" was number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in 1982. [2] Jett's other notable hit songs include "Bad Reputation", "Crimson and Clover", "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)", "Light of Day", "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and "Dirty Deeds".

The Runaways American all-female rock band from Los Angeles

The Runaways were an all-female teenage American rock band that recorded and performed in the second half of the 1970s. The band released four studio albums and one live set during its run. Among their best-known songs are "Cherry Bomb", "Hollywood", "Queens of Noise" and a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s "Rock & Roll". Never a major success in the United States, the Runaways became a sensation overseas, especially in Japan, thanks to the hit single "Cherry Bomb".

Cherry Bomb (The Runaways song) song by The Runaways

"Cherry Bomb" is a 1976 punk-influenced hard rock single by the all-female band the Runaways from their self-titled debut album, and is often regarded as the band's signature song. "Cherry Bomb" was also ranked 52nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs. It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart in the U.S.

The Billboard charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States and elsewhere. The results are published in Billboard magazine. Billboard biz, the online extension of the Billboard charts, provides additional weekly charts. There are also Year End charts. The charts may be dedicated to specific genre such as R&B, country or rock, or they may cover all genres. The charts can be ranked according to sales, streams or airplay, and for main song charts such as the Hot 100 song chart, all three pools of data are used to compile the charts. For the Billboard 200 album chart, streams and track sales are included in addition to album sales.

Jett has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. [3] She has three albums that have been certified Platinum or Gold, and has been a feminist icon throughout her career. [4] [5] [6] She has been described as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll and the Godmother of Punk. [7] [8] In 2015, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [9]

A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian pronunciation: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards. Certification is not automatic; for an award to be made, the record label must request certification. The audit is conducted against net shipments after returns, which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct-to-consumer sales and other outlets.

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.

Jett lived in Long Beach, New York, since the late 1970s [10] before moving to Rockville Centre, New York. [11]

Long Beach, New York City in New York, United States

Long Beach is a city in Nassau County, New York. Just south of Long Island, it is on Long Beach Barrier Island, which is the westernmost of the outer barrier islands off Long Island's South Shore. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 33,275. It was incorporated in 1922, and is nicknamed The City By the Sea. The city of Long Beach is surrounded by Reynolds Channel to the north, east and west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

Rockville Centre, New York Village in New York, United States

Rockville Centre, commonly abbreviated as RVC, is an incorporated village located in Nassau County, New York, in the United States. At the time of the 2010 census, the village had a total population of 24,023. It is in the southwestern section of the Town of Hempstead.

Early life

Joan Marie Larkin was born on September 22, 1958, to James Larkin and Dorothy Jett Larkin, [1] at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia (although some sources list her birth date as September 22, 1960 [12] ). She is the eldest of three children. Her father was an insurance salesman and her mother a secretary. [1] Her family was Protestant and attended church but not particularly religious. [13] In 1967, her family moved to Rockville, Maryland, where she attended Randolph Junior High and Wheaton High School. [14] Jett got her first guitar at the age of 14. [15] She took some guitar lessons, but soon quit because the instructor kept trying to teach her folk songs. [16] Her family then moved to West Covina, California, in Los Angeles County, providing Jett the opportunity to pursue her musical interests. Shortly after the move, her parents divorced and she changed her name to Joan Jett, taking her mother's maiden name as her professional and legal name. [17]

Lankenau Medical Center is a 331-bed tertiary care, teaching hospital and research institute in Wynnewood, Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. An FAA-certified helipad is available for medevacs.

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

Wynnewood is a suburban unincorporated community, west of Philadelphia, that straddles Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and Haverford Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was named in 1691 for Dr. Thomas Wynne, William Penn's physician and the first Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Lower Merion Township is the fifth-most-affluent jurisdiction in the United States. Wynnewood is one of many neighborhoods on the historic Pennsylvania Main Line, and is the home of institutions such as Lankenau Hospital, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Palmer Theological Seminary, and Friends' Central School.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

In Los Angeles, Jett's favorite night spot was Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, [18] a venue that provided the glam rock style she loved. [2]

Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco was a widely noted Los Angeles nightclub located at 7561 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip from late 1972 until early 1975. It catered to the glam rock movement.

Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter. Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, ranging from bubblegum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with nontraditional gender roles. "Glitter rock" was another term used to refer to a more extreme version of glam.


The Runaways

Jett became a founding member of the Runaways, alongside drummer Sandy West. Jackie Fox, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie soon joined up to complete the band, creating the classic lineup. While Currie initially fronted the band, Jett shared some lead vocals, played rhythm guitar and wrote or co-wrote a lot of the band's material along with Ford, West and Currie. The band recorded five albums, with Live In Japan becoming one of the biggest-selling imports in US and UK history. The band toured around the world and became an opening act for Cheap Trick, Ramones, Van Halen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They found success abroad, especially in Japan. While touring England with the Runaways in 1976, Jett first heard the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" when she saw Arrows perform it on their weekly UK television series Arrows . [19] In 2010, The Runaways , a movie about Jett's band, was released, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as Currie. [2] [20]

While the Runaways were popular in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and South America, they could not garner the same level of success in the US. [2] [21] After Currie left the band, the band released two more albums with Jett handling the lead vocals: Waitin' for the Night and And Now... The Runaways . Altogether, they produced five albums from 1975 until they disbanded in the spring of 1979. [22]

Soon afterward, Jett produced the Germs' only album, (GI) . [2]

Solo career

In 1979, Jett was in England pursuing a solo career. She recorded three songs there with the Sex Pistols' Paul Cook and Steve Jones, one of which was an early version of Arrows' "I Love Rock 'n' Roll". This version appears on the 1993 compilation album Flashback . [23] Later that year, she returned to Los Angeles, where she began fulfilling an obligation of the Runaways to complete a film which was loosely based on the band's career entitled We're All Crazee Now! Three actresses stood in for the departed band members, including Rainbeaux Smith, who was also a rock drummer. [24] While working on the project, Jett met songwriter and producer Kenny Laguna, who was hired by Toby Mamis to help Jett with writing some tracks for the film. [24] They became friends and decided to work together. Jett relocated to Long Beach, New York, where Laguna was based. The plug was pulled on the project halfway through shooting after Jett fell ill, but in 1984, after she became famous, producers looked for a way to use the footage from the incomplete film. [24] Parts of the original footage of Jett were eventually used in another project, an underground film called DuBeat-Eo, which was produced by Alan Sacks but not commercially released. [24]

Jett and Laguna entered the Who's Ramport Studios with the latter at the helm, and Jett's self-titled solo debut was released by Ariola Records in Europe on May 17, 1980. In the US, after the album was rejected by 23 major labels, [25] Jett and Laguna released it independently on their new Blackheart Records label, which they started with Laguna's daughter's college savings. Laguna remembers, "We couldn't think of anything else to do but print up records ourselves." [24]

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts performing live in Sacramento, California, 2012
Background information
Years active1979–present
  • Joan Jett
  • Dougie Needles
  • Hal B. Selzer
  • Thommy Price
  • Michael McDermott
Jett performing live with the Gibson Melody Maker in Norway, during the 1980s Jett Rocks.jpg
Jett performing live with the Gibson Melody Maker in Norway, during the 1980s

With Laguna's assistance, Jett formed the Blackhearts. Laguna recounted, "I told Joanie to forget the band and support herself on the advance money. There was enough for her but not for a band. She said she had to have a band. And I believe to this day that it was the Blackhearts, that concept, that made Joan Jett." [26] She placed an ad in the LA Weekly stating that she was "looking for three good men". [27] John Doe of X sat in on bass for the auditions held at S.I.R. studios in Los Angeles. He mentioned a local bass player, Gary Ryan, who had recently been crashing on his couch. Ryan was born Gary Moss, and adopted his stage name upon joining the Blackhearts in 1979, in part to cover for the fact that he was only 15 at the time. [28] Ryan was part of the Los Angeles punk scene and had played bass with local artists Top Jimmy and Rik L. Rik. He had been a fan of the Runaways and Jett for years. Jett recognized him at the audition and he was in. Ryan in turn recommended guitarist Eric Ambel, who was also at the time part of Rik L. Rik. The final addition to the original Blackhearts was drummer Danny "Furious" O'Brien, formerly of the San Francisco band the Avengers. This lineup played several gigs at the Golden Bear, in Huntington Beach, California and the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood before embarking on their first European tour, which consisted of an extensive tour of the Netherlands and a few key shows in England, including the Marquee in London. [29]

Laguna fired O'Brien at the end of the tour, [26] and upon returning to the States, Jett, Ryan, and Ambel moved to Long Beach, New York. Auditions were set up and Lee Crystal, formerly of the Boyfriends and Sylvain Sylvain, became the new drummer. [29] The band then toured throughout the US, slowly building a fan base but struggling to remain financially afloat. Throughout 1980, the band was able to keep touring solely due to Laguna drawing on advances from outside projects. [26] Jett and Laguna used their personal savings to press copies of the Joan Jett album and set up their own system of distribution, sometimes selling the albums out of the trunk of Laguna's Cadillac at the end of each concert. [30] Laguna was unable to keep up with demand for the album. Eventually, old friend and founder of Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart, made a joint venture with Laguna and signed Jett to his new label, Boardwalk Records and re-released the Joan Jett album as Bad Reputation .

A spring 1981 concert at the Palladium in New York City proved to be a turning point. Described by music journalists as a career-defining performance by Jett, it helped solidify a strong New York following for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. [26] After a year of touring and recording, the Blackhearts recorded a new album entitled I Love Rock 'n Roll for the label. Ambel was replaced by local guitarist Ricky Byrd during the recording. Byrd recalled in an interview with Guitarhoo!, "One day I went to a studio to jam around a bit with Jett and everything clicked". [29] [31] The first single from the album was a cover of the title track, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", originally written and recorded by Arrows, which in the first half of 1982 was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in a row. [32] It is Billboard s No. 56 song of all time [33] and has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016. [34]

Jett released Album (1983) and Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth (1984). A string of Top 40 hits followed, as well as sellout tours with the Police, Queen, and Aerosmith, among others. She was among the first English-speaking rock acts to appear in Panama and the Dominican Republic. [35]

After receiving her own MTV New Year's Eve special, Jett beat out a number of contenders to appear in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox. Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Light of Day" especially for the movie, [36] and her performance was critically acclaimed. [37] It was about this time that Ryan and Crystal left the Blackhearts. They were soon replaced by Thommy Price and Kasim Sulton. Later that year, Jett released Good Music , which featured appearances by the Beach Boys, the Sugarhill Gang and singer Darlene Love.

Joan Jett & 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. [35] Her next release, Up Your Alley , went multi-platinum. This album contains the single "I Hate Myself for Loving You", which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, [38] and had been used as the theme song for Sunday Night Football NFL games in America (with altered lyrics, by two singers) during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. This was followed by The Hit List , which was an album consisting of cover songs. During this time, Jett co-wrote the song "House of Fire", which appeared on Alice Cooper's 1989 album Trash .

In 1990, the band had a song on the Days of Thunder soundtrack, "Long Live the Night", written by Jett with Randy Cantor and Michael Caruso.

Her 1991 release Notorious , which featured the Replacements' Paul Westerberg and former Billy Idol bass player Phil Feit, was the last with Sony/CBS as Jett switched to Warner Bros. A CD single of "Let's Do It" featuring Jett and Westerberg was also released during this time, and appeared in the song credits for the movie Tank Girl . In 1993, Jett and Laguna released Flashback , a compilation of various songs on their own Blackheart Records.

Jett produced several bands prior to releasing her debut, and her label Blackheart Records released recordings from varied artists such as thrash metal band Metal Church and rapper Big Daddy Kane.

The press touted Jett as the "Godmother of Punk" [39] and the "Original Riot Grrrl". In 1994, the Blackhearts released the well-received Pure and Simple , which featured tracks written with Babes in Toyland's Kat Bjelland, L7's Donita Sparks and Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna. Jett has also been described as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. [7] [40] [41] [42] [43]

Timeline (with the Blackhearts)

Joan Jett

Ongoing work

Jett performing live at the Bumbershoot festival, in Seattle, Washington, 1994 Joan Jett - 1994 - 02.jpg
Jett performing live at the Bumbershoot festival, in Seattle, Washington, 1994

Jett returned to producing for the band Circus Lupus in 1992 and again, in 1994, for Bikini Kill. This recording was the New Radio +2 vinyl 7-inch EP for which she also played and sang back-up vocals. The Riot Grrrl movement started in the 1990s, with Bikini Kill as a representative band, and many of these women credited Jett as a role model and inspiration.

In 1997, Jett was featured on the We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute album. She performed a cover of the Johnny O'Keefe song "Wild One" (or "Real Wild Child"). Jett worked with members of the punk rock band the Gits, whose lead singer and lyricist, Mia Zapata, had been raped and murdered in 1993. [2] The results of their collaboration was a live album, Evil Stig and a single, "Bob", whose earnings were contributed to the investigation of Zapata's murder. To this end, the band and Jett appeared on the television show America's Most Wanted , appealing to the public for information. The case was solved in 2004, when Zapata's murderer, Jesus Mezquia, was brought to trial and convicted.

Jett is a guest artist on Marky Ramone and the Intruders' 1999 album The Answer to Your Problems? on the track "Don't Blame Me". She is a guest vocalist on Peaches' album Impeach My Bush on the tracks "Boys Wanna Be Her" and "You Love It".

At an October 2001 9/11 benefit in Red Bank, New Jersey, [44] Jett and Springsteen appeared together on stage for the first time and played "Light of Day".

In 2004, Jett and Laguna produced the album No Apologies by the pop punk band the Eyeliners, after signing them. Jett also guested on the track "Destroy" and made a cameo appearance in its music video.

In 2005, Jett and Laguna signed punk rockers the Vacancies and produced their second album, A Beat Missing or a Silence Added (reaching the top 20 in CMJ Music Charts), and their third album in 2007, Tantrum. That same year, she was recruited by Steven Van Zandt to host her own radio show on Van Zandt's Underground Garage radio channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. She hosted a four-hour show titled Joan Jett's Radio Revolution, broadcast every Saturday and Sunday. [45] The program moved from Sirius 25 (Underground Garage) [46] to Sirius 28 shortly before being canceled in June 2008. [47] [48]

In 2005, Jett and Laguna celebrated the 25th anniversary of Blackheart Records with a sellout show at Manhattan's Webster Hall. [49]

In June 2006, Jett released her album Sinner , on Blackheart Records. To support the album, the band appeared on the 2006 Warped Tour and on a fall 2006 tour with Eagles of Death Metal. Various other bands such as Antigone Rising, Valient Thorr, the Vacancies, Throw Rag and Riverboat Gamblers were to have joined the tour for a handful of dates each.

Jett sang a duet with Chase Noles on "Tearstained Letters", a song on the Heart Attacks' 2006 album, Hellbound and Heartless.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts headlined the Albuquerque, New Mexico Freedom Fourth celebration on July 4, 2007, with an estimated crowd of 65,000 in attendance at the annual outdoor event.

In November 2007, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts appeared with Motörhead and Alice Cooper in a UK arena tour; Jett opened eight American shows on Aerosmith's 2007 World Tour.

Following the Dave Clark Five's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on March 10, 2008, Jett, as part of the ceremony, closed the program with a performance of the Dave Clark Five's 1964 hit "Bits and Pieces".

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts appeared on several dates of the True Colors tour in the summer of 2008. [50] She opened for Def Leppard in August. On November 19, 2009, Mattel released a Joan Jett Barbie doll. Her name and likeness was used with her permission. [51]

In June 2010, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts opened for Green Day on their UK tour alongside acts such as Frank Turner and Paramore.

Jett performing live with the Blackhearts in Beaumont, California, during the 2010 Free Concert Series Joan Jett Beaumont 2010 2.jpg
Jett performing live with the Blackhearts in Beaumont, California, during the 2010 Free Concert Series

The band was the opening act for Aerosmith's September 2010 Canadian tour. [52]

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were part of the lineup for the Falls Music & Arts Festival, December 29 through January 1, 2010, in Australia. [53]

Jett was an executive producer for the film The Runaways , which chronicled the Runaways' career. It was written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, who has directed videos for Marilyn Manson, the White Stripes and David Bowie. Production of the movie began filming around Twilight's Kristen Stewart's filming schedule, (i.e. of the sequels New Moon and Eclipse ). Stewart played Jett in the film. In order to prepare for the role, Stewart met Jett around the 08/09 New Year. In an interview, Stewart revealed that she hoped to be able to sing some songs in the film. [54] The film explores the relationship between Jett and Runaways' lead singer, Cherie Currie, played by Dakota Fanning, and premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2010. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts appeared at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, at Harry-O's, for The Runaways promotion, which was also attended by Stewart and Dakota Fanning.

March 2010 saw the release of a 2-CD Greatest Hits album with four newly re-recorded songs. March 2010 also saw the release of a hardcover biography and picture book, spanning her career from the Runaways to the present day.

Jett, along with the Blackhearts, released the album Unvarnished on September 30, 2013. The album reached Billboard's Top 50. [55] It included songs dealing with the death of her parents and other people. [56] [57] August 1 was declared Joan Jett day in West Hollywood. She was named West Hollywood's Rock Legend. [58]

Former Blackhearts drummer Lee Crystal (born Lee Jamie Sackett in 1956 in Brooklyn, New York) died from complications of multiple sclerosis on November 5, 2013, at the age of 57. [59] [60]

Jett starred in and was the executive producer of the film Undateable John, which was released in 2014. [61] [62]

In April 2014, Jett fronted the remaining members of Nirvana for a performance of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She joined the band again later that night for its surprise concert at Saint Vitus. In April 2014, Jett was the first woman to win the Golden God Award. [63] Former bandmates Cherie Currie and Lita Ford came and supported her. On April 24, 2014, Alternative Press magazine held its first-ever Alternative Press Music Awards, and Jett received the AP Icon Award. On July 12, 2014, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed at Tropicana Field after the baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida. On October 29, 2014, Jett sang the U.S. national anthem at the New York Knicks vs. the Chicago Bulls basketball game. Jett and Hot Topic released Jett's first clothing line in 2014. It consists of jackets, shirts, pants, and a sweater. [64]

On April 15, 2015, Jett & the Blackhearts opened for the Who, kicking off their "The Who Hits 50!" 2015 North American tour in Tampa, Florida. [65] The Blackhearts opened for the Who for 42 dates in the U.S. and Canada, ending November 4 in Philadelphia.

On July 4, 2015, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were part of the Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary show at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

In September 2018, Jett signed a music distribution deal with Sony Music's Legacy Recordings, making her catalogue officially available for streaming. [66]

Other work

Jett is a sports fan and has remained actively involved in the sports world. "Bad Reputation" was used by Ultimate Fighting Championship's Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey as her walkout song at the pay-per-view event UFC 157 and is her current theme music in WWE. In April 2019, Jett performed "Bad Reputation" at WWE's WrestleMania 35 as Rousey was introduced. [67] Her cover of "Love Is All Around" (the theme song of The Mary Tyler Moore Show ) was used by the NCAA to promote the Women's Final Four, as well as the song "Unfinished Business", which was never commercially released. "Love Is All Around" went into radio play and became the number one requested song without an existing (support) CD. Jett supplied theme songs for the ESPN X Games premiere and has contributed music to all their games since. At Cal Ripken Jr.'s request she sang the U.S. national anthem at the Baltimore Orioles game in which he tied [68] Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played. She also sang the national anthem at the final game played at Memorial Stadium. From 2006 to 2015, the melody for her song "I Hate Myself for Loving You" was used as the theme music for NBC Sunday Night Football with re-worked lyrics and retitled "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night". Beginning with the 2019 season, Jett will perform the song with Carrie Underwood as the opener of Sunday Night Football games. [69]

Jett has been a consistent supporter of the United States Armed Forces throughout her career and has toured for the United Service Organizations for over 20 years, and even performed at the United States Military Academy. [70]

Satire and tributes

In 1983, musical satirist "Weird Al" Yankovic released a parody of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" entitled "I Love Rocky Road", changing the singer's passion for rock music with that for ice cream.

The comic strip Bloom County included a character named Tess Turbo; her band was the Blackheads. [71]

Film, stage and television appearances

Jett's first appearance on film is in the 1981 live concert film Urgh! A Music War , performing "Bad Reputation" with the Blackhearts at the Ritz in New York City. She made her acting debut in 1987, co-starring with Gena Rowlands and Michael J. Fox in the Paul Schrader film Light of Day . [2] She appeared in independent films, including The Sweet Life and Boogie Boy .

In 1997, she appeared on the sitcom Ellen , [72] in the episode "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah", performing the title song. In 1992, she was a guest star in "Free Fall", a first-season episode of TV's Highlander: The Series . [73]

The 1999 series Freaks and Geeks used the song "Bad Reputation" as the opening theme. [74]

In 2000, Jett appeared in the Broadway production of The Rocky Horror Show in the role of Columbia. That same year, Jett appeared on Walker, Texas Ranger as an ex-CIA agent turned assassin hired to kill Walker and Alex.

In 2002, Jett appeared in the film By Hook or by Crook in the role of News Interviewee.

From 2000 to 2003, Jett hosted a showcase of new film and video shorts, Independent Eye, [75] for Maryland Public Television.

In 2004, Jett narrated a short film, Godly Boyish, about two teenagers who share suicidal fantasies.

In 2008, Jett made a cameo appearance in Darren Lynn Bousman's rock opera/file Repo! The Genetic Opera as the guitarist in Shilo's room during the piece "Seventeen". [76] Also in 2008, she appeared in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Reunion" as a rock-and-roll talk show host who gets murdered.

Jett played Betsy Neal in the film Big Driver . The film, based on Stephen King's novella of the same name, premiered on Lifetime on October 18, 2014.

Jett provided the voice for the character Sunshine Justice in an episode of Steven Universe . [77]

Jett was the subject of a documentary, Bad Reputation , which was released in theaters and streaming on September 28, 2018. [78]


Jett's signature guitar is a white Gibson Melody Maker, which she has played on all her hits since the year of 1977. In 2008 Gibson released the "Joan Jett Signature Melody Maker". It differs from Jett's model by having a single burstbucker 3 humbucker pickup, an ebony fretboard and a double-cutaway body in white with a black vinyl pickguard. It also features a kill switch in place of a pickup selector. [79] It retails for $839. [79] There is now also a "Blackheart" version of this guitar introduced in 2010. All specs are the same, but it is finished in black, with red and pearl heart inlays. [80] In June 2019, Gibson announced and released a third signature guitar for Jett, which is a wine-colored ES-339. The guitar was released after two years of research and development with Jett. [81] [82] In regards to her white Melody Maker, the singer once stated:

"In The Runaways I was using a blond Les Paul. It’s beautiful, and I still have it, but it’s heavy as shit. I jump and run around a lot onstage, and it was really getting to my shoulder, so I was looking for a lighter guitar. I heard from one of our road crew that Eric Carmen from the Raspberries was selling a Melody Maker, so I ended up buying it. Now, this is the guitar that he played on 'Go All the Way' and all those [Raspberries] hits. And then I played it on “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Do You Want to Touch Me,” “Bad Reputation" ...all those early records. Then I took it off the road because I got nervous that someone was gonna steal it or break it. It’s so beautiful. It’s white, has no stickers on it, and there are cracks in the paint and yellowing from age or club cigarettes. It’s an unbelievable-looking guitar. I have it in a closet and I take it out occasionally to record. But I don’t even need to use it to record anymore, because I have a guitar that sounds pretty much like it. I’m actually kind of afraid to bring out the original. It’s got a great heritage. It’s a guitar full of hits."

[83] [84]

Personal life

Jett promoting PETA in Union Square, New York City, 2010 Joan Jett by David Shankbone.jpg
Jett promoting PETA in Union Square, New York City, 2010

Jett has consistently refused either to confirm or deny rumors that she is lesbian or bisexual. In a 1994 interview with Out magazine she said, "I'm not saying no, I'm not saying yes, I'm saying believe what you want. Assume away—go ahead." [85] In 2006, she also addressed the rumors that she is an open lesbian by saying, "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." [86]

Jett supported Howard Dean in the 2004 election because of his opposition to the Iraq War. [87] [88] She has been a vegetarian for over 20 years [89] and supports both PETA [90] and Farm Sanctuary. [91]

Jett first became a vegetarian because of her love of animals. After making the switch to vegetarianism, Jett learned of the environmental impacts of intensive animal farming, and became an advocate for vegetarian and vegan living. She has worked closely with PETA, including outreach projects such as handing out Vegetarian Starter Kits to the public. [92] She said:

I am a vegetarian. So I avoid contributing to the major environmental damage that the meat industry creates. I hope that soon we can make sure that everything we do is earth-friendly. [93]

Awards and honors



1978Rock 'N Roll Sports ClassicHerself
1981 Urgh! A Music War Herself
1983Top '82Herself
1987 Light of Day Patti Rasnick
1992 Highlander: The Series Felicia MartinsTV episode: "Free Fall"
1994Talking About the Weather?
1997 Ellen HerselfEpisode: "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"
1998 Boogie Boy Jerk
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Dierdre HarrisEpisode: "Wedding Bells: Part 1"
2001 By Hook or by Crook News Interviewee
2003The Sweet LifeSherry
2004Godly BoyishNarratorVoice
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Sylvia RhodesEpisode: "Reunion"
2008 Repo! The Genetic Opera Guitar Player
2008Lock and Roll ForeverCharlotte Superstar
2009 Endless Bummer Del
2010 Multiple Sarcasms Herself
2013National Lampoon Presents: Surf PartyDel
2014 Big Driver Betsy Neal
2015 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll HerselfEpisode: "Lust for Life"
2016 The Muppets HerselfEpisode: "A Tail of Two Piggies"
2016 Ordinary World HerselfCameo
2018 Steven Universe Sunshine JusticeEpisode: "The Big Show"
2018 Bad Reputation Herselfdocumentary

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