80’s Music: Joan Jett

Admit it, you’ve forgotten how big she was.  Between 1981-89, she had 8 top 40 hits and they were some of the best songs on top 40 radio.  Jett, who started out in the late 70’s as a teenage guitar player in the glam/punk band The Runaways, went solo in 1981 with the excellent Bad Reputation and then blew up in 82 with the chart-topper, I Love Rock and Roll.  She didn’t give a damn about her Bad Reputation, she just wanted to put another dime in the jukebox, baby.  I’ve posted these songs, plus my favorite, Do You Wanna Touch Me.  This favorite had as much to do with the video which showed Joan in a bikini.  This was definitely in my high school fantasy reel.  Lesbian or not, I dug her then and still think she looks hot at 50.

Here 3rd record was good, but not quite up to the level as her first 2 smashes.  One of my top 3 Jett songs is on it though, The French Song.  I love the breathy vocals and the crunchy guitar riff.

Here’s her solo version of the Runaways hit, Cherry Bomb.

In 1987, Joan did the movie Light of Day with Micheal J. Fox.  She was pretty good in it and the movie title came from a Bruce Springsteen song.  Here’s the movie clip with Michael J. Fox and a bonus really cool version of it by Joan and Bruce.

Her last great song was off 88’s Up the Alley.  I Hate Myself for Loving You has one of the most infectious choruses you could write and it just plain rocks.  I’ve seen Jett twice on tour and she was great both times.

I love her cover of the Mary Tyler Moore shows Love is All Around.  So even though it came out in the 90’s, I’ve included a great live take on it from the Lettermen show.


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