Joan Jett

Bad Reputation Joan Jett - Bad Reputation (Blackheart Records) 1981

1.   Bad Reputation (2:50)
2.   Make Believe (3:11
3.   You Don't Know What You've Got (3:45)
4.   You Don't Own Me (3:27)
5.   Too Bad on Your Birthday (2:58)
6.   Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) (3:49)
7.   Let Me Go (2:42)
8.   Doing Alright With the Boys (3:38)
9.   Shout (2:48)
10.   Jezebel (3:28)
11.   Don't Abuse Me (3:38)
12.   Wooly Bully (2:19)
13.   Call Me Lightning (2:25)
14.   Hanky Panky (3:31)
15.   Summertime Blues (2:23)
16.   What Can I do For You? (2:13)
"Bad Reputation" was Joan Jett's first album after The Runaways. At the time she recorded this eponymous album she couldn't get a label to release it, so she released it herself and sold it at concerts. Later the album was picked up by Boardwalk Records and titled "Bad Reputation". Since Joan hadn't yet formed The Blackhearts at the time of recording, the album features a host of guest artists including the Sex Pistols' Paul Cook and Steve Jones, The Ramones' Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone and Blondie's Clem Burke and Frank Infante. Despite the presence of these punk and new wave rockers, "Bad Reputation" can not be described as either. Rather, the music contained within is pure raucous rock and roll. There is a punk attitude to the whole thing. After all, even the Runaways had that punk attitude to their sound. However, Jett brings in her classic '50s and '60s rock & roll  influences and even a touch of 70's glam rock. Half the songs on "Bad Reputation" are cover songs. "You Don't Own Me" (featuring the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Paul Cook) is a punk-infused cover of a Lesley Gore anthem. Joan really rocks Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)". Of course "Wooly Bully" and "Shout" are both rock and roll classics. However, the real gem on the album is the absolutely infectious title track. It stands to this day as one of Jett's most memorable songs. The remastered bonus disc adds in a ton of bonus tracks, including a cover of "Summertimes Blues", which apparently was only ever released as an obscure single. 

I Love Rock N Roll Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n' Roll (Mercury/Blackheart Records) 1981

1.   I Love Rock 'n' Roll (2:55)
2.   (I'm Gonna) Run Away (2:27)

3.   Love Is Pain (3:07)

4.   Nag (2:46)

5.   Crimson and Clover (3:17)

6.   Victim of Circumstance (2:54)
7.   Bits and Pieces (2:07)

8.   Be Straight (2:40)
9.   You're Too Possessive (3:35)

10. Little Drummer Boy (4:14)

11. Oh Woe Is Me (2:43)
12. Louie Louie" (2:59)

13. You Don't Know What You've Got (2:44)
14. Summertime Blues (2:16)

15. Nag [alternate version featuring The Coasters] (2:51)

If you were into rock and roll in 1981, then chances are you had a copy of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" spinning on your turntable. I can testify that I was one of those that spun this record over and over again. The record was given to me as a gift from my parents for Christmas, 1981. I'm fairly sure I drove them up the wall playing it over and over again, especially the songs "Crimson and Clover" and "Bits and Pieces". My father was a fan of the Dave Clarke Five and still had his "Glad All Over" record, which I later acquired and still possess. Upon hearing Jett's cover of the song "Bits and Pieces" he wanted to know who butchered the song. Of course Jett's cover of the Dave Clarke Five classic is raw and rockin', but that's what Joan does best. She takes those old rock and roll songs and gives them a new rock and roll attitude. 

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is the second studio album by Joan Jett, though it is the first to feature The Blackhearts. Though Joan has continued to record and tour for decades after it's released, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" remains her most successful album, selling over 10 million copies sold. This was largely due to the title track, which was and is a massively popular single. The song is still played on classic rock stations, at sporting events and just about anywhere that rock and roll is being pumped out of a PA. Joan's cover of "Crimson and Clover" was also released as a single and did well on the charts. 

As with Jett's debut her sophomre release is a mixture of originals and covers, including  "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (originally by the Arrows), "Nag" (The Halos), "Crimson and Clover" (Tommy James & The Shondells), "Bits and Pieces" (The Dave Clark Five),  and the Christmas classic "Little Drummer Boy". As well, "You're Too Possessive" is a song written for The Runaways. Of the originals, "Love is Pain" is a dark, moody rocker that is also one of Jett's more underrated songs. All-in-all, despite the title track being annoyingly overplayed, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is a fantastic and essential classic rock album. 

My original vinyl pressing of "I Love Rock and Roll" had nine songs with the last song being a cover of the Christmas classic "Little Drummer Boy". Later pressings replaced the song with "Oh Woe Is Me". Both songs are included on the CD pressing. The remastered CD pressing also contains several bonus tracks including a cover of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie" (made popular by The Kingsmen) and Eddie Cochran "Summertime Blues". The later cover has a sound not unlike Jett's own "Bad Reputation" and though it wasn't included on the album, it was a minor hit. According to the liner notes, "Summertime Blues" was originally left off the vinyl LP, and Boardwalk passed on releasing it as a single. However it was leaked to rock radio by the band, infuriating Boardwalk Records president Neil Bogart, who had originally requested that the band recorded the song. The song was eventually released as an official single in Canada and Australia, but not in the U.S. or England. 

Album Glorious Results
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Album/Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
(Blackheart Records) 1983/1984

1. Fake Friends (3:23)
2. Handyman (3:23)
3. Everyday People (2:40)
4. A Hundred Feet Away (2:33)
5. Secret Love (4:03)
6. Star Star (4:00)
7. The French Song (3:35)
8. Tossin' & Turnin' (2:25)
9. Why Can't We Be Happy (3:53)
10. I Love Playing With Fire (3:03)
11. Coney Island Whitefish (3:35)
12. Had Enough (2:26)
13. Nitetime (4:52)
14. Everyday People (Dance Mix) (4:19)
15. Wait For Me (4:33)
16. Who Can You Trust (2:51)
17. Scratch My Back (4:13)
18. Locked Groove (3:47)

Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
1. Cherry Bomb (2:36)
2. I Love You Love Me Love (3:19)
3. Frustrated (4:38)
4. Hold Me (3:12)
5. Long Time (2:28)
6. Talkin' 'Bout My Baby (3:36)
7. I Need Someone (3:16)
8. Love Like Mine (4:02)
9. New Orleans (2:54)
10. Someday (2:48)
11. Push And Stomp (3:04)
12. I Got No Answers (2:28)
13. Hide And Seek (2:41)
14. I Can't Control Myself (3:27)
15. Bird Dog (2:43)
16. Talkin' Bout My Baby [live] (3:52)
17. Bombs Away (2:42)
18. Cherry Bomb (Dance Mix) (4:05)
19. I Need Someone (Dance Mix) (4:12)

How do you follow-up a massively successful album like "I Love Rock & Roll"? If you're Joan Jett, you ignores the success and just continue to do what you do. Joan Jett is like Motorhead and AC/DC in that she knows what she does, she does it well and she doesn't really care much about changing. Also like Motorhead, her music has a crossover appeal from hard rock to punk. "Album" is Joan's third album after leaving The Runaways, and her second with her band "The Blackhearts". Much like "I Love Rock & Roll" the songs are a blend of her original material and covers of classic rock and roll songs. For "Album" two singles were released, the biting "Fake Friends" and "Everyday People", a cover of the Sly & the Family Stone classic. Neither single did as well as the singles from "I Love Rock & Roll". However, real rock and roll is not really about hit singles, it's about delivering and album full of in-your-face rock and roll songs. Perhaps that explains the name of this release. "Album" delivers raw, youthful, driving rock 'n' roll with a punk attitude and a mean, nasty snarl from Joan. The cover of the Rolling Stones' "Star Star" caused a bit of controversy in that the song, which features the "f-bomb" as part of the chorus, was banned. After the album's initial pressing the song was deleted from further pressings. However, when the album was re-released on CD in 1992, the song was restored to the tracklisting, as well as six more bonus songs.

Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
With Joan's fourth record, she just sticks to doing what she does best. "Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth" is a riotous rock and roll album with the same punk attitude and mix of originals and covers as in the past. The album opens with a re-recorded version of Joan's own hit from the Runaways days, "Cherry Bomb". After a cover of Gary Glitter's "I Love You Love Me" Joan unleashes one of her finest originals. "Frustrated" is an anthem of teenage angst if there ever was one. The song is one of the standout tracks on the album, mixing rambunctious rock and roll with punk and Country/Western-style fiddle playing. While it sounds odd, it works quite well for this song, much like the similarly odd use of banjos in Aerosmith's "Kings & Queens". Why this song wasn't a hit for Joan is a mystery. As usual, Joan takes some old classic rock and roll songs and fires 'em up with here own unique sound. There are several covers on this one including the classic "New Orleans", the Belmonts hit "I Need Someone" and as a bonus tracks, The Troggs "I Can't Control Myself" and The Everly Brothers hit "Bird Dog". The two dance mixes added to the end of the CD are unnecessary. 

Good Music Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Good Music (Blackheart Records) 1986

1. Good Music (5:46)
2. This Means War (3:38)
3. Roadrunner (3:33)
4. If Ya Want My Luv (3:55)
5. Fun, Fun, Fun (2:20)
6. Black Leather (3:59)
7. Outlaw (4:16)
8. Just Lust (3:17)
9. You Got Me Floatin' (3:31)
10. Contact (3:10)

"Good Music" was Joan's fifth solo record and it was the first sign of Joan giving into the times. The production isn't quite as raw as past albums, sounding more polished as was the trend in the mid-1980's. As well, the overall vibe is slightly more to the pop oriented. However, it would be misleading to say that "Good Music" is a pop record or that Joan delivered anything less than what she has always delivered; guitar-driven rock and roll. Once again, as with all her past records, "Good Music" is a mixture of originals and covers. This time around Joan cranks on a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "You Got Me Floatin'" "Good Music" is worth the price for this obscure cover alone. As well, she recorded "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beachboys and "Roadrunner" by The Modern Lovers, a proto-punk song from the early 70's. As for the originals, there are a few standout cuts. The title cut is one of Joan's finest heavy rock and rollers. I am also partial to the anthemic "Black Leather", though it's odd to hear Joan doing a rap-rock song. 

Up Your Alley
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Up Your Alley (CBS/Blackheart) 1988

1. I Hate Myself For Loving You (4:07)
2. Ridin' With James Dean (3:17)
3. Little Liar (4:01)
4. Tulane (2:54)
5. I Wanna Be Your Dog (5:12)
6. I Still Dream About You (3:23)
7. You Want In, I Want Out (4:15)
8. Just Like In the Movies (3:05)
9. Desire (3:53)
10. Back It Up (3:31)
11. Play That Song Again (3:42)
Joan Jett

Joan Jett is best known as the ultimate female hard rocker coming from the legendary The Runaways and responsible for the mega-hit single “I Love Rock N’ Roll”. The song is considered by many to be one of the all time classics and was in fact, listed by Billboard as on of the best songs of all time. However, Joan and her Blackhearts have a large body of work that is just as good as the one single which people tend to remember her by. "I Hate Myself For Loving You" is a fantastic opener and was a hit for the band as well. The song is straight forward rock 'n' roll delivered with a genuine, spiteful, irreverent attitude and an undeniable pop hook. I think that's what I like best about Joan, she always seems to deliver that attitude. "Desire," "Ridin' With James Dean," "You Want In" and "Little Liar" are all memorable melodic rock tracks. "Little Liar" was co-written with hit-making songwriter Desmond Child and was a semi-hit as well. "Tulane" is a Chuck Berry cover in which Joan pulls out a straight forward rockin' version. "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is a cover of the Stooges classic song, and a great choice for a cover. This punk song is so different in style from the preceding Chuck Berry cover, yet neither song seem out of place. All in all, "Up Your Alley" is a fantastic rock and roll record.

Notorious Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Notorious (Epic) 1991

1. Backlash" (3:28)
2. Ashes in the Wind" (4:22)
3. The Only Good Thing (You Ever Said Was Goodbye)" (4:27)
4. Lie to Me" (4:30)
5. Don't Surrender" (4:10)
6. Goodbye" (4:00)
7. Machismo" (4:13)
8. Treadin' Water" (3:38)
9. I Want You" (3:04)
10. Wait for Me" (5:15)

Reviews that I had read of "Notorious" called it here "most mature album" and other such nonsense. Joan Jett and her Blackhearts have always been a loud and proud, guitar-driven rock and roll band. That's what I look to this band to deliver. "Notorious" is one of the only Joan Jett albums to not feature a handful of cover songs. This one is all originals, although several songs were co-penned by professional song writers such as Desmond Child and Diane Warren. 

The album opens with "Backlash" a melodic but nasty Jett rocker. "The Only Good Thing (You Ever Said Was Goodbye)" is a mid-paced rocker that is co-penned by Diane Warren. Before ever hearing this track I was expecting some sappy ballad, as that seems to be what Diane Warren is mostly known for writing. However, this song isn't far from what you would expect Joan Jett to sound like. There are no strings, no orchestration, no sappy balladry. "Treadin' Water" is co-penned by Richie Supa, known for his work with Aerosmith on such killer tracks as "Lightning Strikes", "Chip Away at the Stone" and "Pink". This song has a rockin' groove. "I Want You" is a revised version of a song from '79 that Joan and Kenny Laguna had written for a movie that Jett was to appear in. This song has that raw punk-edge that Joan has always done so well. It's one of the best songs on this CD. Album closer "Wait For Me" is a song Jett wrote when she was just 16 years old and is a cover of The Runaways' version from their 1977 album "Waitin' For The Night." 

Of all the albums that Joan Jett has put out, "Notorious" was the hardest for me to get into. It's definitely a grower and took some time before I began to really appreciate it. 

Pure Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - Pure and Simple (Blackheart Records) 1994

1.   Go Home (2:42)
2.   Eye To Eye (3:30)
3.   Spinster (2:44)
4.   Torture (3:35)
5.   Rubber & Glue (3:19)
6.   As I Am (4:35)
7.   Activity Grrrl (3:45)
8.   Insecure (3:11)
9.   Wonderin' (4:53)
10. Consumed (4:40)
11. You Got A Problem (3:57)
12. Brighter Day (6:06)
"Pure and Simple" is the same razor-blade-for-breakfast, raunchy rock and roll that Joan Jett has always been known for. In fact, "Pure and Simple" might even be one of Joan's toughest albums yet, and this despite the professional songwriting skills of Jim Vallance and Desmond Child. (Known for their work with Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Kiss, among others.) The album opens with a punk-infused fury in "Go Home" that rarely lets up for the entire album. The album is also one of the best produced with a biting, nasty guitar tone and drums and bass falling perfectly into place. As always Jett's vocals are gritty and delivered with a punk-like attitude. "Brighter Day" and "As I Am" are the only two songs in which Joan showcases a softer, more tender side of her songwriting, though she is no less passionate. 

Fetish Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Fetish (Mercury) 1999

1. Fetish (3:22)
2. Handyman (3:23)
3. The French Song (3:35)
4. Baby Blue (4:06)
5. Star Star (3:59)
6. Love Is Pain (3:07)
7. Secret Love (4:03)
8. Cherry Bomb (2:33)
9. Hanky Panky (3:30)
10. Coney Island Whitefish (3:35)
11. Wooly Bully (2:19)
12. Do You Wanna Touch Me? [live] (3:37)
13. Black Leather  [live]  (3:44)
14. Fetish (XXX) (3:26)

"Fetish" is an odd 'n sods collection of songs from Joan that includes a couple of new songs, four cover songs and bunch of old studio and live tracks, none of which would be considered hits. The album starts out strong with the new song "Fetish" which is one of the best on the album. However, other standout tracks like "Handyman", "Cherry Bomb" and "Love Is Pain" are available on other albums.  The four covers include a The Stones "Star Star",  Tommy James & The Shondells' "Hanky Panky", Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs' "Wooly Bully" and a live version of Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me?". Apparently the connection for most of these songs is that they are sexual in nature. If that be the case it's a shame she didn't include a cover of "I Want to Be You Dog", which seems right up Joan's alley, if she hasn't already recorded a cover of this song. Overall, "Fetish" isn't bad and has a few gems, but it's not Joan's best either. 

Sinner Joan Jett - Sinner (Blackheart Records) 2006

1. Riddless (4:01)
2. A.C.D.C. (3:20)
3. Five (5:14)
4. Naked (3:51)
5. Everybody Knows (3:13)
6. Change The World (3:07)
7. Androgynous (3:08)
8. Fetish (3:23)
9. Watersign (3:10)
10. Tube Talkin' (3:37)
11. Turn It Around (3:44)
12. Baby Blue (4:06)
13. A 100 Feet Away (2:33)
14. Bad Time (5:05)

I popped this CD into my car deck and cranked it up. As "Riddles" came pumping out of my system, I thought to myself, "wow, this sounds pretty modern". I've never though of Joan Jett as one to follow trends in music. However, she really hasn't followed any trends, rather the trends have come back around and Jett now fits right in. It's actually been 25 years since Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" heyday yet her mixture of pop, punk and pure rock and roll is the substance that modern rock is striving to be. Joan has always been great a taking cover songs and making them her own. That is certainly the case here as well. "A.C.D.C." is a brilliant song to begin with, an underrated gem from the Sweet catalog. This song, as well as her cover of The Replacements' "Androgynous" fit in with the lyrical themes. On "Sinner" Joan seems to be striving for more thoughtful lyrics with political statements and explorations of her much-questioned but never answered sexuality.

What makes a good Joan Jett album? She's never been the best guitarist, the sweetest singer or the most outstanding songwriter. No, it's all about that nasty kick-you-in-the-ass attitude. I think that is exactly what Joan delivers here. Without a doubt "A.C.D.C." is the standout track on the album. The melodic "Watersign" also stands out as one of the albums more memorable tracks, however I've found myself quite enjoying the whole album over and over again. "Sinner" might not be Joan's best album, but it certainly doesn't sound like some tired album from someone past their prime. Regardless of trends, rock and roll can be timeless. It seems to me that Joan Jett is indeed timeless.

I've read that ten tracks from "Sinner" are the same as her Japan-only "Naked" disc.

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