Hello Jettheads! You voted on the best “non-I Love Rock ‘N Roll” Joan Jett songs of all time, and you gave us 55 songs to celebrate! Let’s continue the countdown with #45 to #36. See #55 through #46 in Part 1 HERE.
Inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990’s, 1994’s Pure and Simple is arguably Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ heaviest record, which is what I love most about it. “Hostility,” co-written with L7’s Donita Sparks, is one of its best and heaviest tracks. The early 1990’s were a transition period for the music business in more ways than one: CDs were quickly gaining popularity, but LPs and cassettes were still being manufactured. As a result, Pure and Simple was released on all three, with different bonus tracks on the LP and cassette. “Hostility” can only be found on the LP and cassette versions, and “Here to Stay” (which did not make this countdown) is only on the LP. These two songs have never been released digitally. 😦
Going back ten years from Pure and Simple to 1984’s Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth, “I Got No Answers” is at the other end of the musical spectrum. It’s a pretty ballad, with a pretty melody, pretty vocals, and some pretty introspective lyrics. Another great Jett/Laguna collaboration, and a must-have.
Joan wrote this one by herself in The Runaways, and their version graced the Queens of Noise album. Joan re-recorded this with The Blackhearts on 1983’s Album, and again on 2010’s Greatest Hits package. It’s made its way back into The Blackhearts’ live set in the last few years, thanks to renewed interest in The Runaways from The Runaways movie. I only wish that Kristen Stewart had recorded the full song for the soundtrack. She sounded fabulous! Here’s the 1983 version, with links to The Runaways and the 2010 versions below it. Sandy West used more cow bell than either Lee Crystal or Thommy Price. 🙂
The Runaways performed this Kim Fowley/Ronnie Lee song live, and it appeared on 1977’s Live in Japan album. But a studio version was never released.
“I Want You” is one of the first songs that Joan wrote with Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell when they met in 1979. Those songs appeared in a crappy little film loosely based on The Runaways, We’re All Crazee Now, that Joan was contractually obligated to do after The Runaways broke up. That movie was never finished, but the footage was hacked together a few years later and released as Du Beat-E-O. (Read more about that HERE.) For 1991’s Notorious, Joan and Kenny changed the lyrics from “I want drugs” and “I want booze” to things a little more grown up, as Joan was about to enter her 30’s. “I wanna go and see the O’s never lose” is a tribute to her favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. 🙂 (And if you listen carefully, you can hear Joan whisper “You never know what’s gonna happen” before the song starts.) The original version was released on the 1979 EP through the fan club in 1995, and played in the airplane scene of The Runaways movie (the good one). Here are both versions.
One of my favorite tracks from I Love Rock and Roll. One of a long line of classic Jett/Laguna break-up songs. I’ve always admired Joan’s lyrics for getting straight to the point, and this is a great example.
It is a pity that I cannot find this for you on YouTube, but I do have it on my horribly neglected MySpace page’s playlist (it’s #10 on there, but they’re not ranked by importance). I think everybody needs to hear this song. It is just so freaking TRUE. Joan and Kenny wrote this with Jim Vallance for Pure and Simple, and together with “As I Am,” it made me cry. Songs like this are how I survive life. My favorite lyrics are at the bridge:
You shouldn’t care what people think of you
All you can do is be yourself
No matter how they see you
You really can’t be somethin’ else
You’re not the only one that feels this way
Inside they look the same as you
When it seems never ending
Remember they’re pretendin’ too
Terry Abrahamson and Rick Nowels wrote this for Joan, and The Blackhearts recorded it for 1986’s Good Music. Great rhythm. I’ll give you the studio version and a live version from 1987 with explicit lyrics. Listen to them with your eyes closed. (Unless you are driving or walking!) 🙂
I don’t know the exact year this song was written, but The Blackhearts started playing it live in the mid-/late-1990’s. It has only been released twice, on 2004’s Japanese import Naked, and on 2006’s Shira Girl compilation, All Girl Stage Crew Vol. 2. Joan co-wrote this with Kathleen Hanna (of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre), former Blackheart Tony Bruno, and Kenny Laguna.
Nice choice! This isn’t even an album track. Joan performed this Cole Porter song as a duet with Paul Westerberg (The Replacements) for the official soundtrack of 1995’s Tank Girl, starring Lori Petty, Ice-T, and Naomi Watts. The song was originally recorded with Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin, but some drama happened and they replaced him with Paul. Greg and Joan’s version was released on Kenny Laguna’s 2000 compilation, Laguna Tunes, and you can read about that saga in the liner notes, online HERE. (Ignore the misspelling of Greg’s last name.)
Wow, I had to do a lot of research on this batch. I wish I had all of that knowledge just sitting in my head, but I don’t! I’ll try not to make you wait another month for part 3. You will be surprised by what’s on it! 🙂