Here we are, the home stretch. This is your top 5, voted on by you, of the best Joan Jett songs that are NOT “I Love Rock ‘N Roll.” Enjoy!
#5 You Drive Me Wild
This song is incredibly special to me, because it’s the first song Joan Jett ever wrote. Ever. If she had worried whether anyone would still care about it 35 years later, she shouldn’t have. This song definitely deserves its top 5 spot. It was the second track on the first Runaways album, The Runaways, in 1976, but I like the Live in Japan version better.
… And here’s what it sounds like 35 years later:
If Joan does two things incredibly well, it’s writing break-up songs, and writing songs about sex. This song contains lyrics of a frank and sexual nature. The censored version is really not any cleaner, so I won’t bother. If you are under 18 and listening to this, please keep this in mind: “You Drive Me Wild” was written by a 15-ish year-old Joan Jett. “Fetish” was written by Joan in her 30s–a grown woman. Please don’t try to grow up too fast. Never be ashamed of who you are, but please be safe, and respect yourself. You deserve it!
And, if you really pay attention to the lyrics, Joan is saying “YOU are my fetish”… not any of the crazy objects in the room or the acts they are performing. She is putting her partner first, in a reverent and respectful way, without losing her own identity in the process. It’s a grown-up love song. That’s how I hear it, anyway.
Here’s a live video. You can buy the recorded version on Sinner.
#3 Crimson and Clover
Over and over… BA DA DA DA DA DA… *Sways back and forth* …
Another awesome tricep workout. (Try it!) Many artists have covered this Tommy James and The Shondells tune, but this has to be the best one. I also posit that it is the best cover song of all time, in any generation, of any artist. Kenny Laguna was actually in The Shondells when this song was first written in the 1960s, and it still holds magic for him, as he explains to jupiterindex.com in this May 2007 interview:
I love it and there are certain parts of every show that I love every night. Like, I had ‘Crimson and Clover” with Tommy James and I have “Crimson and Clover” with Joan, so I’m so excited with that every time, every night. Every time I go to sing those “ba da das”. I’ve been singing those “ba da das’ since I was a teenager. Can you imagine? I see God when I do it, I really see God every night when we hit the “ba da das”, and at the end -“Crimson and Clover/ Over and over”. I still get excited like the first time I heard it.
#2 I Hate Myself For Loving You
I was born as a Jetthead the night I first saw this video on MTV. Up Your Alley was my first Blackhearts cassette. (Yes, I said cassette.) This is, perhaps, the best song Joan and Desmond Child ever wrote together. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and spent 26 weeks on the chart. I hope the NFL gives them both gobs of money every time Faith Hill sings “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” on Sunday Night Football.
And the song we’ve all been waiting for… Drumroll please…
#1 Bad Reputation
In my incredibly biased opinion, in a reversal of “Crimson and Clover,” many artists have covered this song, but none of them compare to the original. I wonder what the executives from the twenty-plus record labels that heard the demo for this song, and rejected it, think about it now. They clearly weren’t thinking when they told Joan to lose the guitar or that she had no talent. There is a reason this song is still being featured in movies, TV shows, and video games, 30 years after it was written (See IMDB). Because when you want to assert your independence, and defend yourself against the morons telling you how worthless you are, this is the only song that will do.
So go ahead, jump around like a fool and celebrate! No one is watching. And if they are, you shouldn’t give a damn anyway.
That’s it, finally! I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did! I am going to do this poll again in 2012, with a longer voting period to get more votes. Maybe by then we’ll have a few new tunes to choose from. (No pressure, Joan.) 🙂
I don’t know how I’m going to top this next year though. I’ll just “use the force,” I guess. 🙂
Have a blessed, happy, new year everyone! Happy 2012!
Part 1: #55 through #46
Part 2: #45 through #36
Part 3: #35 through #26
Part 4: #25 through #16
Part 5: #15 through #6
Awesome job! I loved it to death! I think that Joan should be proud to have fans like you…every musician should be!!! Happy 2012 with all my compliments and… keep on this way!!
Thank you so much!
I enjoyed every minute and loved the insights you shared about Joan’s songs. I can do a graphic for your next series, if you’d like. Happy, Healthy New Year to you and please, never stop doing this! Rock on!
Thank you! I’d be happy to take you up on that. 🙂
This is great! You did an outstanding job!! Anxious to see the 2012 poll. Happy New Year, and keep rockin’!