Joan Jett’s 10 essential albums


The New York Times once described Joan Jett as “the godmother to female musicians with loud guitars and idealistic dreams.” Nearly four decades into her career, the ever-youthful Jett remains an inspiration for any girl–or guy–armed with three chords and a passion for rock and roll. Jett’s latest release, Unvarnished, ranks among her very best. In the comments below, she shares her thoughts about her favorite albums.

1) The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed

“Pure organic sound, and attitude with great hooks.”

2) Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

“The greatest punk recording ever.”

Read the rest of Joan’s list HERE. The greatest thing about this list? Joan has covered songs from many of these albums over the years. See the evidence below. 🙂

Joan Jett – Let it Bleed (The Rolling Stones):

Joan Jett – Pretty Vacant (The Sex Pistols):

Joan Jett – Androgynous (The Replacements):

Joan Jett – Judy is a Punk (The Ramones):

Joan Jett – Friend to Friend (Lungfish):

Joan Jett – Ball and Chain (Social Distortion):

Joan Jett – Rebel Rebel (David Bowie):

Trans musician Laura Jane Grace collaborates with Joan Jett

“Soulmates to Strangers” is one of my favorites. I think it should be the next single!


laurajanegracejoanjett2THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Against Me singer and trans woman Laura Jane Grace collaborated with Joan Jett for a song on Jett’s latest CD, “Unvarnished”, which came out this week.

The song, “Soulmates to Strangers,” according to Jett in an interview in Rolling Stone, was an idea pitched by Grace to her following a conversation they had after doing a concert together last year. Jett’s band did gigs in the past with Against Me and she had always wanted to write with Grace.

Jett on Laura Jane Grace’s transition: I think it’s an extremely brave thing to do. It’s not easy to put yourself out there like that, but I’m sure she feels that she has no choice, the way she wants to live her life and the way she feels. I’m a friend no matter what.

Laura Jane Grace on Joan Jett:

Laura Jane Grace comes…

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Unvarnished is streaming on NOW

Click HERE to hear Unvarnished five days early! is streaming Unvarnished on their website from now until September 29th!

Here’s an excerpt from the site:

Aside from collaborating with the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and her longtime writing partner/producer Kenny Laguna, Jett also wrote with bandmates Dougie Needles and Thommy Price, a first that she’s especially excited about.

Once they finished writing in summer 2012, Jett and the band recorded the album’s 10 songs (and four bonus tracks) through the fall and spring. In crafting Unvarnished, the goal was to make the record “sound representative of what you’re going to hear at a live show,” Jett says. In order to achieve that, the band incorporated new tracks into its live sets before even stepping inside a recording studio. This allowed them to not only get a feel for the new material in a concert setting, but also gauge audience response.

Although one track, Everybody Needs a Hero, is a notable shift stylistically — incorporating strings, oboe and English horn — Unvarnished still boasts the signature sound fans have come to know and love from Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

“That (track) may surprise some people, but in general, (the album is) probably what people would expect from us,” Jett says. “Most of the songs are just straight up rock ‘n’ roll.”

Happy listening!

Laura Jane Grace’s Cosmopolitan article includes SWEET Joan Jett story

Against Me! is one of my favorite bands, thanks to Joan Jett. In 2006, when Joan had her Sirius satellite radio show, she would talk about them and play their music often. But I really got into them the first time I heard “I Was A Teenage Anarchist,” and then I had to run out and find all of their CDs. Sorry, Against Me!, you’re stuck with me now. 🙂

Laura Jane Grace, Against Me!’s singer, wrote an inspiring story for this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan about her first year as a woman. I’m not surprised that our Joanie is one of her biggest supporters.

My Ally, Joan Jett

One of the first people I received a letter of support from after coming out was Joan Jett, who I knew a little from doing the Warped Tour together in 2006. Joan is a hero of mine and a rock-and-roll pioneer. When she started out, the rock scene was predominantly male. She defied gender stereotypes all on her own. My daughter, Evelyn, is also a huge Joan Jett fan. She asks for Joan’s records to be played and adores her Joan Jett Barbie doll. Against Me! went through New York City on tour with The Cult in June, and I asked Joan if she’d sing a song with us. She and her band had covered The Replacements’ “Androgynous” onstage, and The Replacements are one of my all-time favorite bands. Joan was into the idea! Singing together onstage, I felt so confident and grateful for her support. Back on the tour bus after the show, I watched, astonished, as Joan Jett leaned down and tucked an excited Evelyn, who was supposed to be asleep, into bed.

Please read the rest here:

I wish there were pics of Joan with Evelyn — Joan is awesome with kids! Exhibit A:

Joan serenades Logan

Here’s the video of Joan singing “Androgynous” with Against Me! last year. Loved it!

Laura Jane is a phenomenal songwriter — check out “Soulmates to Strangers” live with The Blackhearts! Cannot WAIT to hear a recorded version of this!

♥ ♥ ♥ LOVE ♥ ♥ ♥


Dirty Deeds: 10 cover songs that are better than the originals

Verbicide Magazine published a list of cover songs that are better than the originals, and “Dirty Deeds” made the list! “Crimson and Clover” would have been a gimme; so glad they chose something from The Hit List.

Joan Jett Covers “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC

In 1990, Joan Jett released a cover record, The Hit List. And while she certainly compiled a great album, it’s hard to argue that her versions of songs such as CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” and the Sex Pistols‘ “Pretty Vacant” trumped the originals.

The album’s single, however, blows the original out of the water. Jett takes an overplayed, overrated band’s scummiest-sounding hit and turns it into something that is sexy and bad ass. She may be remembered for many other tunes, but “Dirty Deeds” deserves a spot on Jett’s roster of greatest hits.

I agree! Watch on YouTube.

Read the rest of the list HERE.

Joan’s covers are legendary (to us, anyway). Check out a blog I did a while back, Joan Jett’s Cover Tunes: Appreciating the Originals. This doesn’t even scratch the surface. 🙂

What’s YOUR favorite Joan Jett cover tune?


Article: Joan Jett IS Rock ‘n’ Roll

LOVE THIS. Excerpt from a Huffington Post article:

What I’ve come to understand as one of many truly extraordinary Joan Jett qualities is that she made the “extraordinary” an expectation for women musicians. When I was leaping around the house in 1984, I wasn’t challenging any societal norms; I just did what the woman on the record sleeve was doing, and I was far too young to realize that this was anything other than ordinary. It was as simple as that: with one turn of the record player, I grew up thinking that women were, and could always be, rock stars.

There’s been so much written about Joan Jett over the years and her influence on women guitarists and musicians — her paving the way for those who came after her — that I sometimes wonder if this commentary is doing her a disservice. It certainly should never be understated what she’s done for women musicians, though I’d argue that she would not have been able to shatter that glass ceiling, or at least begin to pound the hell out of it, had her music not already resonated as powerfully and universally as it did — and still does — with audiences.

Growing up in New York City, I had always aligned Ms. Jett with a Lower East Side punk scene, but I recently had the opportunity to see Joan Jett in concert in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Somewhere in the middle of the Isleta Pueblo Reservation, convened the most diverse concert audience I’ve ever seen: there were soldiers in and out of uniform, middle-aged moms with their pre-teen daughters, pre-teen girls and boys without their moms, leather-clad male biker groups, cowboys with crisp Stetsons and polished boots, big guys in football jerseys, a 20-something-year old roller-derby crew and senior citizens taking it easy in the back rows. And, these were just the folks I saw before the lights went down. By the time the houselights dimmed and Joan ripped into the opening chords of “Bad Reputation,” the 300-pounds-of-muscle security guards had abandoned their posts, while most of the audience abandoned their seats and pushed their way onto the floor and towards the stage.

That night, Joan Jett played the kind of straightforward rock ‘n’ roll that makes you remember everything that you love about rock ‘n’ roll. As pure as the music was, so was Ms. Jett’s character. She didn’t play for the audience; she played with the audience, and in doing so, she offered us a momentary release to throw our arms in the air, scream out lyrics to “Do You Wanna Touch Me” and “Crimson and Clover” until our voices disappeared, and created that beautifully rare opportunity to sweat out the day’s problems in exchange for rock ‘n’ roll.

The concert ended with a most fitting version of Sly Stone’s “Everyday People,” originally covered by Ms. Jett on her 1983 album, Album. I looked around at the hundreds of people singing and dancing, and thought about the lasting sense of authenticity and true belief in rock ‘n’ roll that Ms. Jett shares with audiences. That’s what I can only imagine most musicians would strive to have as their greatest legacy. With over 30 years in this business, Joan Jett is still the queen of rock ‘n’ roll — the humble queen of cool — and America’s rhythmic pulse beats stronger every day because of it.

Read the rest here:

I Love Rock-n-Roll turns 30 this year! ( just reminded me that I Love Rock-n-Roll turns 30 this year, because, technically, the album was released in 1981. I need to sit down. Hold on a sec.

*passes out* … *comes to*

Whew, OK. In a feature released today (“Joan Jett: 30 Years of Rock and Roll”), celebrates the 30th anniversary of ILRNR, and the Gibson Melody Maker guitar that brought this iconic album to life. Here’s a snippet:

To get a close-up look at how Jett and her scalding tone are wired, check out the album that elevated her from the club scene to arena and festival stages, I Love Rock ’n’ Roll, which was released 30 years ago but still smells like a fresh power-pop bouquet.

The disc featured the twin six-string attack of Jett and Ricky Byrd, although it’s Jett’s raging rhythms that drive the entire affair. Jett is known for using a Mesa-Boogie Mark III head with Marshall or Mesa cabinets as well as a Vox AC-30 in tandem, but, according to her current guitar foil Dougie Needles, she used a MusicMan 2×12 combo for her power playing on the album’s title track, turned up to “stun.”

Jett’s grounding in punk rock and her scholarly knowledge of ’60s garage rock and pop created the album’s overall blend of punk-inspired heat balanced by concision and mainstream accessibility.

The Arrows weren’t the only group from the past that Jett tapped for material. As the crafty hooks, classic pop length and focus on melody at the core of her own writing indicate, she is a student of great ’50s and ’60s pop-rock. So the I Love Rock ’n’ Roll album also features tunes originally cut by Tommy James and the Shondells (“Crimson and Clover”), the Dave Clark Five (“Bits and Pieces”), the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”), Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues”) and the Coasters (“Nag”). That the album’s original songs like “Love Is Pain” and “Be Straight” hold up to the chestnuts Jett covered is tribute to how well she absorbed the lessons of the past.

When it comes to guitar playing, Jett’s mantra remains “keep it simple, but effective.” Few artists have gotten, or continue to get, as much mileage out of down-stroked trimmed-to-the-core rhythm guitar as she does. Today Jett’s discography includes 14 studio albums, including 1995’s Evil Stig backed by the Gits, and half as many compilation discs.

Read the rest here:

Read more about the history of I Love Rock-n-Roll HERE. The album was released just before Christmas in 1981, so we have all year to plan the celebration! 😀

Joan Jett is on Kim Fowley’s list of top 10 L.A. guitarists tapped Kim Fowley for his list of top L.A. guitarists, and Joan Jett comes in at #3:

3. Joan Jett

No, don’t cluck your tongues. Joan Jett is the female John Lennon/Keith Richards who has never quite gotten her due. I produced her with the Runaways and always thought she was a genius with a guitar. You know her sound anywhere, and she had that right from the start. Lead guitars get all the credit, but Joan is one of the best rhythm players in all of rock’n’roll.


Read the rest, including some cool background info on Kim himself, here:

Follow @KimFowley on Twitter.