I’ll never forget it. I was alone at home watching my usual Saturday morning programme – a fun show that included a lot of music – and they were showing the new videos for the week and I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll was showcased. I was blown away. I’m a rock chick and the early 80′s was a little at sea, musically. Disco was ending and there was a merely a whiff of what would become new wave and at this point in time all I wanted was more KISS (or ABBA). Anyway, the below video played and I thought Joan Jett was the coolest chick I’d ever seen and I was elated that there was a rock chick, as at this point (I was 12) I had no idea there was* because in the 70′s all there seemed to be was pop, glam rock and disco.
Joan became instantly popular and her records I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll and Bad Reputation sold like wildfire so, naturally, Joan toured and she was my second live concert ever and first as as a teen. She was amazing live, I have to say. Extremely energetic and had a couple of good humorous quips between songs and she sounded great! After the show, my brother and I hung around with several other kids hoping to catch her exiting the building – and we did. She was gracious enough to sign autographs before being whisked away and my brother and I were on a high that lasted for days.
Joan’s next efforts Album and the perfect Glorious Results of a Mispent Youth were excellent and even amongst the frenzy of 80′s pop, Joan continued to do well and be popular. The popularity seemed to fizzle by 1985, however and Good Music didn’t seem to do as well as it could have.
Joan ventured into film, as many probably know and the result was Light of Day co-staring the then wildly popular Michael J. Fox who seemed desperate to shake his teen idol image. Naturally we went to see it and while Joan was good I felt she sort of played herself while Gena Rowlands and Michael McKean seemed to steal the show. I usually enjoy gritty type movies but I was disappointed in Light of Day as it was depressing and not really that enjoyable. Despite the signature song doing fairly well, Joan’s popularity continued to decline.
It wasn’t until 1988 that Joan blasted back with I Hate Myself For Loving You from the album Up Your Alley. Sadly, it didn’t last and only a ‘true’ fan followed her on from there. However, Joan was popular in the 80′s; widely so in the earlier part of the decade and thus, aside me being a fan, deserves a spot on the 80′s cool list because if it’s one thing Joan Jett is, it’s cool.
*Suzi’s Quatro’s portrayal of Leather Tuscadero introduced me to rock chicks and I absolutely adored the character. However, being young and unknowledgeable, I had no idea Suzi was actually a rock star and it wasn’t until Joan praised her endlessly in an interview that I realized she was, and I immediately asked my mum for her albums (I was 12 and had no income), as I was at least able to put together that the songs she sang on Happy Days were hers. [btw, my parents bought me Status Quo albums as well because y'know...they both begin with S and Q and yeah...Despite me being exasperated at the twice made mistake, I eventually thought it cute].