Quick! Women in rock and roll! Who popped into your head? I’ll go ahead and assume it was someone along the lines of Janis Joplin, Big Mama Thornton, Carole King, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Pat Benatar, and if you have a pulse and you’ve listened to music a handful of times in your life, Joan Jett. Joan is known for being a world renowned bad ass rock and roll chick with hits like “Bad Reputation”, “I Love Rock and Roll”, and “Hate Myself for Loving You”. What may be less known is Joan’s long a grueling climb to the top and just how difficult it was for the Queen of Noise to acquire her title.
Joan Marie Larkin received her first guitar when she was 14 years old. At age 15 she formed her first band, The Runaways. The Runaways was one of the first all-female rock and roll bands and fought throughout their short-lived career to be taken seriously. They were young, rebellious women striving to succeed in a 1970’s male dominated rock industry with bands along the lines of AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. With a few hits and having received three gold records in Japan, there was undeniable tumultuous relationships forming between the girls. In 1977 The Runaways were dropped from their label and it was the official end of Jett’s first band.
After the devastating demise of her first band and a small taste of true success, Joan was faced with the question many young adults face, “What’s next?” After deciding to move forward with a solo career, no one could have prepared Jett for the difficult path that lied ahead. Joan Jett was rejected by 23 different record labels. In true rock and roll “F you” spirit, Joan refused to give in. In 1980 she founded Blackheart Records and became the first female to own and have direct control over an independent record company.
Officially landing on her feet, Joan Jett hit the ground running with her first successful solo single, “Bad Reputation”. After the success of her first single she went on to write songs such as, “Hate Myself for Loving You” and to cover smash hits like, “I Love Rock and Roll” and, “Crimson and Clover.” Jett continued as a singer and songwriter with her band The Blackhearts and performs all over the world to this very day. Along with being a hit maker, Joan paved the way for female performers as well as women entering male dominated industries. Joan Jett is not only an inspiration for women and musicians but a reminder of just how far hard work and determination can carry you.
“Joan Jett.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.
“Joan Jett Biography.” Rolling Stone. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.