Joan Jett

Rock | 2006

As a teenager growing up in Hollywood, California, Joan Jett gained attention as the guitarist, main songwriter and, eventually, lead singer of the pioneering all-women pre-punk band The Runaways. After the Runaways disbanded in 1979, Jett produced an album for Los Angeles punk rock band The Germs and then embarked on a solo career. She and manager/co-writer Kenny Laguna created their own independent record label, Blackheart Records, to release recordings by her new band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. With the Blackhearts, Jett had several singles in the Top 10, including the number one “I Love Rock ’n Roll” (originally by The Arrows), as well as covers of Tommy James’ “Crimson and Clover,” and Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me.” One of her signature songs, “Bad Reputation,” has an accompanying video that tells the story of the rejection of Jett by major labels and the creation of her own record label. Jett, who has been a longtime resident of Long Island, returned to producing in the early 1990s and is active in politics—she was a legislative delegate for Nassau County during the 2004 election. Her last album, Unvarnished, was released in 2013.

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