Joan Jett performs at "Geezer" Premiere - 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

She was born Joan Marie Larkin, but the world came to know and love her as Joan Jett. She was a founding member of the all-female rock band The Runaways at the age of 16. The band also included lead guitarist Lita Ford, drummer Sandy West, Jackie Fox on bass, and lead singer Cherie Currie. A 2010 biopic called The Runaways starred Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as Currie.

From The Runaways To The Blackhearts

The Runaways’ career lasted about four years. The band enjoyed more success overseas than in the United States. They were especially popular in Japan, thanks to their 1976 single, “Cherry Bomb.” By 1979, Joan Jett was ready to go out on her own. She put together a new band, the Blackhearts; her own record label; and a career that took her all the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Joan Jett is not one to rest on her laurels. She’s still touring, recording, and advocating for animal rights. While Joan is famous for her hard driving sound, her 2022 album, Changeup, features acoustic versions of 25 songs from her career. The collection includes one of her earliest solo singles, “Bad Reputation.” She followed that with the 6 song EP, Mindsets, in 2023. It was first new material from the Blackhearts in a decade.

Joan Jett On Screen

Joan also had a big presence on MTV in the ’80s. The camera loved her and she parlayed that into numerous film and television roles. She made her acting debut in the 1987 film, Light of Day, with Gena Rowlands and Michael J. Fox. Joan also appeared in episodes of Highlander: The Series; Ellen; Walker, Texas Ranger; and Law & Order: Criminal Intent; as well as in the stage musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A couple of Joan Jett’s songs have found their way onto TV, too. The 1999 series Freaks and Geeks used Joan’s song, “Bad Reputation,” as its opening theme. In 2006, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” was reworked as “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night,” the theme song for NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Check out the Throwback Threesome with Joan Jett’s biggest videos below!

  • Bad Reputation (1980)

    The title track from her first post-Runaways solo album, “Bad Reputation” was released in 1980. However, the video wasn’t made until 1982, after the huge success of Joan’s next single, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.” The video includes a re-enactment of multiple record labels rejecting Joan’s first solo album. In 2021, “Bad Reputation” was listed at No. 249 on Rolling Stone’s “Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and remains one of Jett’s signature song. You can hear a bit of “Bad Reputation” at the beginning of Joan’s video for “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.”

  • I Love Rock 'n Roll (1982)

    This is the song that cemented Joan Jett’s status as a solo star. “I Love Rock & Roll” was originally recorded by the Arrows, a British rock band, in 1975. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, released their version as the first single from their album of the same name in January of 1982. It went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts all over the world. In 1983, Weird Al Yankovic recorded the ice cream-themed parody, “I Love Rocky Road,” for his debut album. According to Songfacts, Joan wasn’t a fan.

  • I Hate Myself For Loving You (1988)

    NFL football fans get pumped up when they hear this one. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” was released as the lead single from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ sixth studio album, Up Your Alley. Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones, played the guitar solo on the recording. The song went to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and all the way to number 1 in Zimbabwe. In 2006, Pink re-recorded the song as “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Faith Hill took over in 2007, followed by Carrie Underwood in 2013.

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