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Released: 1981. Digitally remastered re-release with bonus tracks, 1992, 1996 (German), 1998, 2003 (Japan mini LP). Originally released as "Joan Jett", 1980
Produced by: Kenny Laguna, Ritchie Cordell, Steve Jones, Paul Cook
Additional Musicians: Kenny Laguna, Paul Simmons, Lea Hart, Jeff Peters, Ritchie Cordell, Martyn Watson, Buzz Chanter, Frank Infante, Louie Maxfield, Richard D'Andrea, Joel Turissi, Rainbow, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Mick Eve, Jeff Bannister, John Earle, Commander Goonwaddle, Johnny Gash, Sean Tyla, Clem Burke, Micky Groome
Recording for Joan Jett's first post Runaways LP began in March of 1979 at Chappell Studios in England. "After the Runaways broke up, I was devastated. I didn't know what I was gonna do with my life," Joan Jett remembers. "The Sex Pistols, one of my favorite bands, had broken up by then, too, so I gave Steve Jones and Paul Cook a call and said, 'You wanna cut a couple of side with me and produce' They said yeah." Of the three songs that were recorded, "You Don't Own Me" and "Don't Abuse Me were included on the album. "I Love Rock N' Roll" was also recorded and appeared as the b-side of the "You Don't Own Me" single released in Holland in 1979.
"I Love Rock N' Roll" would later be recorded with Jett's band, the Blackhearts, and would spend eight weeks at number one on the Billboard charts.
Jett describes the sessions, "It was very easy. I found them to be extremely professional and really into what they were doing. They were very concerned about making a good record and we had a lot of fun. We were laughing the whole time. It was really, really great to work with them."
The next sessions took place at Fidelity Recorders in Studio City, CA in August of 1979. This is the same studio where Jett had recorded the first Runaways album. The recordings were produced by Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell, who had played on or produced many hits by 1910 Fruitgum Co., The Ohio Express, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Lemon Pipers and many more.
Joan remembers, "After recording with Steve Jones and Paul Cook, I produced an LA punk band called the Germs. Then I did a movie, which was a take-off of the Runaways that never came out. My old manager knew Kenny Laguna from working with the Steve Gibbons Band, and asked him to fly to LA to help me work on the soundtrack for this movie. Kenny grabbed Ritchie Cordell and they flew out to LA. Within two days we'd written eight songs and recorded them for the movie. We became instant friends. It was just one of those friendships made in heaven."
The songs recorded were "You Don't Know What You've Got," "I Want You," "I'll Never Get Away," "We're All Crazze Now," "What Can I Do For You," and "You Can't Get Me" (acoustic and electric versions). Only "You Don't Know What You've Got" made it to the LP. Kenny Laguna recalls the session, "This was the song that I fell in love with Joan over. She reminded me of Darlene Love. Not that they sounded alike, it was that reckless abandon, the ability to just let it go."
"What Can I Do For You," was recorded at these sessions and makes its first LP appearance here as a bonus cut. "That song was a really, really old idea," says Laguna. "I wrote it in high school when I was 16. It was influenced by the Beatles' "Hold Me Tight." It was my attempt to rewrite that song."
Later that year, in December of 1979, Jett, Laguna and Cordell continued recording at the Who's Ramport Studios in England. The sessions were engineered by Mark Dodson, who would become famous for producing Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies.
Going back into their collective pasts, Jett and Laguna chose from a wide mix of influences. Two of Gary Glitter's songs, "Doing Alright with the Boys" and "Do You Wanna Touch Me," were recorded. Jett reveals the inspiration, "I was a big fan of early 70's British Glitter Music. I find that type of music very sensual because it's all basically bass and drums and audience response things, where you have yeahs and singing and chants."
"When we did the album, Kenny used an English band that he had worked with a lot to do the basic tracks. Towards the end of the album, Blondie was in town and I was talking to Clem Burke and Frank Infante, and asked 'If you get a chance, why don't you come down to the studio and play on a song?' They came down twenty minutes before they had to do a sound check, and we had no song to do. Kenny said, 'Why don't we do "Wooly Bully?'" We learned it right on the spot and it came out so well that we put it on the album. It was just a spur of the moment thing." Infante and Burke also played on "Call Me Lightning" by the Who. "Call Me Lightning" the non-LP b-side of the single, "Make Believe," makes it's first LP appearance here as a bonus cut.
Laguna, a former member of Tommy James and the Shondells visited his past with the Shondells' "Hanky Panky." Jett picks up the story, "We were just messing around, I always liked that song and it was a lot of fun and I did the lead guitar solo." "Hanky Panky" was only on European pressing of the LP, but appears here as bonus cut.
Some additional recording was also done on "You Don't Know What You've Got" at Fidelity's August 1979 session as well as the new Jett/Laguna original, "Jezebel." In January of 1980, recording continued with the Jett/ Laguna original, "Let Me Go," in addition to "Make Believe" and "Too Bad On Your Birthday."
The LP was completed in March of 1980 with the recording of the Jett/Laguna composition "Bad Reputation," which would eventually become the title for the LP. "We wrote that song because after the Runaways, I seemed to come out with the worst reputation. I was the Runaways that would swear the most and I had the biggest mouth. People would say 'Oh Joan Jett from the Runaways, she's got a bad reputation.' So actually, they gave us the idea."
Joan Jett's first post Runaways LP, originally titled, Joan Jett, was initially released in 1980 on the German label Ariola, and in the US on Blackheart Records. In 1981, the album was re-titled Bad Reputation and released on Boardwalk Records. This reissue features a previously unreleased mix of "You Don't Own Me" and a live version of "Bad Reputation" with members of the Ramones. Kenny Laguna explains, "After years of Joan Jett and the Blackheart, the Runaways, and the Ramones playing shows together, Joan and the "Remains" (of the Ramones) finally got together on stage and on tape, at a charity show in New York for WLIR. When Joey Ramone went to the hospital just before an anticipated reunion with the Ramones was about to take place, Joan filled in for Joey with a couple of her songs that the Ramones "beat" was made for!" -- Danny Solazzi
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