I Love Rock 'N Roll
Click on song title links for the lyrics to that song.
Released: 1981. Digitally remastered re-release with bonus tracks, 1992, 1996 (Germany), 1998, 2003 (Japan mini LP), 2004.
The Blackhearts :
Gary Ryan , Ricky Byrd, Lee Crystal, Eric Ambel, Joan Jett
Produced by: Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell
I Love Rock N' Roll was Joan`s most successful album to date. The title single spent eight weeks at number 1 on the American Billboard chart, and the album sold over ten million copies. Early copies of the album, which was released just before Christmas 1981, featured the Christmas song "Little Drummer Boy" but, since it made little sense to have such a song on an album outside the holiday period, it was quickly replaced with "Oh Woe is Me".
A digitally remastered version of the album, featuring three bonus songs, was released in 1992. A second re-release with additional bonus tracks was released in 1998.
Recording for this album began at ODO (Soundworks Studio) in New York City on June 23, 1981. Joan Jett recalls, "When I came back from England, after recording the Bad Reputation album, I had to get a band together because I have to be on the road. I advertised for "Three good men to play bass, drums and guitar - No Show-Offs, Please." We came up with bassist Gary Ryan, guitarist Eric Ambel, and drummer Danny O'Brian and went back to England to do a tour."
After returning from the tour, the newly formed group, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, replaced drummer O'Brian with Lee Crystal and recording began at ODO (Soundworks) on the Jett compositions "I Love Playin' With Fire," "Wait For Me" and "You're Too Possessive" from Joan's days with The Runaways, as well as the newly penned "Victim of Circumstance," "Be Straight" (co-written with Greg Kihn and manager/producer Kenny Laguna), and "Love Is Pain."
This time around the songs included "I Love Rock N' Roll," a song Jett had tried to get The Runaways to record, and had attempted two years previously with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols, as well as Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover."
Laguna, who was once a member of The Shondells, was not the catalyst behind recording "Crimson and Clover" as one might expect. Jett explains, "It was my idea because I always loved that song. It was fun to sing. We were in Washington, DC, doing a soundcheck, just messing around and we did the song. After we were done, all the security people just freaked out applauding."
The Blackhearts also did a take on the Christmas classic "Little Drummer Boy." Jett continues, "I get a lot of ideas from England, and a lot of English bands do Christmas singles. I thought it would be great to do a Christmas song and "Little Drummer Boy" just seemed to fit ."
Of all the songs recorded at these sessions, only "Crimson and Clover" and "Little Drummer Boy" appeared on the LP. Both songs were recorded in one take, including the lead vocal. "I Love Playing With Fire" would later be re-recorded for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 1983 LP entitled Album. "Wait For Me" would be re-recorded for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 1991 LP, Notorious. "Rebel, Rebel" remains unreleased, although a later attempt at the song was released on the 'odds and sods' album, Flashback.
The remaining songs were later re-recorded at Kingdom Sound in Syosset, NY with guitarist Ricky Byrd, who had joined the Blackhearts one week prior to these sessions, replacing Eric Ambel.
Needing one more song to complete the LP, "I'm Gonna Run Away" was recorded at Kingdom on September 9, 1981. Jett and Laguna felt that there was such a marked improvement in the studio sound on that track, they decided to re-record "Be Straight," "Bits & Pieces," "Love Is Pain," "Victim Of Circumstance," "I Love Rock N' Roll," "Nag," and "You're Too Possessive." Jett recalls, "We had been doing these songs live for quite a while before we decided to make a record. We got three-quarters finished when we decided to change studios. Everything at Kingdom sounded so much more ballsy-loud and real crunchy."
Additional recording was done on "Crimson and Clover." Laguna recalls, "We wanted to do something different with our sold out New York City concert at the Pier, so we found the original Coasters (Poison Ivy, Charlie Brown, Yackety Yak, Smokey Joe's Cafe) and hired them to open the show. The Jett-heads went crazy at the sound of these pioneer rockers.
This led to their appearance on The Halos "Nag" which was a knock off of the Coasters' sound in the first place. When the original I Love Rock n' Roll album was re-recorded in only one week following the replacement of Eric Ambel by Ricky Byrd, the version of "Nag" featuring the original 'Carl Gardner' Coasters and Speedo from The Cadillacs, was lost. After all these years, the tape was found in the archives and remastered in 1998! This historical version makes it's first appearance here as a bonus track. Will 'Dub' Jones from the Coasters also added low vocals on "Little Drummer Boy."
The LP, released during the Christmas season, would soon become a collector's item. Initial copies contained "Little Drummer Boy" but when the season ended, "Drummer Boy" was replaced by the Jett composition, "Oh Woe Is Me" (which also appeared as the b-side of "Crimson and Clover"). Sessions for "Oh Woe Is Me" took place in February of 1982 at Nola Studios. This package marks the first appearance of both "Little Drummer Boy" and "Oh Woe Is Me" together.
"Louie Louie" was recorded on September 30, 1981 at Kingdom Studios as a favor to Boardwalk president, Neil Bogart and has been previously unreleased. Jett recorded the song under protest. She explains, "This was a song I did not want to do. But Neil Bogart (who had given me a shot when nobody else would) asked me to, so we did. All that stuff at the beginning of the song is me trying to insure that the song would suck. Didn't work. I thought it came out well."
Recording for "You Don't Know What You've Got" took place on January 3, 1982. The song originally appeared on Joan Jett's previous LP, Bad Reputation, but this version, which was basically recorded live in the studio, was first released as the b-side of the "I Love Rock N' Roll" single. The little girl who says "I Love Rock N' Roll" at the beginning of the song is Kenny Laguna's daughter, Carianne, who was two years old at the time.
"Summertime Blues," recorded at Media Sound, was another request of Boardwalk Record's president, Neil Bogart. Laguna remembers recording the song, "Neil thought this song sounded like a follow-up to "Bad Reputation." We recorded it for him, but he never put it out. We got frustrated and sent the tapes to all the AOR stations, without the label's knowledge. The record went to top ten at AOR. Bogart flipped out when he saw in the trades that there was a song out on his label that he didn't know about."
I Love Rock N'Roll was initially released on Boardwalk Records in 1981. The "I Love Rock N' Roll" single spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts. "Crimson and Clover" was a Top Ten single. The I Love Rock N' Roll album has sold nearly ten million copies to date. -- Danny Solazzi
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