Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

I Love Rock 'N Roll Press Kit, 1981

The following is the original text and photos from Boardwalk Record's Press Kit for "I Love Rock 'N Roll" sent to media outlets in 1981:

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Media Information
The Boardwalk Entertainment Co
9884 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Beverly Hills, California 90210

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts

In the early 70's, Joan Jett put together The Runaways -- one of the first all-girl rock and roll bands who, unlike those of the early 60's, played their own instruments and wrote their own material. The Runaways recorded five albums, with one, Live In Japan, remaining one of the best-selling imports in U.S. and U.K. history.

In 1980, Joan started all over again when she put together her current band. The Blackhearts, with Joan on guitar, Gary Ryan on bass, Lee Crystal on drums and Ricky Byrd on guitar, have spent two years relentlessly touring and recording. In the earliest days of this group, though, they toured with little money for food or comfortable accommodations; they trudged on, building a following and perfecting their live show to achieve the popularity they now have. Jett recalls having to sleep on floors on freezing nights and steal breakfast off other people's room service trays, but she goes on, "That didn't dampen my spirit. Things like that just make me want to work harder."

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Joan was also among the first artists to start her own record company. When no major U.S. label offered a deal to her satisfaction, Jett used her own savings to start Blackheart Records. She had teamed up with producers Kenny Laguna and Ritchie Cordell to record her first album Bad Reputation (originally titled Joan Jett) for the German Ariola label. Laguna had produced acts like Jonathan Richman, Greg Kihn, Steve Gibbons and was a prime motivator behind countless hits by bands such as Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Crazy Elephant, Jay And The Americans, etc.. Cordell had written and produced 18 worldwide superhits such as "I Think We're Alone Now," "Mony Mony," "Tighter and Tighter," "Indian Giver" and "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'."

Musicians such as Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Paul Cook and Blondie's Clem Burke and Frank Infante helped out, making Bad Reputation as important a rock and roll album as one would expect from such an experienced crew. As an import, it sold over 22,000 copies within weeks of its release, and when the domestic record stores were clamoring for more copies, Joan had it pressed on Blackheart Records rather than giving in to any contract not worthy of a record which, as Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "redefines classic themes of rock and roll -- anger, frustration, alienation -- into a hard-bitten, but distinctly female perspective."

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During the first week of release on what was barely a label, the album was Record World's 9th most added FM airplay disc, competing during the height of the Christmas season with major acts like Bruce Springsteen, Cheap Trick, The Eagles and Steely Dan for precious airplay time. The demand for copies still far outnumbered those available when Joan got together with Neil Bogart and signed with Boardwalk Records, where she remains with her current release, I Love Rock 'N Roll.

Along with the record sales, her concerts went from typical $250 a night club dates to major events in every city she played, selling out night after night, and even having to turn thousands of fans away from the already jampacked rooms. As The New York Post's Ed Naha explained, each of her live shows left "... a sonic boom of power-pop and hard-nosed rock in their wake."

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On I Love Rock 'N Roll, Jett proves she can handle the whole rock and roll spectrum. Whether performing classic pop hits like "Crimson and Clover" and "Bits and Pieces" or Jett originals such as "You're Too Possessive," "Run Away," and "Victim of Circumstance," Jett's ability and now recognizable hard-rocking style make the entire record what is sure to become another classic rock album.

In spite of all Joan Jett has meant to rock and roll, it is only recently that she has received any recognition for her nonstop efforts. "I think people are starting to respect me..." she states modestly. What Joan Jett neglects to add is that she made people respect her by earning it.

--Written by Laura Kaufman for Jett Lag Productions

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