Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Bad Reputation Nation

May 2011 News

Page updated on May 31, 2011
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Hail Hail Rock'n'Roll: 10 Great Rock Songs about Rock and Roll

Much of rock and roll, from its earliest days, has revolved around adrenaline-stoked energy and a sense of jubilation. It's hardly surprising, therefore, that some of rock's greatest songs celebrate the genre itself. From Bill Haley and The Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" to the Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll" ("her life was saved by rock and roll," sang Lou Reed), the genre has yielded countless anthems that pay homage to rock's visceral power. Below are 10 of the very best.

"Rock and Roll Music" (Chuck Berry)
The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Humble Pie are among the many bands that have covered this Chuck Berry classic. In his autobiography, Berry wrote about how he came up with the song. "I was heavy into rock and roll and had to create something that hit the spot without question," Berry said. "I wanted the lyrics to define every aspect of its being." Interestingly, The Beatles happened to record their version on Berry's 38th birthday.

JOAN JETT saw The Arrows perform this classic on a TV show in 1976, while she was on tour with The RUNAWAYS. Her first stab at a cover version was done with The Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Paul Cook, in 1979. Twenty-three record labels turned Jett down as she shopped the track in an effort to jumpstart her solo career. At last, in 1981, she re-recorded the song with The BLACKHEARTS and released it on her own label. Today, the song is worth millions.

"It's Only Rock Ôn Roll (But I Like It)" Ð The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger summed up the idea behind this title track from The Rolling Stones' 1974 album as follows: "The idea of the song [had] to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, 'Oh, it's not as good as their last one' business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a lighthearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing." The original unreleased version featured David Bowie on backing vocals.

"Old Time Rock and Roll" Ð Bob Seger
The 1983 movie, Risky Business, ensured that this classic song would be forever etched in the memories of anyone who saw that film. "Old Time Rock and Roll" is one of the few songs Seger has recorded that he himself didn't write. The song was composed by Thomas Jones and George Jackson, although Seger did change some of the lyrics. "I rewrote the verses and I never took credit [for that]," Seger later said, in a 2006 radio interview. "That was the dumbest thing I ever did."


JOAN JETT rocks Scriber Lake High School

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Musician JOAN JETT rocked the house during an assembly at Scriber Lake High School Monday afternoon, but not with her music. She just talked. Not as an adult swooping in with lofty plans to educate the students, but as a fellow human being just trying to be herself rather than conform to someone else's ideas and plans. And she had them eating out of her hand.

Scriber Lake teacher Greg Lange saw the movie "The RUNAWAYS," based on Jett's days with her first band of the same name, and was struck by the similarities between Jett and his students. A kid who didn't fit in during her teenage years, Jett was teased and picked on by others, just like many of the students at Edmonds' alternative high school. But she perservered, seeing her differences as strengths, and went on to become a bona fide rock star -- and one of only two women named to Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Lange thought Jett would be the perfect person to encourage the students. So he simply wrote her a letter and asked her to come. Jett was touched by the letter and loved the idea. And since she was scheduled to play a concert in Tacoma Saturday night, she agreed to come speak to the kids Monday.

Jett and long-time friend and business partner KENNY LAGUNA didn't follow notes or have a tight, three-point talk as they took the microphones. They just told stories from Joan's life and she shared her heart in an effort to encourage the eager crowd.

Jett, who always loved music and "thought being in a rock and roll band would be cool," grew up on the East Coast and received a guitar from her parents for her 13th birthday. After the family moved to California, Jett began to believe she "might be able to make this dream a reality."

And she did, starting The RUNAWAYS at the tender age of 17. Traveling the world and playing with the RUNAWAYS was Jett's "dream come true."


Rock star JOAN JETT visits Edmonds high school

low resolution image Not Enlargeable EDMONDS, Wash. -- Need a way to get students to listen at school? How about inviting a rock star.

That's exactly what happened at Scriber Lake Alternative High School in Edmonds. The school, which enrolls students who are at risk of dropping out or have learning disabilities, hosted JOAN JETT Monday afternoon.

Jett, 53, is legendary rock star who formed the band "The RUNAWAYS" as a teenager in 1970s in Los Angeles. She overcame adversity and became one of the first female rock and roll artists. But after making it big with hits like "I Love Rock and Roll" and "Cherry Bomb," she decided to go back to school and get her GED.

"I said, 'This person has a vision that I want my kids to see,'" said Gary Lange, English teacher at Scriber Lake.

On a chance, Lange sent emails to Jett's longtime manager KENNY LAGUNA. To Lange's surprise, he got a response, and then confirmation that Jett wanted to visit the school.

"I thought, 'You've got to be kidding!'" said Lange. "We are a little high school in Washington state and you are going to take me up on my request!?"


Ten Melody Maker Monsters: JOAN JETT, Keith Richards, Paul Westerburg, Robbie Krieger And More

"Light, but full of bite" is an apt description of the Gibson Melody Maker -- a lean, mean rock machine since its introduction in 1959. Over the decades these fierce little beasts have been seen and heard in the hands of a gallery of six-string greats that includes Keith Richards, Robbie Krieger, John Lee Hooker, Joe Perry, Mick Jones, JOAN JETT and Rory Gallagher.

The guitar was simple from the start. All the electronics were mounted on a single plate that was popped in place at Gibson Guitar's original Kalamazoo factory, and the body was a single, thin slab of mahogany with a wraparound tailpiece and the trademark Gibson beveled headstock. It was a no-nonsense plug-and-play machine with a pair of P-90 pickups ready to dial up monster tone.

The original Melody Maker production run, which spanned 1959 to 1971, offered both single cutaway and double cutaway body styles. And when the line was revived from 1977 to 1983 -- after all, it was the perfect guitar for the punk rock era, and Melody Makers turned up in the hands of both the New York Dolls' and Television's six-stringers -- it featured double cutaways. The 1986 to 1988 run featured humbuckers, both singles and doubles, and like the previous run advanced to the Tune-o-matic bridge.


"Women Who Rock" exhibit opens May 13 at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

low resolution image Not Enlargeable Sure, there have been female stars over the years such as Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Lesley Gore, the Supremes, Madonna and Janet Jackson, but the distaff side was usually far outnumbered when it came to high chart rankings.

"Women have more power these days," said Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "They have more legal power, more power within the music industry. I think it's gone along with the rest of society and culture."

As such, Onkey and the rest of the Rock Hall staff is set to open May 13 the new main exhibit "Women Who Rock," which traces female music makers from the start of recorded music to today. The exhibit takes in women in the fields of country, rock, dance pop, blues and other forms of music.

It includes items like the Gibson guitar mother Maybelle Carter played with the Carter Family in the first half of the 20th century, when the family pioneered country music, to the piano a young Lady Gaga played while growing up in New York in the 1990s while going by her given name Stefani Germanotta. In between are costumes, handwritten lyrics by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro, guitars played by rockers such as JOAN JETT and other artifacts.

Onkey said the Rock Hall's leaders had been discussing the idea of a women's exhibit for a few years, but that the decision to move forward with it was made last summer. The Rock Hall had in its archives about 40 percent of what makes up the exhibit, so it began in 2010 the process of reaching out to artists and their management for the remainder of what is being shown.


'Women Who Rock' opens at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

CLEVELAND - Women will be taking center stage at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

The new exhibit, called "Women Who Rock" will be celebrating more than 70 women who have contributed to the world of rock music. This includes female performers, producers and composers alike.

Assistant curator Meredith Rutledge has dreamed of having an exhibit dedicated to the women of rock and roll.

"If you look at the charts now, woman are unquestionably dominant. Our time has come," said Rutledge.

A special booth has been set up called "Share Your Story." Visitors can record a brief message relating an experience about how women in rock have influenced them.

Among some of the items on display is the feathered head dress worn by Cher from her "Half Breed" recording. Outfits from Chrissie Hynde, Britney Spears and JOAN JETT are also on display.

Various instruments are displayed such as Wanda Jackson's acoustic guitar and hand written lyrics from the RUNAWAYS hit "Cherry Bomb."

The "Women Who Rock" exhibit will be on display until February 2012. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located at 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd. in Cleveland, Ohio.

For more inormation you can visit their website at

First exhibit dedicated to female artists opens Friday

Goodbye to the Boss. Say Hello to the Queen...Aretha Franklin. Don't stop there. Say Hello to Grace Slick, Tina Turner, JOAN JETT, Madonna and many more.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum unveils its latest major exhibit this Friday, May 13thcalled "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power". This massive display will illustrate the important roles women have played in rock and roll from its inception through today, replacing the Bruce Springsteen exhibit which ran for nearly two years on the Hall's top two floors.

"I don't think people realize that women like Ma Rainey and others were actually making blues records before men." Rock Hall curator Jim Henke told me during a phone interview last week. "The problem was they were discriminated against by men who controlled the radio stations and record companies and they couldn't get their records played."

"Visitors are going to walk away from this exhibit with a deeper appreciation of how these artists contributed to the rock and roll art form and changed our society."

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