Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Joan Jett has been called godmother to female musicians with loud guitars and idealistic dreams by The New York Times, as well as the queen of punk, the original riot grrrl, and the last rock star.
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At age 15, Joan formed The Runaways, the seminal teenage rock group which changed the rules of rock and roll for girls. The band recorded five LPs with one -- the live album -- becoming one of the biggest selling records in Japan and a U.S. punk/rock classic, which still sells today.
Joan was still a teenager when The Runaways disbanded and she found herself in England and out of work. She was cutting some songs with The Sex Pistols, when her old manager called songwriter/producer Kenny Laguna to see if he could write some songs in a hurry with Joan Jett for a movie about The Runaways called We're All Crazee Now which ended up not coming out.
But Joan and Kenny clicked immediately through their common musical ideals. They entered The Who's Ramport Studios with Kenny at the helm. The result, Joan's solo debut, simply titled, Joan Jett, was released in Europe. Back in the United States, at least 23 major labels rejected the album. Joan and Kenny decided to release it independently on their own Blackheart Records label. Because of that, Joan Jett inadvertently became the first female performer to start her own record label.
Soon after, Joan formed The Blackhearts and she and Kenny were still pressing up records and selling them out of the trunk of their car. But the buzz had grown and they could not keep up with the demand for Joan's album. Neil Bogart made a joint venture with Kenny and signed Joan to his new label, Boardwalk Records. After a year of touring and recording, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts new single, I Love Rock 'N' Roll, went number one on the Billboard charts for 8 weeks in a row. It is now Billboard's #28 song of all time.
A string of Top 40 hits followed, as well as sellout tours. Joan was the first American act of any kind to perform behind the Iron Curtain and the first English-speaking rock band to appear in Panama and the Dominican Republic.
After receiving her own MTV New Years Eve Special, Joan beat out a number of contenders to appear in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox. Bruce Springsteen wrote the title song especially for her and Joan's performance was critically acclaimed.
Joan and The Blackhearts became the first rock band to perform a series of shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway, breaking the record at the time for the fastest ticket sell-out ever.
Joan's next release, Up Your Alley went multi-platinum and was followed by The Hit List which was an international hit.
In the 90's, Joan released Pure and Simple an album that boasted collaborations with riot grrrls Kathleen Hanna, Donita Sparks and Kat Bjelland. She made selected television appearances on such shows as Late Night With David Letterman. She then appeared in a movie by the producers of Pulp Fiction called Boogie Boy.
Joan made an album and did a tour with Evil Stig (Gits Live backwards) to help fund the investigation of the murder of Gits lead singer, Mia Zapata. Joan made appearances on America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries to help keep the search going. The killer was arrested in 2003.
Joan's cover of Love is All Around (the Mary Tyler Moore theme) became an anthem in women's sports. Joan supplied theme songs for the premiere ESPN X-Games and has contributed music to all the games since.
In 2001, Joan returned to Broadway to star in the original cast of “The Rocky Horror Show”, in the role of Columbia, for which she received rave reviews. She also appeared in the independent films, By Hook or by Crook, Mayor of the Sunset Strip and The Sweet Life, the latter of which won Best Romantic Comedy at the 2003 NY International Film and Video Festival. Bad Reputation became the theme song to the hit NBC show Freaks and Geeks. Joan also made major musical contributions to hit films such as Shrek, Charlie's Angels, and Monster.
She produced The Germs seminal punk album G.I., as well as tracks for Bikini Kill and Dischord Records' Circus Lupus. Over the years she has invited everyone from R.E.M., Social Distortion and The Butthole Surfers to open for her. During Joan's career, the range of people that she's worked with, or who have admired her and cited her as an inspiration, is as eclectic as it is boundless. She has had songs written both for her and about her.
Ever wanting to spread the word of great rock and punk music, Joan has found a bully pulpit on Sirius Radio with her satellite radio show, Radio Revolution with Joan Jett, part of Little Steven's Underground Garage Network.
In the same spirit, in this 25th anniversary year of Blackheart Records, she signed
The Eyeliners to her label and released their CD, No Apologies. While on tour, Joan discovered Cleveland punk band, The Vacancies, and signed them to her label. Joan and Kenny produced their recently released CD, A Beat Missing or a Silence Added, which is receiving critical praise from the likes of The Boston Globe and Alternative Press.
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