Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then relocated to Rockville, Maryland, Joan Larkin’s journey to becoming Joan Jett began in 1971 when she received her first guitar when she was thirteen years old. When her music teacher insisted to teach her folk music, Joan quit just before she and her family moved to a suburban community in Los Angeles, California. This move served as a better gateway for Joan to explore further into musical training with her guitar that suited her interests. After her parents divorced, Joan adopted the last name, Jett, feeling this had a better rockstar sound to it than Larkin. In 1975, Joan Jett’s career started off in the glam-rock genre, one which featured a style of music she loved most. She founded her first rock band, Runaways, which had a run from 1976 until 1979. She went solo, but soon it was Joan Jett & the Blackhearts where she’d earn the label “godmother of punk” by the press, music critics, and her fans. Throughout her career, Joan Jett has produced fourteen studio albums, eight compilation albums, six extended plays (EPs), thirty music videos, and forty-four singles. She also has a 1995 collaborative album, (Evil Stig), with a band she used to be with, The Gits.
Joan Jett’s tenth studio album, (Naked), was released in 2004 and only to the Japanese market. The album features cover songs of 1984’s (Androgynous) by The Replacements, plus a punked-up version of (Science Fiction/Double Feature) from 1973’s Rocky Horror Picture Show, and 1966’s (Season of the Witch) from Donovan. The rest is original material, but nothing officially released as a single meant for the music charts.
Released on August 20, 1991, (Notorious) was Joan Jett’s eighth studio album, as well as among her lowest-rated by fans and music critics alike. The single, (Backlash), charted at number forty on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, which was only one out of the four singles released from the album that seemed successful. (Don’t Surrender), (Treadin’ Water), and (The Only Good Thing You Ever Said Was Goodbye) did not receive enough airplay, nor interest, to find themselves on any of the music charts.
10. Pure and Simple
(Pure and Simple) was released as Joan Jett’s ninth studio album on June 14, 1994, and met with mixed reviews. This was the first album featuring a new Blackhearts lineup but served to be Jett’s final studio recording for over a decade. There were three singles released from the album, namely (Spinster), (As I Am), and (Eye to Eye), but none of them realized any charting success.
On June 13, 2006, (Sinner) was the first studio album Joan Jett released in over a decade. Technically, it’s her eleventh studio album, which was received with the same amount of mixed reviews as Pure and Simple. The majority of the music is covered material from Joan Jett’s previous album, Naked, which had been cited as one of the least liked albums she ever produced. With very little new material, aside from (Riddles) and (Change the World), there is nothing about the album that gave reason for fans to either download or run off and buy a copy.
8. Good Music
(Good Music) was Joan Jett’s fifth studio album, which received mixed reviews from fans and critics after it was released on December 9, 1986. The song, (This Means War), was included in Joan Jett’s 1987 debut movie, Light of Day, which starred Michael J. Fox. The album’s title track charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-three, as well as at number forty-six in New Zealand and number seventy-seven in Australia. The second single, (Roadrunner), charted at number forty-six on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. As for the opinions of the music critics, it was mixed by the Rolling Stones, citing it was not among Joan Jett’s best work as a performer. The same was also said by AllMusic, which gave a three out of five-star rating.
7. The Hit List
While the music critics didn’t seem overly fond of Joan Jett’s seventh studio album, (The Hit List), fans didn’t really seem to mind it after it was released on January 16, 1990. The tracklist featured songs Joan Jett covered by a range of artists who released them as hits. For Joan Jett, the best hit from that album was her cover of AC-DC’s 1976 classic, (Dirty Deeds). For Jett, the single was her final top forty single on the US Billboard Hot 100 as it charted at number thirty-six. It also peaked as high as number fourteen in New Zealand and was as number twenty-three hit on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
6. Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
Joan Jett’s fourth studio album, (Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth) was released twice. The first time was in 1984, then again in 1998. The second release saw seven bonus tracks added. Both the fans and the critics gave the album mostly favorable reviews. (I Need Someone), (I Love You You Love Me), and (Cherry Bomb) were the three singles released from that album where only the second of these three earned any chart success. It charted at number five on the US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100. Although Cherry Bomb didn’t chart, it remains as one of Jett’s hits favored by her fans and is often performed live in concert. Cherry Bomb was the hit single she and her former bandmates, the Runaways, produced in 1976.
With mostly favorable reviews from the critics since its September 30, 2013 release, (Unvarnished) is the first well-received album Joan Jett’s produced since 1990. Although there were no singles that made any appearances on billboard charts, the Best Buy album version features live recordings of some of Jett’s best hits are featured on it, which adds to the album’s appeal. Those live versions include (Bad Reputation), (Cherry Bomb), (TMI), and (I Hate Myself for Loving You). As a studio album, it has been Joan Jett’s final release so far. The original album is all new material, which all work together well as an album, but nothing that stood out as a chart hit according to the timing of its release era.
4. Joan Jett/Bad Reputation
Technically, both (Joan Jett) and (Bad Reputation) are credited as her first studio album. First, her self-titled debut was released independently on May 17, 1980, which failed to achieve any commercial success. It’s released again, now as Bad Reputation, on January 23, 1981, through Boardwalk Records. The album received critical acclaim, as did the title track, (Bad Reputation), which earned gold certification as a single by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Most of the music featured on the album are glam-rock versions of the 1950s and 1960s classic songs that served as what the 1980s era saw as energized versions of pop culture classics. In 1982, (Do You Wanna Touch Me) was a single that later charted within the top twenty among most global billboards, including peaking right at number twenty on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Simply titled (Album) when it was released in July 1983, was Joan Jett’s third studio album. Unlike the first two albums, there were three cover songs on it as opposed to usually having considerably more. Originally, the intent was to have no cover songs at all on it, but Jett suggested while recording there may be questions asked why no cover tracks are on it. So, Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People, The Runaway’s I Love Playing with Fire, and Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Ritchie Adams were the three cover songs featured on the album. As a bonus track on the cassette tape, the cover song to The Rolling Stones’ Star Star makes it the fourth cover song credited to Album’s tracklist. As a single by Jett, (Everyday People) charted at number thirty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. (Fake Friends) was Jett’s second charted single from Album, which peaked at number thirty-five on the same chart. (The French Song) charted at number thirty on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and the fourth single, (Handyman), failed to make a chart appearance at all. Album received gold certification from the RIAA for selling reaching the 500,000 mark in album sales.
2. Up Your Alley
(Up Your Alley) was Joan Jett’s sixth studio album, which was released on May 23, 1988. It would be the second of two times one of her albums would become certified platinum by the RIAA. It also became certified gold by Music Canada. The album produced two hit singles, starting with (I Hate Myself for Loving You), which served as Jett’s final top ten single to appear on the US Billboard Hot 100 when it climbed as high as number eight. The second single, (Little Liar), served as the final single Jett would see a peak within the top twenty of the same music chart, specifically at number nineteen.
1. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
Joan Jett’s second studio album, (I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll) was not only the big breakthrough she needed to become a recognized name in the music industry, but the most successful she ever recorded in her career. Both the album, plus the lead track of the same name, is Jett’s ultimate signature recording that has become an iconic anthem among music fans of just about every rock music genre there is. With over ten million copies of the album sold worldwide, it comes as no surprise it became certified platinum by the RIAA. It was recognized as double platinum by Music Canada and has been gold certified by the Recorded Music of New Zealand (RMNZ). The lead single, (I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll), topped just about every music chart there was at the time at a worldwide level. Among the few it didn’t reach number one, it was at least within the top ten. (Crimson and Clover) was her second most successful hit of all time, which mostly was a top ten and top twenty hits, which was the follow-up single behind I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. Since its November 18, 1981 release, I Love Rock ‘n Roll has become one of the most iconic rock albums of punk-style rock that was instrumental in several artists becoming influenced enough to follow Jett’s footsteps with material of their own.