Iconic rock star Joan Jett was born on September 22, 1958. Undoubtedly, she is a household name when it comes to rock music, a complete rock singer, composer, songwriter, and record producer. Jett is widely recognized for being the lead woman in her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and she was also the founder of The Runaways, the all-female American band that released the hit song ‘Cherry Bomb.’ The rendition she did of the ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ number is also well-known, and brought her global fame and acclaim. It is not in vain that she’s regarded as “The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” after all. Today, we are immensely excited to be celebrating her birthday with you.
Joan Marie Larkin, famously known as Joan Jett is a legend when it comes to Rock and Roll. She became famous as the lead woman of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, an iconic band with over 30 years of career. Jett was born on September 22, 1958, in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia to her father, James, and her mother, Dorothy Larkin. Her father worked as an insurance salesman while her mother worked as a secretary. Together with her two siblings, they were raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and relocated to Rockville, Maryland in 1967. There, she enrolled in Randolph Junior High, and later, went on to Wheaton High School. Her interest in music began at a very young age. She got her first guitar at the age of 13 and started taking guitar lessons, although she later gave them up because her instructor was only teaching her folk songs. When her family moved to West Covina, California, she had the opportunity to explore her music interests in a wider scope.
She changed her name shortly after the relocation and the separation of her parents. It was then and there that she adopted the alias of Joan Jett for musical purposes. She started by forming The Runaways, together with Sandy West. Later on, Micki Steele, Jackie Fox Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie joined them, and thus the original lineup of the band was complete. Even though Currie was the lead singer and Jett played the guitar, she also shared the lead vocals and co-wrote the songs. They released three albums, and “Live in Japan,” their most successful one, became one of the best-selling imports in the history of the U.S. and the U.K. They quickly became globally famous, especially in Japan and England. It was in England where she heard ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ for the first time when Arrows sang it on “Arrows,” their weekly television series. When Currie left the band, Jett took over the lead vocals, and the band produced two more albums before dismantling in 1979.
She returned to the United States the same year and while working on the “We’re All Crazee Now!” movie, she met record producer Kenny Laguna, and they relocated to New York. In 1980, they were prompted to create their own record label, Blackheart Records, to promote Jett’s self-titled solo debut. They also formed the Blackhearts Band together. Despite their financial problems, they toured around the U.S.and created a name for themselves. 1981 was a turning year for Jett & the Blackhearts after a career-defining performance at the concert in Palladium, New York City. Later on, they released the now-famous version of ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ and the rest is history.
Jett’s first band tours in England, where she hears the hit ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ for the first time.
After disbanding The Runaways, Jett relocates to England to give a shot at her solo career.
Together with Kenny Laguna, Jett forms her own independent record label.
Jett releases her most successful single, which makes it to the Billboard Hot 100 list.
Her single ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Why We Love Joan Jett
She is passionate about music
She taught herself how to play the drums and by the time she was a teen, she had her own guitar and was taking classes to learn how to play. She also went to voice classes to perfect her skill, and regardless of her financial situation, she formed two bands and in between worked on her solo career as well. We love those who follow their dream, no matter what.
She loves animals
Throughout her career, she has made it clear that she supports animals' rights. She has even been recognized with the Nanci Alexander Activist Award in 2012 and has campaigned for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
She is an activist
She is not afraid to let the world know her stance on issues that are dear to her, like women’s rights and feminism. She is vocal about how her band, The Runaways, did not fit into societal stereotypes and practiced inclusivity. It was purely based on talent and not physical appeal.
5 Surprising Facts
She began drumming at age nine
She taught herself how to play drums by studying The Rolling Stones' album “Let it Bleed.”
She was a tomboy
She amazed other kids because she was not afraid of doing boyish activities like climbing trees.
How she got her stage name
When her parents were going through their separation/divorce she began using her mother's maiden name, Jett, since she wasn't close with her father.
She loves ‘Crimson and Clover’
Her all-time favorite song is actually this very same song, by Tommy James.
Her father hated Rock ‘n’ Roll
Her father disliked the genre very much, but because of Jett, he put up with it.
Joan Jett FAQs
Does Joan Jett only do covers?
Joan Jett has both covers and original songs. She is an influential rock musician with an inspiring career and has opened a lot of doors for the female artists who have followed her.
How many records did Joan Jett sell?
As a part of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, her most successful release is 1981’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll.’ In total, her work includes 14 studio albums and 44 singles.
What guitar does Joan Jett play?
She plays a well-loved Gibson Melody Maker.
Joan Jett’s birthday dates