The uncrowned queen of rock&roll Joan Jett has been known for her distinctive vocal talent and a career that goes back to the 1970s. Her road to the stars was a bumpy ride full of unexpected sharp turns and uphill battles. Joan’s famous rebellious attitude didn’t help either, as she was marked as the bad girl of the music scene. Forty-five years later, she’s still passionate when it comes to the music, jamming some great tunes. Here are some facts you might have missed about Joan Jett.
Christmas present was a turning point
Joan Jett was born in 1958, and when she was 13 years old she got her first guitar for Christmas. It was a dream come true for a young girl with wide eyes and big ambitions. Her father was not happy that she chose R’n’R as her direction but somehow put up with it.
Joan had private lessons in guitar and singing. The guitar teacher tried to explain to young Joan that rock&roll is not for girls and that she should pick piano instead. That was the first and the last class she ever attended. It was even worse with singing classes. Joan’s teacher, who was an opera singer, threw her out of the class as soon as she walked in due to her inappropriate outfit. So, Jett took matters into her own hands and practiced on her own.
The all-girl band was formed by Joan Jett and Sandy West. Lead singer Cherie Currie, bassist Jackie Fox, and lead guitarist Lita Ford joined later to form The Runaways. All girls were underage when they started performing in bars and small venues up and down California.
Joan’s first solo album was rejected by 23 major labels
In 1979 Joan Jett was a busy girl. She spent a few months in England recording songs with Sex Pistols and Steve Jones. Back in the US, The Runaways started working on the documentary, but the film never reached the audience. However, Jett met Kenny Laguna, a producer, and songwriter. Joan released her solo album in the UK in 1980. In the US, it was a different story. Not one label wanted to produce her solo album. Being at the end of the rope, Joan started her own Blackheart Records label and printed the album. Laguna helped her finance the project with his daughter’s college fund.
Joan Jett, the actress
In 1987 the singer starred in “light of day” alongside Michael J. Fox. The script was about struggling musicians, something that Joan can easily relate to. However, the film turned out to be a flop at the box office and got less than good reviews from the audience. After this experience, Joan pretty much gave up on her acting career, except for short appearances on “Walker the Texas Ranger” and “Highlander”, and completely turned to music.
She supports the US troops
Even though she’s not coming from an Army background, Joan is a fierce supporter of the US troops. She held many concerts for the past 20 years around the world, wherever the troops are stationed. Her last gigs included Kosovo, Bosnia, Afganistan, and Iraq. Still, Jett always emphasizes that she is anti-war and pro-military.
Jett loves animals and is a very active member and supporter of the PETA organization. Joan attributes her great health and youthful appearance to her longtime vegetarian diet. She has been a spokesperson for PETA for decades and has received many rewards, the last one being the Nanci Alexander Activist Award, named after the founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
Joan has been tight-lipped about her sexual orientation
The rumor about Joan Jett being gay followed her from the moment she stepped on the music scene. The singer avoided the subject successfully for decades. In 2018 LGBT film festival refused to play her documentary because she was still “in the closet, afraid to come out”. In an interview for NYT, Jett showed her necklace explaining: “Two labryses, or axes, crossing each other, inside of two women’s symbols crossing each other. It’s not been off since I got it.” She also showed off the tattoo with the same motifs. ” I don’t know how much more you can declare”. True.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In 2015 Joan Jett & The Blackhearts were inducted in the R’n’R Hall of Fame. The band had more than 15 members throughout its existence. Today, the ones left are Joan Jett, Dougie Needles, Hal B. Selzer, and Michael McDermott. Jett was also named number 87 in Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
“I love rock n’ roll” is actually a cover
The A1 song from the same album is still the number 1 hit of the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. In the US, it held the first position on Billboard HOT 100 for seven weeks in 1982. It’s still the most recognizable tune from Joan Jett and she openly talked about how she first heard the song while on her tour in England in 1976 performed by Arrows.