Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Greatly Appreciated

Joan Jett  is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and occasional actress, best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.  The Blackhearts’ record “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll”, was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982.  Their other popular recordings include “Crimson and Clover”, “I Hate Myself for Loving You”, “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, “Light of Day”, “Love Is All Around”, and “Bad Reputation”.  (More from Wikipedia)

Joan Jett then placed an ad in L.A. Weekly saying that she was “looking for three good men” (a play on the advertising campaign of the U. S. Marine Corps at the time).  John Doe of X sat in on bass guitar during the audition sections; and he mentioned Gary Ryan, a bassist that he knew who was crashing on his couch at the time.  Ryan was a long-time fan of the Runaways and was picked after Joan Jett recognized him.  Gary Ryan in turn recommended guitarist Eric Ambel; they had both been playing with a local punk rock artist named Rik L. Rik.  Rounding out the band was drummer Danny “Furious” O’Brien, who was in the San Francisco punk band the Avengers, whose frontwoman was Penelope Houston.  Joan Jett’s band was named the Blackhearts after the name of her record company Blackheart Records, and not the other way around. 


Joan Jett and the Blackhearts have released a total of 10 studio albums, including Unvarnished that was released in 2013.  Their debut album, I Love Rock ’n’ Roll was their most successful, reaching #2 on the Billboard album charts and spawning a #1 hit single, I Love Rock ’n’ Roll.  The title of their third album, Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth (one of my favorite album names ever), refers to her days in the Runaways and includes another version of “Cherry Bomb”.  I saw a lively concert by Joan Jett down here in Bay St. Louis not long after I came to the Coast, and she came through again earlier this year. 


(November 2013)


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The Avengers formed in early 1977 and features lead vocalist Penelope Houston, with others in the classic line-up being drummer Danny Furious (later in Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)guitarist Greg Ingraham, and bassist Jimmy Wilsey (who later joined the backing band for Chris Isaak).  Having a somewhat grammatically challenged title, “We Are the One” is one of my favorite songs of all time, not just one of my favorite punk rock songs.  Behind a driving beat that is simply untoppable, and with verses about changing the world, the chorus goes:  “We are not Jesus (Christ) / We are not Fascists (Pigs) / We are not Capitalists (Industrialists) / We are not Communists / We are the One”. 
(March 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021