In every pre-fab Rock outfit there was usually some glimmer of talent. The Runaways, created by producer Kim Foley, to be the female version of the Ramones, featured both Lita Ford and Joan Jett. Despite being big in Japan and recording a Rockin' version of Martha and the Vandella's "Nowhere To Run," the Runaways didn't live up to their Punk/Rock expectations.
On her own, Jett faired far better forming her back up band, the Blackhearts, and creating some hard-edged Rock classics. Like the Pretender's Chrissie Hynde, Jett was neither victim nor fool. Dressed in black leather with running mascara (caused by working up a major sweat), she was a forceful individualistic Rocker.
While Jett was a songwriter, she also had great success with covers, including Sly Stone's '60s peace and understanding song "Everyday People." Naturally, the original's soul groove got jacked up. She added a highly suggestive tone to her version of Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me." For Tommy James & the Shondells' dreamy-psychedelic "Crimson and Clover" Jett gave it a harder edge while still retaining the ethereal feeling. One of her best was "I Hate Myself For Loving You." Not only was this a great guitar driven Rocker it also showed off Jett's raw-passion vocals.
In the '90s, Jett released an album of Rock covers and joined her former Runaway band mates in a suit over unpaid royalties from Foley and Polygram Records.
After an extended hiatus, Jett (and the Blackhearts) returned in '06, with the 14 track "Sinner," featuring the anti-Bush single "Riddles."
Between 1980-83, Joan Jett, fronting the Blackhearts, Rocked with the best of them. Tough, powerful and able to create arena anthems, Jett was a force to be reckoned with. "Bad Reputation" and the follow up "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" are potent albums. The highlight of "Bad Reputation" is the cover of Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me." "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" has the blistering title track plus an excellent cover of "Crimson & Clover." Her next effort "Album" is good but overall not as strong as the first two. After that, Jett was on the recycle treadmill.