It’s hard to imagine being around in the 80’s and NOT knowing who Joan Jett was. Though she was
a founding member and played with the Runaways throughout the 70’s, it wasn’t until she stepped out to front her own band, the Blackhearts, that she really rocketed to the forefront of the female rocker scene.
Having received her first guitar at the age of 13, Joan always knew what type of music suited her best. Though she did take some lessons early on, she quit when her teacher continued to try to teach her folk songs. When her family moved from Pennsylvania to California, Joan finally found her element and just a few years later she was making music with the Runaways and touring the world.
After striking out on her own, she still struggled to get noticed, though. While popular in Europe, she was turned down by over 20 major record labels in the States. Did that stop her? Hell, no. With the help of a fellow songwriter and producer, Joan formed her own label and pressed the album herself. She eventually signed with Boardwalk Records, and a groundbreaking performance at the Palladium in New York provided the turning point she needed to launch her toward the bad ass rocker we know today.
Joan is an activist, a songwriter, record producer, and actress, but the role we love her in most is that of an unapologetic woman. She held her own, and did so fiercely, in a male dominated rock industry and continues to command the stage in her performances. And while she is often labeled as a rebel, Joan is just being herself. Like she says, “Sometimes people call that rebellion, especially when you’re a woman.”