Photo by John Goodridge 2011
Joan Jett moved on from her tenure as a Runaway in 1981 with her breakthrough album and hit single “I Love Rock and Roll.” The song turned out to be the biggest hit of her career. Ultimately, the success of the single “I Love Rock and Roll,” thrust her into the spotlight helping her capture a large market of new fans. Joan Jett’s early success only fueled a drive that seemed bent on maintaining a true artistic integrity that stayed faithful to the authenticity of pure rock and roll. Seemingly inspired by the sound of classic rock bands and new wave punk, Jett’s music defied classification.
Joan Jett’s greatest attribute continues to be her passionate filled rock to you drop vocals, and hard edged guitar playing. Joan Jett has always surrounded herself with musicians that fed off her energy and passion. Her catalog is filled with original songs and iconic covers version that have defined Joan Jett as one of the leading interpreters of classic rock masterpieces. When researching the rock and roll vaults for artists of integrity and authenticity; one will find Joan Jett at the top of that search.
Top 10 Joan Jett Songs
There are so many great Joan Jett Songs that picking a top 10 list was a task filled with anguish. In our attempts, we made sure to focus on her biggest hits and also the songs that defined the Joan Jett sound that we have fallen completely in love with.
# 10 – Crimson and Clover
Opening up the Top 10 Joan Jett Songs list is Jett’s cover of the Tommy James and the Shondells hit “Crimson and Clover.” Joan Jett’s version of the classic Tommy James song was a radical departure from Tommy James’ sweet pop recording. Joan Jett plastered her trademark sound all over the iconic pop hit. The song was released on Joan Jett’s I Love Rock and Roll Album. “Crimson and Clover,” was issued as the follow up single to Joan Jett’s Number one song “I Love Rock and Roll.” Although Jett’s cover version of “Crimson and Clover,” did not hit Number One, it did reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1982.
# 9 – Victim Of Circumstance
Three of the Top Joan Jett Songs on this list are from her I Love Rock and Roll album. The song “Victim of Circumstance,” is the least known of the three choices as far as mainstream culture success and popularity However, the song’s lyrical theme and groove expressed the Joan Jett anti-establishment sentiment that would define her work for years to come.
# 8 – Ridin’ With James Dean
Joan Jett’s album Up Your Alley, presented Joan Jett fans with some of the best music of her career. Just listen to the guitar and drum licks at the introduction to” Riding With James Dean,” and you know your hearing something special. The song featured some of the best Ricky Byrd guitar work ever recorded on a Joan Jett song. The rhythm section of legendary drummer Tommy Price and bassist Kasim Sulton was one of the best in the business.
# 7 – Activity Grrrl
The song “Activity Grrrl,” was released on Joan Jett’s 1994 album Pure and Simple. The song was written with Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. The song and album were clearly influenced by the Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990’s. It was a sound that many attributed to Joan Jett as the original inspirational force. In the end, Joan Jett was inspired by a sound that she originally had inspired herself. That’s Rock and Roll!
# 6 – Real Wild Child
The quick cameo appearance of Joey Ramone at the start of the video defines the true essence of Joan Jett’s recording of a song written by Australian writers Johnny Greenan, Johnny O’Keefe, and Dave Owens. The song “Real Wild Child,” was released in 1997 on the Iggy Pop Tribute Album, We Will Fall. The song had been recorded by Iggy Pop in 1986 and released on his Blah Blah Blah album. Joan Jett’s version was a fitting tribute to the singer’s style and persona.
# 5 – Fetish
The Joan Jett song “Fetish,” was the title track for the compilation album that was released in 1999. The song was also released on the 1994 album Naked. The Naked.album was only released in Japan. The song was released for the third time on Joan Jett’s 2006 Sinner album which saw worldwide distribution. This was Joan Jett in the raw. Simply Perfect!
# 4 – Do You Wanna Touch Me
Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” was released on her first album Joan Jett in 1980. The song was originally written by Gary Glitter. As one of the original glam rock stars of the 1970’s, Gary Glitter’s biggest hit had been “Rock and Roll, Parts One and Two.” Joan Jett’s cover version of the Glitter song produced a song that would serve as a preview of the 80’s style rock anthems that so many of the big hair bands of that decade would soon release. Joan Jett was an artist that was always ahead of her time.
# 3 – I Hate Myself For Loving You
So many rock and roll artists that came out of the seventies and continued to record in the 1980’s eventually would up collaborating with hit songwriter Desmond Child. Joan Jett and Desmond Child’s composition went on to become on of the biggest hits of her career. As the theme for Sunday Night Football, sans lyrics, it is also probably the song that has generated the most income of her career. Good for her, it’s a great song and one that always brings back memories of the big hair band days of the 1980s.
# 2 – Bad Reputation
One of our favorite Joan Jett songs of all time, and probably a favorite among many other Joan Jett fans. A killer Ramones style opening groove sets up Joan Jett’s angry rebellious vocal that was a slap in the face to all the record company BS she had dealt with in the preceding years. The song Bad Reputation was released on Joan Jett’s first solo album in 1980. The album was later reissued after and re-titled Bad Reputation in 1982.
# 1 – I Love Rock and Roll
It’s difficult not to choose this one as the top Joan Jett song of all time. The song was a monster hit for Joan Jett back in 1982 . The song hit Number one the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. It stayed in the Number One position for seven weeks. It was one of the most popular songs of the year in 1982. The song was originally written by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker back in 1975 for a band called the Arrows. However the song never became a hit until Joan Jett recorded it for the second time in 1982 with her band the Blackhearts. The song firmly established Joan Jett as a solo artist far removed from her days as a member of the Runaways.
Top 10 Joan Jett Songs
Updated Nov 11, 2020