Photo by John Goodridge 2011
Our Top 10 Joan Jett songs list presents some of the best Joan Jett songs the ex-Runaways guitarist and singer has released during her long solo career. Joan Jett has come a long way since she stood beside Cherie Currie singing “Cherry Bomb” in The Runaways. 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 true artistic integrity and 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 attributes continue to be her passionate, filled rock-to-you-drop vocals and hard-edged guitar playing. Joan Jett has always surrounded herself with musicians who feed off her energy and passion. Her catalog is filled with original songs and iconic cover versions 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 focused on her biggest hits and the songs that defined the Joan Jett sound that we have fallen completely in love with. We have been listening to Joan Jett since her days with The Runaways, and she’s just an artist that we will never get tired of. She’s the real deal, as genuine as it gets in rock and roll
# 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 radically departed from Tommy James’s 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 reached the Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1982.
# 9 – Victim Of Circumstance
Three of the Top Joan Jett Songs on this list are from her Love Rock and Roll album. The song “Victim of Circumstance” is the least known of the three choices regarding mainstream culture’s 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.
# 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. Listen to the guitar and drum licks at the introduction to” Riding With James Dean,” and you know you are 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. Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna wrote the song. The Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990s influenced the song and album. 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 she had initially inspired. 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 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. It’s really heavy, and the guitars are down and dirty sounding Simply Perfect! The album featured Joan Jett on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Doug Cangialosi on lead guitar and backing vocals, Sami Yaffa on bass and backing vocals, Thommy Price on drums, and Kenny Laguna on keyboards and backing vocals.
# 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 1970s, 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 Love Rock and Roll
This song was a monster hit for Joan Jett back in 1982. The song hit Number One on 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 sung and 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.
# 2 – I Hate Myself For Loving You
So many rock and roll artists who came out of the seventies and continued to record in the 1980s eventually collaborated with hit songwriter Desmond Child. Joan Jett and Desmond Child’s composition became one of her career’s biggest hits. 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 that always brings back memories of the big hair band days of the 1980s. One will never forget this incredible music video that MTV always played.
# 1 – Bad Reputation
“Bad Reputation” is 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 and re-titled Bad Reputation in 1981.
The album featured musicians Joan Jett on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Lea Hart on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jeff Peters on bass and backing vocals, longtime collaborator Kenny Laguna on keyboards and backing vocals, and Paul Simmons on drums and backing vocals. The song “Bad Reputation” was written by Joan Jett, Kenny Laguna, Ritchie Cordell, and Marty Joe Kupersmith.
More Joan Jett Songs that we all love
School Days– We lobe the acoustic version Joan Jett released on her 2022 album Changeup.
Dirty Deeds – Joan Jett has covered a lot of songs during her career. Her Hit List album was full of great ones and many a rock anthem. AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds” was always one of our favorites that Joan Jett covered.
Nag – This great Arthur Crier song was released on Joan Jett’s second album, I Love Rock ‘n Roll.
(I’m Gonna) Run Away – Another great deep track written by Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna and released on the I Love Rock ‘n Roll album.
Our Favorite 10 Joan Jett Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024
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