Sunday, March 11, 2012

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n' Roll

Yes, this is not a rare song or video, but our loyal reader(s) will know that we like to post songs that you didn't know were covers, and this puppy qualifies.  "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" catapulted Joan Jett to stardom, and was a monster hit -- 7 weeks at #1 in early 1982, and it became the 56th best selling single of the rock era.

What you may not know was that the song is a cover of an Arrows song.  Who are Arrows?  (I'm glad that you asked).  The Arrows were a British pop rock band active from 1974-77, who had a TV show on Granada Television in the UK (this becomes important in a moment).  The song was written in response to the Rolling Stones "It's Only Rock and Roll;" the Arrows felt that the Stones' song was an apology, and this was their response.

The Arrows version was originally released as a B side, then re-recorded and released as an A side in 1975.  However, it did not chart -- but it did show up on the Arrows' TV show.  (Remember how I stated that this was important ...)  Well, Joan Jett saw the song on the TV show while she was touring with the Runaways in 1976, and liked it ... a lot.  She apparently tried to convince the Runaways to record a cover, but her bandmates did not feel the same, so they passed.

Jett eventually recorded a version in 1979, as part of three songs that she recorded with Paul Cook and Steve Jones (of the Sex Pistols) as she tried to start a solo career, but the songs were not released (until years later).  Finally, Jett recorded the song on her second album, which she also titled I Love Rock 'n' Roll ... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here are the two videos, starting with the original Joan Jett & the Blackhearts vid from 1981 (I love how it starts with Jett's "Bad Reputation" from the her previous album of the same name):



And here is the Arrows version, from TV -- which is, I believe, the version that Joan Jett saw in 1976 (and loved):



Lastly, we recently found a color version of the video, which is below.

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