Born Joan Marie Larkin in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood, Jett is known for her solo recordings, her stint with The Runaways and with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts including their hit cover "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" - which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982.
While in her teens, and after her family moved to moved to Rockville, Maryland Jett would sneak out at night to go to concerts with friends. She got her first guitar for Christmas from her father at the age of 13, and she mostly spent time after that writing songs. Her family then re-located to West Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles, providing Jett the opportunity to pursue her musical career.
Jett is a founding member of The Runaways along with drummer Sandy West. Micki Steele (who was later replaced), Jackie Fox, Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie completed the line-up. While Currie initially fronted the band, Jett shared some lead vocals, played rhythm guitar and wrote or co-wrote a lot of the band's material along with Ford, West and Currie.
The band recorded five LPs, with Live In Japan becoming one of the biggest-selling imports in U.S. and U.K. history. While The Runaways were popular in other countries, they could not garner the same level of success in the U.S. In the spring of 1979, Jett was in England pursuing a solo career. She recorded three songs there with Sex Pistols's Paul Cook and Steve Jones.
Jett formed the Blackhearts by placing an ad in the L.A. Weekly "looking for three good men." Joan Jett and the Blackhearts then toured throughout the US. Besides "I Love Rock 'n Roll," other popular recordings with the Blackhawks include "Crimson and Clover," "I Hate Myself for Loving You," "Do You Want to Touch Me," "Light of Day," "Love Is All Around," "Bad Reputation," and "Little Liar."
Jett has recorded eight albums that have all been certified Platinum and Gold.
In 2003, Jett was named in the Rolling Stone greatest 100 guitarists of all time at number 87. She was one of only two women in this list, the other being Joni Mitchell at number 72.
Jett was also inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in October 2006, and was listed as one of Blender's "Hottest Women of Rock" 21 years after she started The Runaways. She has been referred to as the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" many times during her career.
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