Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1982: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- I Love Rock and Roll

I_love_rock_n'_roll_-_joan_jett_(album_cover)

Not long ago when I visited Pat Benatar’s “Get Nervous” album, I ended the post by saying that in 1982, someone would come along and usurp Pat’s throne as the queen of rock. Yes, I know I’ve just given it away, the usurper would be Joan Jett. Unlike Pat’s bloodless ascension to the throne in 1980, Joan’s would be a very bloody one in regards to music because as evidenced by the “Get Nervous” album, Pat Benatar was not going to give up the throne without a fight. So if we were to look at this coup, not in rock terms but in terms of medieval fantasy, which I love, it would have unfolded in two ways. If both ladies amassed armies, there would be lots of casualties, ransacked castles and burning villages on both sides. In the second scenario, if both ladies chose to forego the armies and engage in single combat, both would have had serious wounds inflicted on them by the other. However, the end result would have been the same, a victorious Joan Jett standing over a vanquished Pat Benatar.

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

This is what a clash of rock armies might have looked like

And if they engaged in single combat

And if they engaged in single combat

Putting my love for fantasy aside, fortunately, there was no actual bloodshed. The reason why Joan Jett would usurp the crown as Queen of Rock is simply down to the fact that her album “I Love Rock and Roll” is just brilliant. I first heard about the album when my lieutenant shot it down saying the band only played two chords. If that’s true, then they were the right two chords. My first induction to the album was once I returned to the US, the title track was dominating the juke boxes in just about every bar I went to and the second single, “Crimson and Clover” an old number by Tommy James and the Shondells got a considerable amount of play too. Furthermore, this would be the first and probably only album that had two songs that were common favourites of different dancers at the Driftwood. A dancer named Angie really knew how to move to “I Love Rock and Roll.” She made that song come to life almost. “Crimson and Clover” was finely manipulated by a dancer named Mary. Trust me, watching her work her magic to that song was something else. It is little wonder why I have fond memories of both of these songs.

Because the two hit singles from the album were classics written by others in another era, it has been surmised by some that Joan’s song writing is not up to much. When I listen to the other songs, I disagree. What those songs do is set an interesting vibe for the rest of the album. If I could give this album a theme, it would be “The early rock and roll years transformed to metal.” Many of the songs do have a vibe like they could have been written in the 1950s or early 60s but that hard guitar sound blows everything out of the water. Joan Jett writes the other ones that make the album for me like “(I’m Gonna) Run Away,” “Love is Pain” and “Victim of Circumstance” and while she didn’t write “Nag,” I’m going to mention it here anyway, I like it. How Joan Jett and the Blackhearts version of “Little Drummer Boy” missed my favourite Christmas song list, I’ll never know.

While it’s easy to sing the praises of Joan Jett, you can’t take anything away from her band. Along with Joan, who should have been included in my list of great rhythm guitarists, Gary Ryan and Lee Crystal provide a solid rhythm section and while I don’t know which guitarist does which solos but I am impressed by Rick Byrd and Irvan Arifin Harahap. These boys definitely played a key role in Joan’s ascension to the rock throne.

Track Listing:

1. I Love Rock and Roll

2. (I’m Gonna) Run Away

3. Love is Pain

4. Nag

5. Crimson and Clover

6. Victim of Circumstance

7. Bits and Pieces

8. Be Straight

9. You’re Too Possessive

10. Little Drummer Boy

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joan Jett- lead vocals, guitar

Gary Ryan- bass, backing vocals

Irvan Arifin Harahap- guitar, vocals

Lee Crystal- drums

Rick Byrd- guitar

That is the story how Joan Jett became the new Queen of Rock in 1982 and arguably the first Queen of Metal. It is hard to fault it with a great album like “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Next post: Blue Oyster Cult- Extra Terrestrial Live

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

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23 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1982: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- I Love Rock and Roll”

  1. Great writeup. I used to own this album but I think I may have sold it. I know I don’t have it anymore.

    Like

  2. I have only ever heard the title-track off this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That photo looks like Noel Fielding

    Liked by 1 person

  4. saraharnetty Says:

    I knew it when you posted about Pat Benatar!

    I have got to ask this, you’re a big JJ fan… do you like Suzi Quatro? 🙂

    Like

  5. I share your enthusiasm for Joan, her band, and this album. This was the year of my high school graduation and this LP brings back tons of memories every time I play it. Great review — must say that I’d still give Pat Benatar the bout though, albeit by split decision…

    Like

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