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c. 1990s

Joan Jett loves rock ‘n’ roll and rockers love her right back

Put another dime in the jukebox, baby

Joan Jett with David Lee Roth and Donny Osmond.

Joan Larkin was nine years old when her family moved to the town of Rockville. Enough said. Five years on, she got her first guitar—but quit lessons when her instructor insisted on teaching her folk songs.

After the family moved to California, her parents divorced and Joan Larkin changed her name to Joan Jett. Not because it sounded like a star (although it does). But in a textbook case of “you couldn’t make this up,” she did it because her mother’s maiden name was Jett.

It’s easy to label Joan Jett as a one-hit-wonder for the classic 45 I Love Rock and Roll with her band The Blackhearts. Yet she had already seen substantial success with her previous band The Runaways, touring with, among others, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, Van Halen and Tom Petty.

More to the point, it is the sheer scale of the song’s success that tends to eclipse her multitudinous other achievements. Originally by The Arrows, I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll was first recorded by Jett as a demo in 1979 with members of the The Sex Pistols.

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Fast forward three years, and the record was number one on the Billboard 100 for seven weeks in a row in 1982. It is now the 56th best selling Billboard single of all time

Along the way, Jett’s collected quite a few famous fans. Here’s a sampling of the many celebrities who love Joan Jett.

1970
Jett, far left, with Debbie Harry, David Johansen of the New York Dolls and Joey Ramone, at a wedding.
Roberta Bayley/Redferns/Getty Images
1977
Jett, left, with her mentor, rock star Suzie Quatro, in Los Angeles
Brad Elterman/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic/Getty Images
1982
Jett with Noddy Holder from Slade at the aftershow party for her performance at Hamersmith Apollo in London.
Terry Lott/Sony Music Archive/Getty Images
1985
Jett and Darlene Love at the MTV Video Awards after party at the Palladium, New York City.
Ebet Roberts/Redferns
1986
Michael J. Fox watches as a crewmember does makeup for singer Joan Jett outside the The Thirsty Whale, during filming of the movie “Light of Day,” in Chicago.
Paul Natkin/Getty Images
1986
With Mike Tyson
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
1989
With Roger Daltrey
Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
1989
David Bowie visits backstage when Jett & the Blackhearts perform on Broadway in New York.
Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images
1990
With Liza Minnelli
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
1990
With David Lee Roth and Donny Osmond
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
1990
With Steven Tyler at Les Paul’s 75th birthday party at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York.
Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images
1993
With Sandra Bernhard.
Kevin Winter/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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