When you think ‘80s, many things come to mind and a virtual cornucopia of memories flood us: MTV, breakdancing, boomboxes, the “Where’s the beef?” lady, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars. Then there were the bands that blew up right in front of us: Devo, The B-52’s, Depeche Mode, the Beasties, Run DMC, then there was Rocky and Apollo, let’s not forget Jordan, Magic and Bird. One more that ruled the ‘80s and also stands out is Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Born in Pennsylvania as Joan Marie Larkin, Jett first came to our sonic radar as part of the all-girl supergroup The Runaways. That band produced legends that are still doing it today; aside Jett, there’s Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, Micki Steele, Peggy Foster, Jackie Fox, and Vicki Blue (Sadly, Sandy West and Laurie McAllister have since passed away).
The ladies will always be close to the hearts of their fans who will never forget their enormous hit “Cherry Bomb.”
Since then, Jett has formed not only one of the biggest bands on the planet, but she is a marketing juggernaut and has her own record label (Blackheart Records).
Just about anything you can imagine a great artist can do, Jett has done it.
With breakout hits like “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock ‘n Roll,” “Make Believe,” and her homage to Tommy James and the Shondells with “Crimson and Clover” or Gary Glitter with “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
This hit parade puts The Blackhearts on regular rotation on radio stations even today from coast-to-coast and around the world.
Currently, her live, reprised version of her legendry catalog is doing extremely well with the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts marching and chowder society. Songs like “I’m Gonna Run Away” are getting a second life.
Case in point, during last year’s Mötley Crüe / Def Leppard Stadium Tour at SoFi, the crowd ate this acoustic version up!
What’s amazing about the band, despite the challenges most bands with longevity have, the band is still as electric as ever. With entrance to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the collective soul of the band is solid with Jett on guitar and behind the mic, Dougie Needles on guitar, Hal B. Selzer on bass, and Michael McDermott behind the drum kit.
What makes this band different? Well, it is said that a good song is a good song and a good band is a good band. That is until the song matters to someone. Get a string of songs that matter, and the good becomes the great and the band becomes legendary. Thus is the case with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.
No matter what era you find as a form of measurement you want to use – Jett and the Blackhearts have stood up against the test of time. They have proven they can stand toe-to-toe with all comers, new bands and those from back in the day.
Jett and her Blackhearts are currently on their own headline tour and will hit the Southland on April 21st where they will play at SoCal’s new haven for music, Yaamava’ Theater at San Manual. From there, they will travel across the U.S. and then jump on tour with Bryan Adams in June.
Make sure to catch living history when this iconic band plays live near you.