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Is Joan Jett Glam?

Joan Jett was a member of the Runaways in the 1970s. She created a successful solo career in the 80s and enjoyed a string of hit songs with her band the Blackhearts.

But is she Glam?

Let's investigate. The Runaways were not a Glam act - but the six degrees of separation rule pits her close Lita Ford, and she is certainly Glam. Plus, there's no denying the time period that Jett recorded the breakout  "I Love Rock n' Roll." After all, the early 80s was the hotbed of Glam.

Joan set up shop in Los Angeles. Glam.

Joan surrounded herself with men, marking the antithesis of the Runaways. Glam.

Joan played a part in the Broadway production of Rocky Horror Show. Glam.

Joan wore a ton of eye liner in all her classic videos. Glam.

Joan made a bad ass cover of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds." Ballsy.

I think that's probably where the Glam references start and stop.  Joan has a big fan base and  she seems to bring a lot of energy to her shows. I've never seen her perform, but I'm sure it's a good time. Quite a lot of what Joan is about is punk - perhaps that comes from being a woman in a male-dominated business? It could also just be her style.

So, what do you think? Is Joan Jett Glam, Punk or just rock n' roll?

Here's the video for "Dirty Deeds." If you've never heard this cover, you must give it a chance!

Reader Comments (20)

I always thought Joan Jett was more punk rock than rock. I suppose if it's good, it doesn't matter! When I was 9, my favorite 8-track was 'I Love Rock and Roll'...I still love that album :). I got to see her open for Def Leppard in 2000. It was teh awesome!
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermissy
i allways thought of her as just rock n roll - sure she has punkish attitudes but i wouldnt class her as a punk - the exploited are punks.
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred6ixx
Great cover, and she has great rock songs, on that video she is glam and so damm hot !!
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterXavier
I'll go with rock 'n roll as well. I got to see her in her hometown (South Philly) in '88 opening for Robert Plant. Man, I'm old...
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermom2ross
Joan Jett likes chicks...VERY GLAM! (this is what they call...SARCASM by the way) Joan WAS punk, now she's just plain ole rock n roll.
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
She has punk attitude....but she looks like glam....and how hot she looks like!!!!!
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLUcas Serpa
Not glam. But she did inspire a legion of boys who copied her look.

Not really punk but certainly has the punk attitude.

I'd call her kick your ass and steal your girlfriend rock and roll.

but not glam.
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
She's not glam. I loved her in the early 80s. I think her overall sound is very derivative of the 60s, especially on the earlier albums, which I bought. I still like her enough that I'd be there to see her, but she's not glam, nor metal in my book.
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I personally think that people try way too hard to categorize music. As if it really matters. I usually just call everything rock n roll...vague enough, yet its all you need to know :)
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterr0ck0n
All of you saying she wasn't really punk...only punk attitude, do you KNOW who the RUNAWAYS are?????
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Insider
just plain rock n roll with some punk attitude.
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
Missy said it best: "if it's good, it doesn't matter!"
December 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Hey, Insider: Yeah, I know who the Runaways are/were. But come on, Joan Jett just ain't punk. The Germs, Black Flag, Sex Pistols, early Clash, the Ramones... That's punk.

Don't get me wrong, Joan Jett is an icon.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
Joan Jett is/was a hardcore disciple of SUZI QUATRO, the queen of badassed leather wearing, bass swingin' Glam Goddesses. Joan's songwriting is a direct decendant of the early 70's Chinn/Chapman glam hits by Sweet, Mudd, The Arrows, etc.

Joan Jett is DEFINITELY GLAM. She's one of the pioneers of glam's 2nd generation.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Hey Valentine:

You said: "Joan Jett just ain't punk. The Germs, Black Flag, Sex Pistols, early Clash, the Ramones... That's punk."

Do you have the Germs LP? You might want to check out who produced that record.... "Joan Jett"...

And if you liked it so much, you might consider saying "Thank You" to Joan. Without her, it would have never been recorded. Considering how quickly Darby Crash OD'd after the recording, you'd NEVER would have heard of the Germs w/o Ms. Jett.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
so because she produced an album for a punk band that makes her punk as well? lots of producers work on bands albums without being a proponent of that type of music. it's their job. now joan jett isn't known as being a producer so i'm sure this was something she really wanted to do because she liked The Germs music. hey i like the clash, x, sex pistols, ramones and so forth but i'm not now or have ever been a punk. i'm also not a producer (yet, but i am learning to run a soundboard) but personally i wouldn't call joan jett a punk. she had that attitude yes, perhaps was on the fringes of punk but really was just straight ahead rock n roll.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
well, the video was aimed at getting that glam metal market.

primped hair- check
colourful guitars- check
sexy poses- check
wannabe attempt at a blues solo which sucks balls- check
nice stadium rock moves- check

so while the songs not very glam, the video is glam. remember back then, the video made the song... mtv sucks
December 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermetalsucks large jocstrap!
When Joan Jett was really huge in the early 80's, she used to put down punk rock all the time, despite touring with The Ramones in the Runaways (who sucked BTW). Then when punk became fashionable ten or so years later, she started dressing punk and changed her hair too, and all of a sudden she was 'punk." Fuck her. And the Dc cover absolutely sucks.
January 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteven
Joan has covered Gary Glitter, Slade, Bowie songs.
They were all part of British glam rock, therefore, she's totally glam. Even the stage costumes of the Runaways were glam. You all should study more about here and then talk about it, OK?
February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMe
I beg to differ when you say Joan Jett isn't known as a producer. As mentioned, Joan produced the Germs' "GI" album. Joan produced a three-song single for Bikini Kill, which Kathleen Hanna says "is the best record I've ever made". Joan produced the Vacancies' album "A Beat Missing or a Silence Added". Joan produced the 3-CD boxed punk rock compilation "20 Years of Dischord". Joan produced "Boys Wanna Be Her" by Peaches. Joan produced a 7" single for Circus Lupus called "Pop Man". Joan produced "No Apologies" by The Eyeliners. These are just the ones I'm aware of.

As well, on her Blackheart Records label, Joan has fostered many talents, including Metal Church, the Dollyrots, Girl in a Coma, the Vacancies, and even rapper Big Daddy Kane.

Joan started the Runaways while heavily influenced by '60s and '70s glam acts like Suzi Quatro, the Sweet, Gary Glitter, David Bowie, and others that she heard at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco. She was also turned on to British blues-rock bands like Free (remember "All Right Now"?).

The Runaways were in England when punk was breaking there. Joan got to hang around with all of the first wave of British punks and got heavily into that scene, playing and partying with the best of them. She was one of the first American rock 'n' rollers to come back to North America and spread the word about punk. She became very involved in the New York and L.A. punk scenes.

Joan is glam, Joan is punk, Joan is rock 'n' roll. Joan outlived 'em all and keeps on going even now. She can't be slotted into a narrow category but she knows them all from the inside out.
June 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

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