Study Guide

I Love Rock N' Roll

I Love Rock N' Roll Introduction

In a Nutshell

What do Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Joan Jett have in common? They've all done covers of "I Love Rock N' Roll," a catchy hard rock title originally written in 1975 by a male group called the Arrows. 

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' screaming 1982 single made chart history, remaining at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. 

Was Joan Jett's big hit a step forward for women struggling to succeed on equal ground in the rock world? Conversely, was Britney Spears' 2002 cover a big step back? Whether you're a fan or a hater (Joan Jett and Britney Spears seem to inspire both), Shmoop will help you sort out the significance of this groundbreaking song.

About the Song

ArtistJett, Joan
Year1981
LabelBoardwalk Records
Writer(s)Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Producer(s)Richie Cordell, Kenny Laguna
Musician(s)Joan Jett (vocals, guitar), Gary Ryan (bass, back vocals), Ricky Byrd (guitar, back vocals), Lee Crystal (drums)
Learn to playTablature
AlbumI Love Rock N' Roll

Music Video

Influences on Jett, Joan

Led Zeppelin
Black Sabbath
David Bowie
Humble Pie
Grand Funk
T-Rex
The Sex Pistols

Influenced by Jett, Joan

Bikini Kill
L7
Le Tigre
The Gits
Bratmobile
Hole

I Love Rock N' Roll Resources

Books

Todd Oldham Joan Jett (2010)
The first serious Joan Jett biography is heavy on pictures and light on new information about the legendary rocker, but that's not too surprising for a celebrity biography that's partially promoting a film (the 2010 biopic The Runaways).

Mina Carson, Tina Lewis, Susan Shaw Girls Rock: Fifty Years of Women Making Music (2004)
The opening chapter of this book features Joan Jett and the Runaways talking about their experiences as an all-girl rock get-up in the 1970s.

Albums

I Love Rock N' Roll (1981)
Joan Jett's second solo release, and her first with backing band the Blackhearts, sent her soaring to fame for the first time.

Greatest Hits (2010)
The latest and greatest hits album from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts includes all the essentials and some recent extras for the die-hard fan.

Images

I Love Rock N' Roll Album Cover (1981)
This is a very '80s artifact that hardly conveys the intensity of Jett's rockerdom.

Jett's Guitar
Letting loose with her signature white Melody Maker.

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett
She pretty much nails the attitude of the young Jett, even according to Jett herself.

Movies & TV

The Runaways (2010)
This has been described as "a coming-of-age biopic" about Joan Jett's first band. Dakota Fanning plays lead singer Cherie Currie and Kristen Stewart is Joan Jett.

Light of Day (1987)
Joan Jett can act. Jett and Michael J. Fox play adult siblings who decide to leave suburban life behind to form a rock band.

Websites

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Official Site
Bio, touring information, and discography are all available here.

Joan Jett Greatest Hits
The official site for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' 2010 Greatest Hits album, complete with video and links to buy individual tracks.

Official Bad Reputation Nation Website
An up-to-date fan and gossip site focused entirely on Joan Jett.

"I Love Rock N' Roll" Fan Site
This whole website is dedicated to the song in all its incarnations, starting with the original 1975 version by the Arrows.

Joan Jett's PETA Testimonial
Jett once said, "I am a musician and I am a vegetarian…if there's anything I love more than rock and roll, it's animals."

Video & Audio

Joan Jett, "I Love Rock N' Roll"
This is what we're talking about.

The Arrows, "I Love Rock N' Roll"
Here's the OG "I Love Rock N' Roll."

Britney Spears, "I Love Rock N' Roll" (2002)
"She practically murdered this song," one YouTube comment reads. You can judge this song's quality for yourself.

Weird Al, "I Love Rocky Road" (1983)
"I love Rocky Road; so won't you go and buy half a gallon baby," howls Weird Al Yankovic. This is a relatively harmless parody, imitating the song precisely but with sillier lyrics and an accordion standing in on the guitar riffs.