The secrets behind Joan Jett’s guitar tone on I Love Rock ’N Roll

Joan Jett
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

When Joan Jett released I Love Rock ’n Roll in the early '80s, she instantly transformed herself from an underground punk/hard rock misfit best known for her role as the former rhythm guitarist for the Runaways into an international superstar and female rock legend. 

The single was a massive hit, reaching Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1982 and remaining in the top spot for seven weeks. Surprisingly, this was not the first time the song was released. The original version by the Arrows was issued as a single in the UK in 1975, and Jett recorded a different, previous version in 1979, which appeared as the B-side to her first solo single, You Don’t Own Me.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.