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Top 10 Joan Jett Songs

Joan Jett is from Los Angeles, California. She began her music career in 1976 at the height of Punk and even had several tie-ups with Punk royalty, The Sex Pistols, in the late-70s. Hardly surprising then that much of her early music had a Punk bias. 

Over the years, she evolved into more of a Rock artist. But thankfully, her energy and passion never left her. Joan Jett’s most productive period was just after Punk began to fade. This is the era I have taken most of the Top 10 Joan Jett songs for my list. So, let’s start and look at the first song.

Top 10 Joan Jett Songs


Top 10 Joan Jett Songs

I love Rock ‘n’ Roll

I have decided to start things off with a bang with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” That is because it is the song most people associate with Joan Jett. Additionally, it was also Joan Jett’s biggest single in terms of commercial success. 

It was initially released as the B-side to her debut single, “You Don’t Own Me.” Surprisingly, it received little interest. Consequently, it was re-released in 1982 as the lead single from the album of the same name. The single went to #2 in the US and #4 in the UK. It also hit the top spot in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden.

The album, released late in 1981, also charted well…

It made it to #2 in the US and scored #1 on the New Zealand charts. Plus, this was Joan Jett’s best-selling album going platinum in the US and double-platinum in Canada.

The single was an unashamed Rock anthem. It was originally written by the British Rock group, The Arrows in 1975. It’s a great song and was well sung and produced by The Arrows. Ironically, it was Joan Jett’s version that charted and sold better. Plus, it was also her version that got inducted in 2016 into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Ouch! That must have hurt.

Crimson and Clover

This was also taken from the album I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was the second single to be released and also her second most successful single. In the US, it went to #7 but only made it to #60 in the UK. Nevertheless, it charted in or around the Top 10 on most European charts.

The song is an excellent cover of the original song, which was released in 1968 by Tommy James and The Shondells. However, credit where credit is due. Joan Jett did a great job of injecting some grit and energy into this great song.

Fake Friends

“Fake Friends” was released in 1983 as a single from her third studio album, Album. Now, just in case you think that was a typo, the album really was called Album. The single did reasonably well and charted at #35 in the US. The album fared better. It made it to #20 on the US charts, earned a gold disc, and had some moderate international success.

The song felt more Pop than Rock. Some have accused it of being Bubblegum Pop, but I think that is harsh. Essentially, “Fake Friends” is a typical Joan Jett song. Admittedly, the melody is very Pop-based, but the music surrounding it is pure Rock. Nothing about it is likely to upset her hardcore fans.

Bad Reputation

This was released in 1981 as the final single taken from her debut album, also titled Bad Reputation. The single failed to place on any of the mainstream charts. But, it managed to get to #48 on the US Rock chart. The album did not set the world on fire. However, it got a showing at #51 on the US Billboard charts and reached #45 in Australia.

The song is hard and fast. It still has the feel of 1970s Punk or a Ramones song, which is a compliment. It was one of the last songs she released with this kind of vibe before moving over to producing more Rock/Pop songs.

Possibly one of the reasons the song was not more successful is that by the time of its release, Punk was all but dead. Therefore, the song may have felt irrelevant to the audience at the time. I cannot help thinking that the song was three or four years too late in the making.

Do You Wanna Touch Me

The song was released in 1980 and was also taken for her debut album, Bad Reputation. However, this song is a huge contrast to the single “Bad Reputation.” That is because it is Glam Rock at its best. And, in many ways, it gave us a glimpse of the direction that Joan Jett was moving. Certainly not all the way to Glam Rock, but undoubtedly more towards Rock than Punk.

Like many of Joan Jett’s hit songs, “Do You Wanna Touch Me” was a cover. It was originally penned by the now disgraced Gary Glitter. He was a great entertainer in his time, but I think the less we say about this guy, the better. 

Victim of Circumstance

This was released in 1982 as the final single to be taken from her hit album, I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was written by Joan Jett and has a strong anti-establishment sentiment. Like, “Bap Reputation,” it was still desperately clinging on to Punk. “Victim of Circumstance” was a sign that the game was pretty much up for Punk as far as Joan Jett was concerned.

With “Dallas” and “Dynasty” dominating the TV screens in the 80s, a lot of the anger was gone. So, as good as this song is, it’s another track that frankly belonged to another decade. It’s not that I don’t like it, because I do, and it deserves its spot in my top 10 Joan Jett songs playlist. However, it does not alter the fact that it should have been released along with “Bad Reputation” in about 1977 or 1978.

Activity Grrrl

“Activity Grrrl” was released in 1994 as a track from her ninth studio album, Pure and Simple. Frankly, I am not quite sure why it wasn’t released as a single. I would place it in my top five Joan Jett songs all day long, but there you go.

The song is well-produced and feels tighter than many of her other songs. Unfortunately, it has little of the intensity of some of her earlier music. The song feels more grown up, and the main theme of the song, which is about political activism, is a long way from the angst of her music a decade or more before.

I Hate Myself for Loving You

This was released in 1988 and was a fantastic piece of songwriting collaboration with Desmond Child. It went on to be one of her hits. And I would say that, after “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” it’s Joan Jett’s most recognizable song. It sounds like a Rock anthem with an amazingly catchy chorus, which is no doubt why it was so popular and loved as a live song. 

It was released as the first single to be taken off her sixth studio album, Up Your Alley. The single got to #1 in the US and #46 in the UK. Additionally, it charted well elsewhere, reaching as high as #8 in New Zealand and #12 in Sweden. The album was also one of her most popular and earned her a platinum disc in America as well as a gold disc in Canada.


This was released in 1999 and was her last single of the year, decade, century, or millennium if you prefer. The song was taken from her compilation album of the same name that came out in the same year. However, she had a couple of other bites at the cherry as far as “Fetish” is concerned.

That is because it was also included in her tenth studio album, “Naked,” which was only released in Japan. Then it was also included in her follow-up album, Sinner, in 2006, which enjoyed worldwide release and distribution.

Unfortunately, other than a lowly #56 in the UK for “Sinner,” there were no other chart successes for the other two albums or the single. Joan Jett then wisely decided to leave her belated Madonna “Erotica” phase behind her and move on.

Dirty Deeds

I am rounding off my list with a cover of the absolute classic AC/DC song, “Dirty Deeds.” It is a wonderful song that was first released in 1976 when Bon Scott was still with us as AC/DC’s lead singer. Covering any AC/DC song is a feat. But Joan Jett did a great job, and being a woman undoubtedly helped her to hit those high notes.

Although it does not have the sheer intensity of the original, and the guitar playing is not up to the standard of Angus Young, it still feels like a great interpretation and essentially true to the original. Additionally, with a cover of “Pretty Vacant” by The Sex Pistols on the B-side, there is not much not to like here.

Most fans appeared to agree with this analysis since the single went to #36 in the UK and as high as #14 in New Zealand. The album it was taken from, her seventh studio album, The Hit List, also achieved some decent success. It also got to #36 in America and #16 in New Zealand.

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Top 10 Joan Jett Songs – Final Thoughts

It has been a lot of fun listening again to some of these classic Joan Jett songs. It has been a great trip down memory lane. Hopefully, you have enjoyed the journey too. I know I have. 

I could have easily chosen different songs for my top ten Joan Jett songs, but I hope there were a few of your favorites on there. If not, and if I have made any obvious omissions, then please let me know in the comments section below. It would be great to hear from you.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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