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The Beauty of a Bad Reputation

GarbageJoanJettI don't think a Music Friday post has ever been inspired by a piece in the Wall Street Journal...but, today's is.

This week's "Anatomy of a Song" feature by Marc Myers focuses on the breakthrough moment for Joan Jett. After the Runaways splintered into a million pieces, Joan was looking to establish herself as a solo artist. Most of the major labels were taking a pass.

In one of those magical moments, as she and producer Kenny Laguna were walking the streets of Manhattan lamenting their inability to get a recording deal, Kenny told her that labels said she had a bad reputation. Joan shot back, "I don't give a damn about my bad reputation." They locked eyes, grinned conspiratorially and realized what a cool line for a song that would be (not unlike when Sammy Hagar screamed "I Can't Drive 55" while stuck in traffic).

The rest is rock history...as Joan Jett recorded some of the biggest hits of the '80s and was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2015.

There is, of course, the original video (with all the FU references to all the labels that passed on her rare talent). But, we're also gonna go with her induction set with Dave Grohl and Tommy James. So cool.

"And a girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do."

Damn straight.

         

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Bill Geist

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