23 September 2023

The Arrows wrote the Rock anthem

Arrows (2) – Broken Down Heart / I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, 7″ Single, RAK RAK 205, 1975 UK


Listen to a compilation of the versions by The Arrows,  Joan Jett and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Band with a tv-show

The Arrows were a band had a TV-show on British television in 1976 and 1977. Singer and guitar-layer Alan Merrill wrote the song “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” with “I Know It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But I Like It)” by The Rolling Stones in mind. The track started as a B-side but soon it was promoted to A-side on further pressings.

On tour in the UK

Joan Jett was with her former band The Runaways on tour in the UK and saw the song being played on tv. When she went solo Joan recorded a first version of the song in 1979, together with Steve Jones en Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols. That became the B-side of her first single “You Don’t Own Me”. By the way that was her version of Leslie Gore’s 1963 hit.

You Don’t Own Me / I Love Rock’n Roll, 7″ Single, Vertigo 6198 264, 1979 Netherlands

Twice a B-side

In 1981 Joan recorded the definitive version with her band The Blackhearts. So the song was a B-side twice before it was recognized as the marvelous creation it is.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N Roll, 7″ Single, 1st, The Boardwalk Entertainment Co, Vogue 101616, 1982 France

The amazing videoclip helped the track developing to a word wide hit. TV company MTV was coming up and that ensured the song to be worldwide put under attention. The video was in black and white, while it was recorded in colour. According to the story Joan did not like the red jumpsuit she used in the video recordings and the solution was to release the video in black and white.


The Rock anthem for generations

Parody celebrity Weird Al Yankovic made a parody in 1983 called “I Love Rocky Road” and it is about American Ice cream. Boyband Five used parts of the lyrics as well as the melody of the Joan Jett version for their 1998 creation “Everybody Get Up”. Britney Spears recorded a version in 2002. The song goes a long way in different versions.

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