Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Joan Jett and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Hey everyone, Dana here. Last week, I discussed unemployment and food stamps and how some people take advantage of those benefits. Tonight's blog will be another music related blog post, but it's not a review. In light of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tomorrow night, I decided to dedicate this blog post to Joan Jett because she was nominated in 2012 and 2013, but was passed over both times. This year, she wasn't nominated at all. Fair? I don't think so. Without further ado, let's dive into Joan Jett's reasons for why she should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.



According to the Induction process on Rockhall.com, "artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll." 

After her first band, The Runaways, disbanded, she released her first album, Bad Reputation on January 23rd, 1981. At the end of that year, she and her band, The Blackhearts, released their debut album, I Love Rock n Roll, on November 18th, 1981. Last time I checked, 1981 was OVER 25 YEARS AGO. It's been 33 years since Joan released her debut album, so that's clearly an unacceptable reason to why she isn't eligible to be an inductee. But that barely scratches the surface. Let's look at the contributions she made to the development of rock and roll, shall we?



Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, Jackie Fox, Sandy West
First off, she was one of the founding members of The Runaways, one of the first female rock bands in the 1970's. Before that, women were either du-wop or Motown artists like  Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Carol King. They certainly didn't play rock n' roll, that's for sure. A woman playing rock music like Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Little Richard was completely unheard of!  Aside from Suzi Quatro, there was no other artist like Joan Jett. She was one of the few female musicians who actually gave women the chance to play rock and roll music, and started the "Riot Grrrl" act along with Blondie, Siouxsie Sioux, Bikini Kill, Poly Styrene, The Slits, The Raincoats, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, etc. So right there, she lead a subgenre of rock to the music scene. She influenced so many bands and artists since her rise of fame in the 80's. If it weren't for her and the Runaways, women wouldn't even be playing rock music. So...it's been over 25 years since her debut album and she inspired and influenced a giant handful of musicians (like myself, but that doesn't matter) The Donnas, Kittie, (I hate to say it, but Avril Lavigne,) Social Distortion, Kelly Osbourne, Nine Inch Nails, and many other underground artists as well. So...really, how was she not eligible for being a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again?

I'm not sure if you know this, but she's one of the first women who actually made and established HER OWN RECORD LABEL after 25 other record labels rejected her. That's right, almost every single record company rejected her and refused to sign her because they didn't feel she was good enough for them. So instead of giving up on her dreams to play music, she decided to start her own record company from the ground up, "Blackheart  Records" with Kenny Laguna. Very rarely do bands establish their own record labels, that certainly didn't happen since the rise of rock music in the 1950's. Oh, look at that, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there's development and perpetuation of rock and roll. Please, explain to me why she wasn't even considered to be nominated this year again? Enlighten me.

Mia Zapata, lead vocalist of The Gits

Aside from clearly being eligible to be an inductee, let's talk about what else she's done. Oh, look at this. She even contributed to activism to bring justice to a murder/rape victim! In 1993, Joan Jett and other rock artists such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Heart and Presidents of the United States of America worked with the investigation of the rape and murder of Mia Zapata, the lead singer of a Seattle punk band, The Gits. Since the Seattle police department gave up on the murder case, a series of benefit concerts were held to fund the investigation of Mia Zapata's murder. She was only twenty-seven years old. To preserve her memory, Joan collaborated with the remaining members of The Gits and re-recorded their songs with Joan's vocals and even co-wrote new songs with them under a new name: Evil Stig. It's "Gits Live" in reverse. What a beautiful tribute to an aspiring musician like Mia Zapata, who also is a musical influence of mine. If that's not noble, I don't know what noble is.

And if there's another thing that's wrong with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's the fact ttat there are are non-rock artists who were inducted or will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Artists such as Laura Nyro(Pop), Donna Summer(Pop/Disco) ABBA(Pop), Aretha Franklin(Soul), Darlene Love(Jazz/Pop) Public Enemy(Hip Hop) and other non-rock artists have been inducted into the ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame yet don't even perform Rock and Roll music. Maybe if this was called the Music Hall of Fame, that would be fine. I'm sure they are very talented musicians. They have their fanbase, and I do not hold that against them what so ever. But last time I checked, Pop, Hip Hop, Jazz and Soul ≠ Rock music. I'm sorry, but that is a load of bull crap. This shouldn't be called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if this wasn't dedicated to Rock and Roll music.

2014 should have been Joan Jett's year to be inducted. Why she wasn't even considered this year is beyond my wildest imaginations. Why she was nominated for two years in a row but not at all this year is completely absurd. She is beyond eligible, yet she wasn't even looked at. It's really sad that there are some artists who don't get the recognition they clearly deserve. It's sad to know that there are many people my age who don't even know who Joan Jett is. Maybe they've heard "Bad Reputation" because it was the theme song to "Freaks and Geeks," or they heard "I Love Rock n' Roll" and "I Hate Myself For Loving You" on the radio, but they don't know about the achievements she's done.

Well everyone, I think that covers everything about Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and how she's beyond eligible to get the recognition she deserves. I hope one day the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally opens their eyes and ears to her music and joins the ranks of the most well known contributors to rock and roll history. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the rest of your week.

4 comments:

  1. It sickens me to see non rock artists inducted in the Hall of Fame, when actual rock artists are getting looked over. She really has done so much for Rock, women, and music in general. If it wasn't for women like Joan Jett, women would not have such a strong place in rock music. Just to add to your list, lets see what other female musicians she lead the way for : Angela Glassow (Arch Enemy) , Amy Lee (Evanescence) , Brody Dalle ( The Distillers) .. the list goes on , like you said. Joan deserves all the recognition she gets, and being overlooked again really ticks me off to see such a great woman passed over like this! Great post Dana! I can't wait to see the next one!

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    1. Thank you for reading, darling.
      Like, this is completely beyond feminism. This is so much more than just "women can do it too," or "she's a woman who deserves recognition."
      No, she's an incredible artist who is probably one of the most underrated rock artists out there.

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  2. Great blog, Dana! I don't really have much to say though, because I'm completely against this organization, in every way. The only thing I can say is that while they may be very different sounding styles, pop, hip hop, and soul are rock and roll sub genre's. "pop" is short for "popular rock", hip-hop is a fusion genre of R&B with rock and roll, and soul is a sub-genre of gospel rock. Many people tend to forget this, just because these sub-genres have such varied sounds. Personally, I'm not as fond of these sub-genre's, and I think that's where their exclusion comes from. With the exception of jazz (because rock and roll is a sub-genre of that) pop,hip-hop, and soul belong in this horrible organization just as much as every other genre that this organization has screwed with. I hope that clears some stuff up that I find people misunderstand. and if I haven't mentioned it yet, I hate this organization, immensely. Regardless, I loved your blog, as always, and I agree completely that Joan Jett and the Blackhearts should be at the very least acknowledged.

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    1. Thank you for your input, Brendan.
      I'm guilty for not remembering those other genres.
      I grew up being told that rock music was formed from the rhythm & blues and country. (Johnny Cash, Elvis, etc.),..so I essentially forgot what "pop" was an abbreviation for, and same for hip hop.
      I've grown to dislike the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for what it's become.

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