Joan Jett originally emerged from the ashes of the Runaways, the pioneering 1970s all-female rock band whose musical svengali was the infamous Kim Fowley. Though the punk-oriented Runaways never achieved any real substantial commercial success with the three albums they recorded for Mercury Records, they did launch a movement that became the inspiration for an entire generation of female rockers like the GoGos and Vixen.
When the band buckled under the weight of Fowley's hands-on, authoritarian leadership style, no one expected the band's rhythm guitarist, Joan Jett, to go on to a successful solo career - let alone the most successful of the bunch. After the Runaways collapsed, Jett was signed to producer/manager Kenny Lauguna, who helped her write and record her first solo album, a disc that focused more on straight ahead, no-frills rock than the more punk-oriented material she had done with the Runaways. Jett was unable to get a record deal, so she released the album independently - and it sold over 30,000 copies. That was enough for established labels, all of whom had rejected her after the Runaways, to take another look.
She signed with Boardwalk Records, who released the album in 1980, under the name Bad Reputation. It soared to #51 in a matter of weeks, and soon Jett was making her second, breakthrough album, I Love Rock 'N Roll. The title track, a re-make of the B-side of a 1966 Arrows single, was a sing-along anthem that helped the album to become one of the biggest sellers of the 1980s - and firmly established Jett as an iconoclastic female rock 'n' roll star.