Now Hear This: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Now Hear This: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Listen beyond the hits and discover weird, wonderful alternate versions of your favorite songs.


In 1981 Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released the rock anthem “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The single shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, ended up being the #3 song for 1982, and the video became a fixture on MTV. In addition to the US, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” topped the charts in Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden.

Speaking of the video, here’s a pop quiz for you Soundmasters-in-Training: Close your eyes, think hard. Was the video black and white or in color?

The correct answer is “Yes.”

Originally released in color, Joan ultimately decided her red jumpsuit was too … well … red. The video was re-mastered in black and white and became the “official” version as seen here:

Don’t believe us? First, shame on you! Have we ever lied to you? Okay, well maybe just that once, but we had been drinking and it was pretty late. Let us make it up to you. Here’s the original color version:


Wait, did we say “original?” The song was written back in 1975 by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of the group Arrows. The group had their own show on UK television and Joan caught their act in 1979 while touring with The Runaways.

Here’s the “original” original that inspired Joan Jett:


In 1993, Joan shot a new video for the song that appeared on the “Wayne’s World 2” soundtrack:


In 2002, Britney Spears recorded a version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” for the soundtrack for her film “Crossroads.” Released as a single in the UK, it managed to barely crack the Top 10 in a few European countries. Sure, Britney looks great, but we don’t believe for a second that she really loves Rock ‘n’ Roll.

If the palpable, almost-Cinéma vérité stylings of a hot blond skanking around in front of the camera looks vaguely familiar it’s because the director, Chris Applebaum, also directed the (in)famous Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring Paris Hilton.  No, actually, we DON’T want fries with that … unless they come with a side order of Penicillin.


By way of apology, allow us to put the needle back on the record. When a song becomes as popular as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” there are Gold Albums, accolades, awards, and if you’re lucky … a parody by “Weird Al” Yankovic.

We have no problem at all believing that Joan Jett … and “Weird Al” Yankovic … really do love Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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