I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll Album Cover

Joan Jett’s Love For Rock ‘N’ Roll Gets Her In The Hall of Fame

Welcome to ‘Behind The Cover’ a feature of Pure Music. This is where we will take a closer look at the history behind some of music’s biggest albums and the cover art that helped push those releases up the charts.

‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was American rocker Joan Jett’s second studio album. It was also the first to feature her backing band The Blackhearts. The album, released in 1981, became Jett’s most commercially successful release to date with well over 10-million copies sold.

The title track, which was largely responsible for the success of the album, had been a part Jett’s life for a long, long time. She had originally seen the song performed on TV in 1976 and it literally blew her away. In fact, she had been using the song in her live set list for seven years before she actually recorded it.

Different pressings of the original album contain slightly different track listings however, it still produced a number of hit singles. Oddly enough, the album track list contains no less than eight cover songs – depending on the vinyl release. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Crimson and Clover” were the two big hits and a third single, released only in Canada (“Summertime Blues”) all gave the LP the steam to charge up the music charts on the way to becoming rock radio and hockey arena staples.

The album cover art was a slightly different story. British photographer Mick Rock snapped the portrait image of Jett that has since become known as one of the most iconic images in rock music history. The concept for the photo shoot was pretty straightforward. Rock explained years later that he had viewed Jett as the female Elvis and that inspired the image he was trying to capture.

Jett’s look also contributed to the overall concept. With dark bangs and mascara she claimed a portion of the rock ‘n’ roll world for women. Creem magazine called her look the classic tomboy rock girl. However, according to Jett, the record label had a completely different concept in mind for promoting the record and the singer’s sex appeal.

“They wanted me to lie on a couch in leopard skin like Pat Benatar or something,” Jett states, “You know I couldn’t do anything like that!”

There have been several reissues of the album with the first CD to come out in 1992. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame saw Joan Jett and The Blackhearts get inducted on April 18, 2015. That date happened to be exactly 33 1/3 years following the original release of the album “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” That led to an anniversary edition of the disc to be released.

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