Joan Jett by Todd Oldham

Joan Jett by Todd OldhamJoan Jett by Todd Oldham, introduction by Kathleen Hanna

Ammo Books (224 pages; $34.95)

To be honest, I expected this book to be terrible. With the Runaways movie coming out in a blaze of twilit fanfare, you’d assume that any book being released around the same time would be nothing but a quickie cash-in.

But that’s not what this Joan Jett book is…not at all. Nice thick pages with high quality prints, assembled by celebrity designer Todd Oldham, it’s 9×9 size just looks cool sitting on your coffee table. Open it up and in additional to all the great rock and roll photos of Joan Jett throughout her career, you’ve got what amounts to an autobiography, seemlessly assembled from interviews over the past thirty years. Historians might’ve liked to have seen footnotes and a real bibliography so we could place the source of the quotes, but as it is it reads surprisingly cohesively.

There’s no question that Joan Jett is one of the coolest rock and rollers of all time. Not only is she a great songwriter and musician, she’s just absolutely awesome looking. And that’s certainly not intended to objectify her in any way—this is a photo book after all—but she just personifies rock and roll. From the time she was a teenaged Runaway, through her bald (and blonde!) riot grrl era, up to today’s classy Goddess of Rock look, she’s always been so fucking cool.

To top it all off, she’s run her own independent label, Blackheart Records, since the beginning of her solo career. They just don’t get cooler than Joan Jett.


© Bob Gruen/


© 2010


© 2010


© Dusan Reljin/Courtesy

Video: The Runaways – “Cherry Bomb” (live in Japan)

Joan Jett: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

The Runaways: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

7 thoughts on “Joan Jett by Todd Oldham”

  1. I don’t know a single red-blooded male–or female–who isn’t in love with Joan Jett.

    Pleased to meet you, Mark. Now you know someone who isn’t smitten w/Ms. Jett. (I will admit, tho, she looks very good for a 51-year old.)

    Jake, weren’t her first 2 solo albums on the late Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk Records?

  2. The first album was originally self-released (after being rejected by 23 labels, according to Jett) but was later picked up (just licensed?), re-titled, and re-released by Boardwalk who also released the follow-up, I Love Rock and Roll.

    My guess is that Joan and Kenny Laguna’s label just made a short-term exclusive licensing/distribution deal with Boardwalk because the recent reissues of those albums have been on Blackheart Records. Smart business move, which is just another reason to love her.

  3. Or Joan recorded for Boardwalk, but was smart enough to have a reversion of rights clause in their contract, in case of Boardwalk’s demise.

  4. I had the pleasure of running my fingers through Joan’s hair and rubbing the back of her ear at a concert in 1987. Yep she responded well as she seemed lost in the song and my touch! A rock-n-roll moment I will never forget!!! Have always been a fan will always be a fan! I can’t wait to buy the book and new cd! Rock on Joan!!

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