JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS
(Blackheart Records Group) Those who want to get familiar with The Runaways’ back catalog after watching the new film of the same name co-starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett won’t have to spend a lot of time doing it. You can count the number of full-length Runaways albums on one hand, and the last studio album the band released was in 1978. The group disbanded soon after, and with some financial help from The Who, Jett’s solo career was launched. She quickly soared to the top of the U.S. charts with a gritty rendition of Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll.” Far from being a career anthology, this double-CD retrospective produced by longtime Jett collaborator and manager Kenny Laguna combines newer tracks (“Activity Grrl” and “Androgynous”) with a few remastered or rerecorded hits (covers of The Runaways’ “You Drive Me Wild” and “School Days”) and the occasional cover tune that helped make Jett an international rock superstar, like the Mary
Tyler Moore theme song and Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah).” There are even some sweet surprises here, like the punky “I Want You,” which originally appeared on a rare Runaways fan-club compilation titled
1979 and was slated to be included in an earlier film project about The Runaways. The track reappeared with tamer lyrics on Jett’s 1991 album, Notorious. Here, we get to hear the original lyrics and celebrate the single’s official release.