in september of 2007 i wrote a letter to the Rock Hall of Fame on behalf of one of my favorite humans.
this may seem corny to some,
but understand that this woman is the reason that i
a.) started playing music
b.) fell in love specifically with rock
c.) survived LIFE AT ALL past the age of 11..and then 17…and then 23…. etc…
d.) remained in love with music my entire life….thereby having a reason to BE, and constantly reminding me what the hell it is i came here to do….
after some tweaking and revision, it will be sent to every member of the nominating panel i can get my hands on…
cuz thats the kinda loyal disciple i am….
To Those About To Rock:
In order for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to truly be what it says it is, another year cannot pass without the induction of Rock’s most faithful and passionate Lover:
From 70’s streetpunk with a bad reputation, to transcendent Rock Goddess, Joan Jett is the rock&roll embodiment of the word Icon. She is a cornerstone. A reference point.
One unmistakable sign of a person’s indelible effect on culture is when their name can be used as an adjective:
The Joan Jett sound. The Joan Jett look. The Joan Jett scream.
When pop starlets are at that point in their fleeting careers when its time to “go rock” their team of image-makers deliberately and carefully “Joan Jett” them.
Why? She is a symbol of what rock&roll is.
Like the Ramones or CBGB logos on a tshirt, sporting the “Joan Jett look” is to rock culture what American flag-waving is to a patriot. It’s unspoken and understood: identifying yourself with Joan in any way, even superficial or cosmetic, means that you, too, Love Rock&Roll.
The passing of time is hard on most rockers. Those not in perfect symbiotic harmony with Rock’s rough resonance are worn down…Their passion naturally fades over time…they age too quickly if they don’t altogether die too young.
Joan however, well…LOOK at her. It’s as if she actually is morphing into the physical embodiment of Rock itself: Timeless, powerful, and frighteningly sexy as hell. There’s something supernatural about just how unbelievably rock&roll she really is.
To many, rock&roll is still a religion, with dedicated believers and passionate messiahs who lead, inspire, and shine the Light. Joan is both. She has done more for her beloved religion than many of the most famously dedicated missionaries in history have done for theirs. Joan has loved Rock with all her heart right through the times when the rest of the world turns its back and forgets it altogether for a while.
She has rocked parts of the world that no one else dared to rock, before or since. Time after time she has been the pioneer to plant the flag that others take credit for. Joan ain’t doin’ this for credit, she really and sincerely IS doing it for love. Also, she has never ever ever stopped. Averaging a minimum of 200 live shows a year for more than thirty years now…if she were an athlete (which in a way, she is) she’d be inducted into plenty halls of fame for that record alone!
Not even bombs and mortars have stopped this woman from her lifelong mission. Armed with nothing but her guitar and her unwavering passion, she has literally charged onto battlefields and rocked those too! Like a modern day Joan of Ark, she has had a steadfast dedication to keeping America’s armed forces thoroughly rocked for decades. Without the fanfare or spotlight other celebrities require for their rare visits to the troops, Joan has not only spent more time in active war zones than any other entertainer, but than any other senator, congressperson, or president.
A poignant unseen snapshot from rock’s untold history books:
War is raging in Afghanistan. American troops get a desperately rare momentary reprieve with a gift from home. A woman appears onstage wearing a birka. It’s Joan Jett. She rips it off, stomps it defiantly, and blasts into her own personal battle anthem: “Bad Reputation.”
WHAT IS MORE ROCK&ROLL THAN THAT?
Of the earth-shifting rock imagery that the world DOES know about, Jimi burning his guitar at Monterey comes to mind as something similar in significance and impact.
It wasn’t pre-planned stage antics, directed and choreographed for MTV cameras…or any cameras at ALL actually.
It was Joan in the moment doing what she was born to be doing: just BEING Rock&Roll.
Joan Jett and Rock&Roll. They are soul-mates in the truest sense.
You have only to see her live onstage to know it really is TRUE love…truer than any love you will ever see. And when you SEE the way she loves it, loves the SHIT out of it really…it reminds you why WE all love it too. Why we love it enough to build cathedrals and museums and Halls of Fame for it. In fact, if you say YOU love rock&roll, and you haven’t yet seen Joan Jett onstage, then frankly—you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.
In Joan’s own words: “By radiating as much light as you can, hopefully you do your bit to change the world.” I am only one of many many souls who can vouch for the FACT that a life can in fact be saved by rock&roll…in this case, HERS.
If that alone ain’t havin’ a hand in changing the world, I don’t know what is.
She radiates Rock&Roll.
She eats, sleeps, and breathes Rock&Roll.
Nightly she resurrects Rock&Roll.
The woman IS Rock&Roll.
Therefore, unless the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame is soon changing its name and/or reason for being, the inexplicable mistake of Joan’s omission must be corrected immediately.
More famously and memorably than any single rocker in its history,
Joan Jett honestly, entirely, and obviously LOVES Rock&Roll.
It is high time for it to love her back.
Sincerely and With All My Heart,
Musician, Writer, Dedicated Lover of Rock.