Joan Marie Larkin better known as Joan Jett was born on this day in.1958. Parents James and Dorothy had their daughter in Pensylvania at Lankenau Hospital  Joan is the eldest of three children. Joan was fourteen when she got her first guitar then her family relocated to California and soon after moving her parents split when Joan took her mothers maiden name Jett and the legend was born after taking in Rodney Birgenheimers Disco where she was exposed to glam rock and nothing would ever be the same again.

Jett teamed up with drummer Sandy West. Jackie Fox, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie and The Runaways were born. Jett was originally the rhythm guitarist and occasional singer but took on songwriting credits the girl group got support slots with the likes of Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Tom Petty and also toured the UK and Japan where they became massive stars. The band managed to fit in five albums in their four-year reign at the second half of the ’70s.

Jett also got into punk rock in the late ’70s producing the Germs one and only album before singer Darby Crash lost his life.  the band also had one Pat Smear playing guitars who later went on to play with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Jett managed to team up with Cook and Jones when the Sex Pistols fell apart and managed to get them in the studio to record some classic tracks when in London with the most famous being the version of The Arrows classic ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ which would go on to become the one song Jett would be known for more than any other. after shooting an iconic video to accompany the tune.

When Jett was a solo artist she also added the band The Blackhearts who managed to recruit some class players in the line up over the years but the original included, Gary Ryan (Bass), Ricky Byrd on Lead Guitar, and Lee Crystal on drums. One Track from the early years that has seen itself pop up over the years in loads of films is ‘Bad Reputation’ which appeared on that debut solo album along with the classic ‘You Don’t Own Me’ that also features the Pistols Cook & Jones. It was a record that showed many sides to Jett and what she was capable of performing. the album missed out on entering the Billboard top 50 by one place but it was indeed a start.

 

hot on the heels was the album ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ whilst it never managed to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Charts it has managed an impressive ten million copies sold in its life. it did however spawn the singles ‘Crimson And Clover’ that hit the top ten and Jett had her first number one with the Arrows track that carried the same title as the album.  Jett is known for being happy to put a cover song on her records but this album was 50/50 original songs. Later Jett would pen and produce a lot of her records.

Jett still makes records and released ‘unvarnished’ in 2013 that was co-produced by Foo Fighter Dave Grohl who also co-wrote.  Also, it’s notable that Jett wrote and co-wrote nine of the ten tracks on the record. this time sneaking in the top 50 as well is no mean feat for a rock record. It was also Jetts first album since 2006s ‘Sinner’ and prior to that was the Japanese only album ‘Naked’ which also featured RPM favourite Sami Yaffa on Bass guitar.  Of the sixteen tracks Jett penned thirteen – one was a cover of the Replacements ‘Androgynous’ from their ‘Let It Be’ album.

Jett’s has her own model guitar which is a white Gibson Melody Maker, which she has played on everything since 1977. In 2008 Gibson released the “Joan Jett Signature Melody Maker”. which is some reward for being such an icon, not something Gibson hands out to just anyone. Jett is also happy to talk about animal welfares and is a big supporter of PETA, as she has been a vegetarian for over twenty years and is a supporter of environmental issues.  Still making music and touring Jett continues to play with a biography and an excellent documentary being released last year (entitled ‘Bad Reputation’), as well as continued interest in The Runaways her legacy, will forever be passed down through time as a real pioneer for women in Rock and judged for her music and not who or what she is Joan Jettalong with Debbie Harry are rightfully regarded as legends and all Joan Jett needs now is one of those flunko statues and my work here is done.  Put another (Joan Jett) record on the jukebox baby and raise a glass as we wish Joan Jett a happy birthday and here’s to another year and who knows maybe another album? That would be good.

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What’s that musty smell? Ah yes, it’s emanating from the veritable feast of vintage collectables housed in the Pop Culture Schlock archive. For your delectation today I take you back to the Christmas of 1979; a seminal decade of music about to come to an end and give way to the dawn of a more brash, more brazen ten year period…

 

If you were a good, music-loving boy or girl in 1979 and had a.) done well in school, and; b.) not scratched your big brother’s vinyl, then there was a good chance that you’d find the Rock On! Annual 1980 nestled under the Christmas tree in your modest living room.

 

“The Rock What Annual?” I hear you exclaim, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed at your lack of knowledge on this subject because, truth be told, Rock On! magazine was a short-lived, oft-forgotten publication… if you’d ever heard of it at all.

 

Rock On! magazine debuted with an issue cover-dated May 1978. Debbie Harry featured on its cover and the mag – costing a whole 25p – promised a healthy mix of punk, new wave, heavy metal, and prog rock. It kept its promise too as, over the course of seven eclectic issues, Rock On! dished out features and photo spreads on a dizzying cadre of top musical combos; from Status Quo to Sham 69, The Clash to KISS, Rush to The Rezillos. Meat Loaf graced a cover, Ozzy, too, until Issue 7, with Jimmy Pursey as its cover star, and cover-dated November 1978, when Rock On! disappeared from newsagent shelves. The editorial in that final issue wrote of the outrage of cutting off such a desirable publication in its prime but, if anything, Rock On! was a victim of its own blurring of genre lines: readers seemingly wanting specialist publications dedicated to singular strands of the rock ‘n’ roll world rather than this ambitious crossover style.

 

That final editorial, though, did offer some hope for the future; stating that it was the last Rock On! “in its present form”. Fast forward to around a year later and, in the Autumn of 1979, the true final piece of the Rock On! jigsaw arrived in shops and catalogues to complete the punk ‘n’ prog rocking picture.

With a scorching hot live photo of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on the cover, Rock On! Annual 1980 (price – £2.00) may well have been jostling for attention on the shelves alongside big-hitting television and film spin-off annuals, but it certainly looked the most badass. It was, the cover screamed, packed with pictures, facts, and quizzes on your favourite rock bands. It did not disappoint.

 

The heady mix of photo spreads and more in-depth features on select bands really did make Rock On! stand out from its competitors, and this annual amps that angle right up to eleven. The first photo spread was a “Tribute to Vocal Power!!!” (yes, with three exclamation marks) and featured cool live action shots of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, Cherie Currie, Pete Townsend, Willy DeVille, Graham Parker, Joan Jett, and Mick Jagger. A good start, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Next up, a photo diary detailing a “hard band” going “soft” as The Stranglers met their devoted fans, followed by a quartet of stinging live shots of “the band the critics love to hate”, Status Quo. Rock On!’s attitude to those Quo critics could be “summed up in two fingers” readers were informed.

 

With barely a pause for breath, a six-page A-Z of Heavy Metal feature detailed the prime acts in the genre, from AC/DC to, erm, Wishbone Ash. A-W, then. A few curious names in this run-down, too: Prism, Quartz, and Mahogany Rush rubbing shoulders with the expected likes of Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and, a firm favourite on the turntable at RPM HQ, Uriah Heep. A “Heads Down Heavy Metal Quiz” followed: a select question being “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was a double live album for which heavy metal superstars?”

 

A Ten Years of Genesis feature followed, the first in a series of in-depth essays by John Tobler. His similar two-page spread on the history of Queen followed, as did those dedicated to Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, Rush, and KISS. The latter, subtitled “Kings of Shock Rock”, wrote of “the forty foot columns of fire that emit from Gene Simmons’ mouth” and, c’mon, if you were eight years old at Xmas 1979 you had every excuse for then falling head over platform heels in love with the idea of the hottest band in the world.

There was a Rock On! reggae report, a fashion guide of sorts where the Quo’s Rick Parfitt spoke of his love of jeans and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers of his love of raincoats (!), a Hi-Fi buying guide, a feature on sound engineers, a top DJ article covering John Peel and Anne Nightingale, plus one-page specials on Peter Gabriel and Ken Hensley of the Heep.

 

A photo spread of Ian Dury swimming (just your seven shots) padded out the pages, but not before an impressive photo set of live Black Sabbath shots appeared, a Star Cars article featuring Steve Jones, Meat Loaf, Midge Ure, and, ominously, Cozy Powell, a “Cult Heroes” feature detailing the likes of Iggy Pop, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty, and Bruce Spingsteen, and a “Sex ‘n’ Girls ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll” spread featuring Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux, Linda Ronstadt, Annie Golden, Poly Styrene, Stevie Nicks, and Rachel Sweet.

 

A “That Was The Year That Was” feature dedicated to 1978 was an obvious leftover from the previous year’s magazine and makes for entertaining if a little sombre reading amongst the other genuinely funny articles. Rock On! was a cool magazine, with its tongue firmly in its cheek and its love of a broad range of music at the forefront of any thinking. Your Uber Rocks, your RPMs are all subconscious descendants of Rock On! magazine.

No annual is complete, however, without a pull-out poster section (even if no kid ever dared pull a poster out of an annual!), and Rock On! Annual 1980 does not disappoint in that department. There are pin-ups of the aforementioned Pursey, Rezillos, Dury, Harry, Clash, and Lynott, plus Bob Geldof, Paul Weller, Freddie Mercury, David Lee Roth, Jon Anderson, Elvis Costello, Paul Stanley, and the Buzzcocks. Great photos too.

 

The Rock On! Annual 1980 may well be an uncommon piece in the average music memorabilia collection, but it is certainly a worthy one. Copies turn up on the secondary market relatively cheaply and, yeah, you should pick one up if you get the chance. The Rock On! staff were most certainly music journalist mavericks, and we’ve all tried to go there, right? Search for this precious, rockin’ tome… or you might never know how Rick Parfitt’s aunt ironed his double denim.

 

Thanks for reading, and for the feedback on my first column on the debut Alice Cooper comic. I’ll be back next month with something suitably archaic that the rock ‘n’ roll world tried to forget. Search for Pop Culture Schlock 365 on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

On this very date David Bowie unveiled his landmark album, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars’. His breakthrough LP, it sells over 7 million copies and is hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. As genius as it was it has to be said that without his Spiders Ziggy would have been nothing (or at least not a fraction of the success) Ronnos guitar playing was exceptional throughout as were the bass lines. Of course, the image was mind blowing even for the early ’70s.

The concept album serves as the introduction to Bowie’s most iconic of reincarnations: Ziggy Stardust, a flame-haired Martian messiah who visits Earth in an attempt to bring a message of hope to humanity in their final five years of existence. Flamboyantly dressed and dazzlingly androgynous, Stardust helps revolutionize ideas about gender and sexuality like never before.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is recorded over a two-week period in November 1971 at London’s Trident Studios – the same place where The Beatles made “Hey Jude” in 1968. The legendary album cover depicts a resplendent Bowie posing outside of a Mayfair furriers named K. West.

The album peaks at #5 in the UK, and remains on that chart for two years, bolstered by a groundbreaking performance of “Starman” on Top of the Pops in July 1972.

Although “Ziggy played guitar” for the final time in July 1973, his blazing legacy lives on.  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is about Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust, an androgynous bisexual rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings (drugs who mentioned drugs). Bowie took Ziggy on tour through the United Kingdom, Japan, and North America. The album and the character of Ziggy Stardust explored themes of sexual exploration and social taboos and it wasn’t until that fateful night in The Hammersmith Odean that Ziggy made his last appearance as Bowie ruthlessly ended the characters existence.  this after shipping over seven million copies worldwide – still to this day an incredible decision from a man at the peak of his powers.  Amazingly the album only made it to number five in the UK charts whilst barely denting the US top 75!

 

Its no question one of the most influential albums for many reasons would there have been the huge new Romantic explosion of the post-punk 80s had it not been for Ziggy?  Also, it was a big influence on the UK punk scene with many of its detractors since citing this particular tour as being very influential fashionably and musically.

 

Track from the album has been covered many times over by many different artists including Bauhaus who did ‘Ziggy Stardust’ as did Def Leppard and RPM favourite Jeff Dahl.  ‘Moonage Daydream has also been covered by varied artists such as LA Guns, Mike Scott and Tim Wheeler of Ash. whereas ‘Suffragette City’ has been covered by such polar acts as Boy George, Steve Jones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Turbonegro and god forbid Poison! As well as recently on volume 1 of The UK Subs covers album.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/entertainment-arts-17521244/site-of-ziggy-stardust-album-cover-shoot-marked-with-plaque

I like it when a band takes its time to get the album they want but we all giggled when Axl took however long to knock out a guns n Roses album well Johnny Seven don’t like to rush a record release either but these punk rockers took forty years! Yup, I did say Forty Four Zero.  Don’t giggle at the back it’s true. Anyway its here now the format might be different to what was originally envisaged but times change and so do lineups.

 

you might well ask yourself what this Teeside foursome are all about well, let me tell you they clearly have a collective ear for a decent tune and I’m pretty sure judging by the songs they wrote we’d share a lot of similarities in our record collections.  One thing they got spot on is when they declared you can’t escape Rock and Roll and that spot on as is this tune.  It’s sloppy – it’s rough and ready – its got a great guitar sound and I love a good gang sing-a-long chorus and ‘Can’t Escape’ has certainly got that. ‘LSD’ is a rolling riff borrowed (or Stolen) and the lyrics show the band has a sense of humour and a rollicking interlude between the more serious elements of Rock and Roll. Don’t do drugs kids they’re bad for you.

‘In Detroit’ they give the Wah Wah a good work out and rattle through Motor City Nice n sleazy does it boys nice n sleazy. They turn the clock back for a sid style romp through ‘Burning Love’ I wouldn’t say its rubbish because its not but if you want to pop the kettle on nows your chance.  I’m not sure this record needed a cover smack bang in the middle to be honest because they were going so well with their own material. ‘Pumping The Pop’ is more like it.  snot ‘n’ sweat flying everywhere as the band get trashy not a million miles from The DeRellas here or the Babysitters when they weren’t singing about trembly noses. and the guitar and handclaps remind me of Hanoi when they were doing the duck and the guitar lick isn’t a million miles away from ‘Shakes’ so I was always going to like this one.

There’s a reckless edge to ‘Car Crash Girls’ and I like it it sounds spontaneous and at any point could fall or stumble over and Rock and Roll needs that sometimes it keeps proceedings exciting which is where we head as the album moves towards its conclusion.  ‘Skinheads’ is a wonderful stomping slice of glam pop in the same snotty vein as The Boys, great melody and a great look back. Finally, we reach the end of what has been a really good record and one I have enjoyed and ‘Hang Loose’ takes this bad boy home with another sleazy rocker that kinda pulls all the previous influences together for one last hurrah as the band goes over the top and into battle once more.

I spose like busses the follow up will be right behind this one dyou think someone should tell the band that Blakey won’t be collecting the fares on it though? Forty years for fucks sake but like a good wine it’s finally reached maturity and its ready to be enjoyed and I certainly did that.

Buy The Album Here

Author: Dom Daley