Late Night Music: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Bad Reputation”

I know we had some Bad Reputation chatter here recently, but I’d never seen this video until tonight.

It’s not a great video, but it does take on EMI and Virgin, the way the Sex Pistols did. What’s more important is that this is a fantastic song, burnished in my head from watching Freaks and Geeks (you should!).

3 thoughts on “Late Night Music: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Bad Reputation”

  1. Everybody’s just way too pretty for real punk. Kinda like Billy Idol.

    Down and dirty, in an ultra-pretty way, which doesn’t work for memememememememe.

  2. I’m the opposite. It’s OK but not down and dirty, and pretty is just fine with me. Most of my faves are very pretty in their own ways. If you’re saying that she’s manufactured pretty in the Billy Idol mold I agree. But I wouldn’t care if if the band was better. They’re not BAD but the spark ain’t there. I probably would have liked them at the Action House out on the Island, wherever it was although I’m sure Peter remembers. The Action House, by the way, would be the name of MY club. When I wanted to get down and dirty I might start with this:

    • I don’t know the Action House, maybe that was a Nassau County thing. We had the Oak Beach Inn, which was the party ShangriLa for us. But for bands we had bars in shopping centers that had a constant stream of locals. That’s where the Good Rats started, and elevated. It occurs to me I don’t know where Lou Reed started as a teen, before the Brill Building, but that was way earlier.

      I would go to the Action House. Now.

      As for the Blackhearts, I’m not holding them or Jett up as exemplars. I like her, I like a lot of her songs, I’m crazy about the weird role she has in Freaks and Geeks, and her role in the Germs and LA Punks stories burnishes her for me. I guess my take is, she did stuff in rock gurls weren’t supposed to do, especially when they weren’t supposed to do it, and she stuck with it and fought for it and paid dues and fought some more for it, and made pop records out of I Love Rock and Roll and Bad Reputation at a time that wasn’t stylish.

      My point: Not bandwagon jumping, actually ahead of much of the curve, and stubborn, refusing to go new wave (except for maybe the white shirts, and claiming to be dirtier than than were in that Bad Reputation video), are good qualities. Wanting to become a rock and roll star and then becoming a rock and roll star is the entire justification. That’s what Bob Seger gets all kinds of kudos for, while his move was toward sap. Jett didn’t do that. Especially laudable if you’re on a gender track that makes all of it a whole lot harder.

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