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Songs You Didn’t Know Were Covers, Part 1 [Audio]

Being the music geek that I am, I present a simple feature where I reveal hit songs that are more well known for their cover version than by the original.

Today, the origins of Joan Jett‘s “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts streaked to No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts back in 1982 with “I Love Rock and Roll”, a record that has gone on to become her iconic signature.

Jett didn’t write the song, but she knew a hit when she heard it.  Joan first heard the song when she was touring in England in 1976 with the Runaways.  It was sung by a British band, The Arrows, who had a weekly TV show featuring the latest in British rock, and iconic American artists like The Drifters.

It was the band’s performance of “I Love Rock and Roll” in 1975 that convinced the producer to cast the band as the show’s hosts in the first place.  

The song was recorded as an “answer song” to The Rolling Stones‘ “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It),” which was released earlier that year.

Oddly enough, Jett’s first version of the song flopped.  

Recorded with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, the song was put on the B-side of her single, “You Don’t Own Me,” which failed to make the charts.

Jett tried again three years later with her new band, the Blackhearts, and the song shot up the charts in seven weeks in early 1982. The subsequent album of the same name shipped, and Platinum’s and Jett’s careers were resurrected.

Here’s the original version by The Arrows.

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And the more popular, widely know version by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

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