The first record I ever went out and bought with my own money was Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”. I think I was twelve, so that would have been in 1982. For all you boys and girls out there, that’s when people used to buy music on these black things called “45s”, which were larger than CDs, but only held two songs! The “B” side of that record was “Crimson and Clover” (another cover song, and also awesome).
Back then, I thought Joan Jett was the coolest person to ever walk the face of the earth. While other little girls were dreaming of being Princess Di, I wanted to be Joan Jett. Seriously, who the hell was interested in being bossed around by some ugly, big-eared Prince? I would much rather be the Queen of Rock! I wanted to be just like her, and the heavy black eyeliner I wore throughout my teens and twenties was a testament to that. She was everything I aspired to be; beautiful, tough, strong, rebellious; and she could play the guitar like a mf-ing riot. Growing up with her as a female role model could explain a lot about who I am.
She is every bit as cool to me today as she was when I was twelve. It doesn’t seem like it’s been thirty years since I first heard her say “A girl can do what she wants to do”. I might not have ever learned to shred a guitar like she can, but I believe I fully embraced her message of female empowerment. She taught me that there was nothing wrong with going toe to toe with the guys, being yourself, and not caring what other people think. I will always love her for giving me that gift when I was a girl.
“And I don’t really care if ya think I’m strange,