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"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is a rock song written in 1975 by Alan Merrill of the Arrows [1], who recorded the first released version.[2] The song was later made famous by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in 1982.[3] The only Arrows band member still living, Merrill still plays the song live, most often in his hometown of New York City.[4]

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
Arrows I Love Rock n Roll.jpg
2004 re-issue
Single by the Arrows
B-side"Broken Down Heart"
ReleasedJuly 1975
Format7-inch single
Recorded1975
GenreHard rock
Length2:48
LabelRAK
Songwriter(s)Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Producer(s)Mickie Most
the Arrows singles chronology
"Hard Hearted"
(1975)
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
(1975)
"Once Upon a Time"
(1976)

Contents

The Arrows original versionEdit

The song was originally recorded and released by the Arrows in 1975 on Rak Records, with Merrill on lead vocals and guitar and Mickie Most producing. Merrill wrote the music and lyrics. In an interview with Songfacts, Merrill said he wrote the song as "a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones' 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)'."[3][5] This version was first released as a B-side, but was soon re-recorded and flipped to A-side status on a subsequent pressing of the record. The Arrows performed the song in 1975 on the Muriel Young-produced show 45, after which Young offered the Arrows a weekly UK television series, Arrows, which was broadcast on ITV starting in March 1976.[6]

Joan Jett versionEdit

"I Love Rock 'n Roll"
 
Single by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
from the album I Love Rock 'n Roll
B-side"You Don't Know What You've Got" or "Love is Pain"
ReleasedJanuary 19, 1982
Format7-inch single, 12-inch single
Recorded1981
GenreHard rock[7][8]
Length2:55 (LP version) 2:45 (U.S. single edit)
LabelBoardwalk
Songwriter(s)Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Producer(s)Ritchie Cordell, Kenny Laguna
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts singles chronology
"Bad Reputation"
(1981)
"I Love Rock 'n Roll"
(1982)
"Crimson and Clover"
(1982)
Music video
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (TopPop, 1982) on YouTube

Joan Jett saw the Arrows perform "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" on their weekly UK television series Arrows[3] while she was touring England with the Runaways in 1976.[6] She first recorded the song in 1979 with two of the Sex Pistols, Steve Jones and Paul Cook. This first version was released on vinyl in 1979 on Vertigo records as a B-side to "You Don't Own Me". In 1981, Jett re-recorded the song, this time with her band, the Blackhearts. This recording became a U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single for seven weeks.[9] Billboard ranked it at the No. 3 song for 1982. The single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing two million units shipped to stores, with Jett's I Love Rock 'n Roll album reaching number two on the Billboard 200. Jett's version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.[10]

Music videoEdit

The black-and-white music video for "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" received heavy play by the fledgling MTV network. It featured Jett and the Blackhearts traveling to a small, dingy bar and then exciting the drunken crowd by performing the song and yelling out its chorus. A snippet of Jett's 1981 hit "Bad Reputation" can be heard at the beginning of the video. The video was originally in color, but it was converted to black and white because Jett hated the look of her red leather jumpsuit in color.[11]

In 1993 Joan Jett & the Blackhearts made another music video for the song as part of the Wayne's World 2 soundtrack. The video consisted of scenes from the movie, with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, mixed with footage of Jett and her band in a faux concert filmed at Irving Plaza in NYC. At one point during the filming, one person was introduced to the crowd as having been in the original video as he set up to stage dive for that take. The song was again released as a single by Warner/Reprise with "Activity Grrrl" as the B-side.[12]

PopularityEdit

Jett's version has received many rankings, including:

Chart performanceEdit

Britney Spears versionEdit

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
 
Single by Britney Spears
from the album Britney and Crossroads (Music from the Major Motion Picture)
Released27 May 2002 (2002-05-27)[43]
Format
Recorded2001
Genre
Length3:06
LabelJive
Songwriter(s)Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Producer(s)Rodney Jerkins
Britney Spears singles chronology
"I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"
(2002)
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
(2002)
"Anticipating"
(2002)
Music video
"I Love Rock 'N' Roll" on YouTube

Background, release and compositionEdit

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was the fourth European single by pop singer Britney Spears from the album Britney, released on 27 May 2002. The song was used in her 2002 movie Crossroads, in which Spears' character Lucy performs it in a karaoke bar. Spears said of the song, "They asked me to sing karaoke in the movie Crossroads and I've actually sung I Love Rock 'n' Roll in a lot of clubs that I've been to."[44] Spears has publicly stated that the original song is one of her favorites. She listened to the original Arrows Mickie Most-produced version just before she recorded the song, according to Jive A&R representative Steve Lunt. The scratches performed on this version were performed by Corey Chase at Hit Factory Miami. When promoting the single's release, Spears mistakenly attributed the hit version of the song to Pat Benatar instead of Joan Jett.[45]

ReceptionEdit

CriticalEdit

Spears' cover was met with mostly favorable reviews. NME's Ted Kessler wrote that Britney "still works best when making a good pop cheese and dance sandwich: there's the ace Rodney Jerkins-produced version of Joan Jett's 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll', which does exactly what is says on the tin."[46] Rolling Stone's Barry Walters wrote that "producer Rodney Jerkins' hip-hop blaspheming of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" doesn't go as far as it should (is a Limp Bizkit remix in its future?), but it certainly beats what her earlier studio architects did to those Sonny and Cher ("The Beat Goes On" on ...Baby One More Time) and Stones ("(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" on Oops!... I Did It Again) songs."[47] Another positive reception came from PopMatters's editor Nikki Tranter, who enjoyed that the song is "different from the average run-of-the-mill pop offering," and praised that "she does strange justice to the tune, vamping up her vocals and turning out something, that while silly and camp, is actually a fun listen."[48] In contrast, David Browne wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "her remake is neither imaginative (it simply xeroxes Joan Jett's arrangement) nor all that believable."[49]

CommercialEdit

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" charted moderately upon release, reaching the top twenty in most regions. The song was moderately successful in the UK, where it peaked at #13 (which, at the time, was Spears' lowest peak for a single released there, until "Radar" only managed to reach #46 in 2009, and then "I Wanna Go", which peaked at #111). The single sold a total of 65,000 copies.[50] It was also certified Gold in Australia.

PromotionEdit

Directed by Chris Applebaum, the music video for "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" shows Spears with her own band, a stack of speakers and flashing lights. The video begins in black and white and switches to and from color throughout. It was shot at The Inn, a bar in Long Beach, New York. The video was ranked at #2 on the 100 Best Videos of 2002 list during MTV Latin America's countdown. A "Director's Cut" version of the video was later leaked, containing previously unseen scenes.

The song was performed live during Spears' Dream Within a Dream Tour (2001–02). In 2016, it was added to the revamped set list of her Las Vegas residency show, Britney: Piece of Me (2016–17), marking the first time Spears performed the song in 14 years. During the performance, Britney Spears rode a mechanical electric guitar, which simulated a mechanical bull, as it rotated on stage. The same prop electric guitar had been used during her Femme Fatale Tour (2011) for a segment in which she covered the song "Burning Up" by Madonna. At the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the song was performed as part of a medley.

Track listingsEdit

Charts and certificationsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[75] Gold 35,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Country Date Format Label
Germany[76] 27 May 2002 Maxi single JIVE
Japan[77] 19 June 2002 Sony
United Kingdom[78] 1 July 2002 JIVE

Alex Gaudino and Jason Rooney versionEdit

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
 
Promotional single by Alex Gaudino & Jason Rooney
Released3 December 2008
Recorded2008
Length3:37
Label541/NEWS
Songwriter(s)Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Alex Gaudino chronology
"Watch Out"
(2008)
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
(2008)
"I'm in Love (I Wanna Do It)"
(2010)

A cover version by Alex Gaudino and Jason Rooney was released in 2008.

Track listingEdit

UK Digital download
No.TitleLength
1."I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Radio Edit)3:37
2."I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Extended Mix)7:43
3."I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Dabruck, Klein Remix)6:01
4."I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Nari & Milani Remix)5:35
5."I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Disko Kriminals Remix)7:05
Credits and personnel
  • Lead vocals – Alex Gaudino
  • Music – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Lyrics – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Scratches – Corey Chase
  • Label: 541/NEWS

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[79] 10

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format
United Kingdom 3 December 2008 Digital download[80]

Other cover versionsEdit


"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" has been covered and sampled by artists such as:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://lifeonaledge.tumblr.com/post/156483534184/fascinating-interview-with-alan-merrill-lead
  2. ^ Cad, Saint. "10 More Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". listverse.com. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Outsight Radio Hours interview, 12 February 2012". Retrieved 18 March 2012.
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  6. ^ a b "Ten hits you may not know were cover versions". BBC News. Retrieved 14 October 2014
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  8. ^ Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-8460-9091-2. Cordell joined Kenny Laguna, his former session player and then manager of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, to co-produce the group's chart-topping hard-rock anthem 'I Love Rock 'N Roll'.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 322.
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External linksEdit