Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

I Love Rock 'n' Roll

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Released  1975
Recorded  1975
Length  2:48
Format  7" single
Genre  Hard rock
I Love Rock 'n' Roll
B-side  "Broken Down Heart" (R. Ferris)

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is a rock song written in 1975 by Alan Merrill of The Arrows, who recorded the first released version. The song was later made famous by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in 1982. The only Arrows band member still living, Alan Merrill has been playing the song recently live in Europe, Japan and most often in his home town New York City.


The Arrows original version

The song was originally recorded and released by The Arrows in 1975 on Rak Records, with lead vocals, guitar, music & lyrics written by Alan Merrill and produced by Mickie Most. In an interview with Songfacts, Merrill said he wrote it as "a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones' 'It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)'." 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.

Joan Jett cover version

Joan Jett saw the Arrows perform "I Love Rock 'n Roll" on their weekly UK television series Arrows when she was touring England with the Runaways in 1976. 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. 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. Joan Jett's version was ranked No. 89 in the list 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of Rolling Stone and has also been inducted into the Grammys Hall of Fame in 2016.

Music video

"I Love Rock 'n Roll"'s black-and-white music video received heavy play from the just-launched MTV network. In it, Jett and the Blackhearts travel to a small, dingy bar and proceed to excite the drunken crowd by performing the song and yelling out its chorus. A snippet of Jett's 1981 "Bad Reputation" is featured at the beginning of the video. The video was originally in color, but it was converted to black and white because Jett was ultimately displeased with the look of her red leather jumpsuit in color.

In 1993 Joan Jett & the Blackhearts made another music video for the song as part of the Wayne's World 2 soundtrack. In the video appear several scenes from the movie with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey mixed with footage of Jett and her band in concert. It was again released as a single by Warner/Reprise with "Activity Grrrl" as the B-side.

Critical reception

Jett's version has received many accolades, including:

  • Ranking No. 85 on Q magazine March 2005 list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks
  • Ranking No. 491 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"
  • Ranking No. 56 in Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.
  • Background, release and composition

    "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is the fourth European single released by pop singer Britney Spears from the album Britney on 27 May 2002. The song was used in her 2002 movie Crossroads. Spears's 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." Spears has publicly admitted the original song to be one of her favorites. Spears 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 song were performed by Corey Chase, at Hit Factory Miami. When promoting the single's release she mistakenly attributed the hit version of the song to Pat Benatar instead of Jett.


    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 (sic) 'I Love Rock'n'Roll', which does exactly what is says on the tin". 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". 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." 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".


    "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 number thirteen (which, at the time, was her lowest peak for a single released there, until "Radar" only managed to reach number forty-six in 2009, and then "I Wanna Go, which peaked at one-hundred and eleven). The single sold a total of 65,000 copies. It was also certified Gold in Australia.

    Music video

    Directed by Chris Applebaum, the music video for "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" features Spears with her own band, a stack of speakers, and flashing lights. It was shot at The Inn, a bar in Long Beach, New York. The video was ranked at No. 2 on the 100 Best Videos of 2002 at MTV Latin America's countdown. The Director's Cut version of the video was later leaked; it included previously unseen scenes from the video.

    Live performances

    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. The performance features Spears riding a mechanical electric guitar, which simulates a mechanical bull, as it rotates on stage. The same prop electric guitar was previously used by Spears during her Femme Fatale Tour (2011) for a segment in which she covered the song "Burning Up" by Madonna. In the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the song was performed as part of a medley, using the same guitar prop.

    Alex Gaudino and Jason Rooney version

    The Alex Gaudino & Jason Rooney cover version was released in 2008.

    Track listing

    Credits and personnel
  • Lead vocals – Alex Gaudino
  • Music – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Lyrics – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Scratches – Corey Chase
  • Label: 541/NEWS
  • Other cover versions

    "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is an often-covered song, and has been notably recorded by such artists as:

  • L'Arc~En~Ciel released the song as a single internationally in 2011 and it was featured in a Pepsi commercial in Japan.
  • Lee Da-hae released the song as a single in 2007, with versions in both English and Korean.
  • Boy band Five sampled the song for "Everybody Get Up".
  • Reverend Run sampled the song for his song "Mind on the Road" on his solo album Distortion.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic (parody, as "I Love Rocky Road")
  • The group Forever Young covered the song in 2003 and made the French top 30 peaking at #27 in 2003.
  • Fast Forward Highway covered Joan Jett's version for the video game Just Dance 2017.
  • References

    I Love Rock 'n' Roll Wikipedia