a monthly look at the faces
that have made history

joan jett

The original riot grrrl. The godmother of punk. And now, the darling of this year's Sundance Film Festival? More on the Utah connection later, but first let's briefly revisit Joan Jett's roots. The baby-faced brunette with the shag haircut and platform boots was a fully formed badass from the day she took the stage as a founding member of the Runaways. Back in 1976, when the band played its first gig at CBGB, they were dismissed as a gimmick—there was no way five kittenish teenage girls from L.A. could really rock. Indeed, the Runaways' self-titled debut barely scraped the bottom of the Billboard charts. But the band went on to inspire countless young women to pick up guitars, and gritty tracks such as "Cherry Bomb" are now acknowledged classics. And Jett, of course, went on to become a superstar in her own right.

When the Runaways broke up in 1979, the singer packed up her sinewy guitar licks, her sexual swagger, and her world-class sneer and got to work on the songs that would make her a household name. Her biggest hit, "I Love Rock n Roll," spent seven consecutive weeks at no. 1 in 1982. Now Jett is back in the spotlight: Twilight star Kristen Stewart has donned the singer's iconic 'do in order to play her in Floria Sigismondi's biopic The Runaways, which will premiere at Sundance later this month. Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

—Maya Singer

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