Joan Jett was born at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved to Rockville, Maryland, in 1967 where she attended Randolph Junior High and Wheaton High School. In her teens, Jett would sneak out at night to go to concerts with friends. She got her first guitar for Christmas from her parents at the age of 14, and she mostly spent time after that writing songs. Joan initially took some guitar lessons, but quit soon after when the instructor kept trying to teach her folk songs. She also became involved with a bartender at a club from the town, at which point her family then relocated to the city of West Covina, California, in Los Angeles County, providing Jett the opportunity to pursue her musical endeavors.Lankenau Hospital WynnewoodsuburbPhiladelphia PennsylvaniaRockville, Maryland Junior HighWheaton High SchoolWest CovinaLos Angeles County
In Los Angeles, Joan interacted with some of her idols, including Suzi Quatro, one of the first female rock musicians who played an instrument on stage. Quatro was vital to Joan's career, and Joan adopted many of Suzi's qualities including her shag haircut and style. Jett would quietly wait in the lobby of various hotels that Suzi was staying in during her US tours, just to catch a glimpse of her. She wore wooden platform shoes with "Suzi Quatro" carved into the side. Her favorite night spot was Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco.Joan was further introduced to the glam-rock style she so adored as this genre was explosive in the UK and Europe, but never quite took off in the US. Rodney's was the only place Jett could hear this style of music, and it certainly helped develop her image.
The Runaways Jett is a founding member of The Runaways along with drummer Sandy West. Micki Steele, Jackie Fox, Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie completed the line-up. While Currie initially fronted the band, Jett shared some lead vocals, played rhythm guitar and wrote or co-wrote a lot of the band's material along with Ford, West and Currie. The band recorded five LPs, with Live In Japan becoming one of the biggest-selling imports in U.S. and U.K. history. The band toured around the world and some of their opening acts included Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They found success abroad, especially in Japan. In 2010, The Runaways, a movie about Joan Jett's band, was made, starring Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.The RunawaysSandy WestMicki SteeleJackie FoxLita FordCherie Currierhythm guitarLPsLive In JapanCheap Trick Van HalenTom Petty and the HeartbreakersJapanThe RunawaysKristen StewartDakota Fanning