Bad Reputation: Joan Jett – The Unauthorised Biography
by Dave Thompson

A Runaway’s success

If the phrase “unauthorised
biography” largely conjures up
images of a superficial
cut’n’paste hack job, then Dave
Thompson’s excellent study of
Joan Jett is at the other end of
the spectrum: the labour of love.
Part of Jett’s story is now pretty
well-known, thanks to the recent
Runaways movie, but this book
is a reminder of the fact that,
even when The Runaways and
their sporadically excellent
discography was all but
forgotten, Joan Jett herself was,
if not a household name, at
least an established artist.

Since the dissolution of the
band, Jett’s career has been
one of highs and lows. As Bad
Reputation documents, her
consistency means that, when
fashion is receptive to a punk-ish
vision of rock’n’roll, without
its sometimes overblown
aspects, Joan Jett tends to do
well; when artificiality or stadium
pomposity are in vogue, she
suffers accordingly.

If there’s a down side to
Thompson’s stylish, passionate
book it’s perhaps that he tends
to exaggerate Jett’s importance.
On the other hand, his
enthusiasm is such that he may
just sway you.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Backbeat Books | ISBN 9780879309909, 259 pages

Reviewed by William Pinfold
<< Back to Issue 398