Virginia Woolf once said, "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the grave of Aphra Behn... for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds." Had Woolf been a teen with a 'zine in the late '70s or early '80s, she might have said the same about Joan Jett — sans the whole "grave" part, since Jett is still very much alive. And instead of "the right to speak their minds," the literary legend could update it to "the right to plug in and rock out.".
It's hard to overstate the scope of Jett's influence, especially since many of the female rock stars who followed — Courtney Love, L7, Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and the Go-Gos — have named her as an inspiration. And last year, Jett's legend status was confirmed when her four years alongside Cherie Currie were eulogized on the big screen in The Runaways.
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After that landmark all-girl-group split, Jett went solo and a slew of Top 40 hits followed, including punkish classics "Bad Reputation" and "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Even if the hit momentum waned through the '80s and '90s, Jett built a substantial fan base who still sing along to her songs in bars across the globe. To this day, any girl who thinks rock 'n' roll is just for boys should look to Jett. She's one of the matriarchs who carved the way.