I Love Rock 'n' Roll

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"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
2004 re-issue
Single by Arrows
B-side "Broken Down Heart" (R. Ferris)
Released 1975
Format 7" single
Recorded 1975
Genre Rock
Length 2:48
Label RAK
Writer(s) Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Producer(s) Mickie Most
Arrows singles chronology
"Hard Hearted"
"I Love Rock 'n Roll"
"Once Upon a Time"

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is a rock song written in 1975 by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who recorded the first released version.[1] The song was later made famous by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts in 1982.[2] The only Arrows band member still living, Alan Merrill has been playing the song recently live in England, Europe, Japan and most often in his home town New York City.

Arrows version[edit]

The song was originally recorded and released by Arrows in 1975 on RAK Records, with lead vocals 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)'."[2][3] 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.[4]

Joan Jett version[edit]

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
Single by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
from the album I Love Rock 'n' Roll
B-side "You Don't Know What You've Got"
"Love Is Pain"
"You're Too Possessive"
Released January 20, 1982
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1981
Genre Hard rock[5]
Length 2:55
Label Boardwalk
Producer(s) Ritchie Cordell, Kenny Laguna
Certification Platinum
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts singles chronology
"Little Drummer Boy" (promo only)
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
"Crimson and Clover"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Joan Jett saw Arrows perform "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" on their weekly UK television series Arrows[2] when she was touring England with The Runaways in 1976.[4] 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.[6] Billboard ranked it at the No. 3 song for 1982.[7] 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 #89 in the list 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of Rolling Stone.[8]

Music video[edit]

"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[edit]

Jett's version has received many accolades, including:

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 2
Canadian RPM Top Singles[13] 1
France (SNEP)[14] 4
Germany (Media Control Charts)[15] 6
Irish Singles Chart[16] 2
Italy (FIMI)[17] 42
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 1
South African Chart[21] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[22] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 3
UK (Official Charts Company)[24] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[25] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[25] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[25] 31

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Centerfold" by The J. Geils Band
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Joan Jett version)
March 20, 1982 - May 1, 1982
Succeeded by
"Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis
Preceded by
"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single (Joan Jett version)
March 20, 1982 - May 8, 1982
Succeeded by
"Don't You Want Me" by The Human League
Preceded by
"What About Me" by Moving Pictures
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single (Joan Jett version)
May 3, 1982 - May 31, 1982
Succeeded by
"Mickey" by Toni Basil

Britney Spears version[edit]

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
Single by Britney Spears
from the album Britney
Released May 27, 2002 (2002-05-27)
Recorded March 2001
Genre Pop rock, R&B
Length 3:06
Label Jive
Producer(s) Rodney Jerkins
Britney Spears singles chronology
"I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman"
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"

Background, release and composition[edit]

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" is the fourth European single released by pop singer Britney Spears from the album Britney on May 27, 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."[26] 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.[27]



The song was later met with criticism by Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio, who ranked it at #37 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever in 2010 and said that Spears was "[d]oing her best to single-handedly set the women-in-rock movement back 20 years."[28] David Browne wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "her remake is neither imaginative (it simply xeroxes Joan Jett's arrangement) nor all that believable."[29]

However, the song received 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."[30] 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."[31] 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."[32]


"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" failed to make the top ten in most countries. However, the track was not a complete commercial failure as it made the top forty placement 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). The single sold a total of 65,000 copies.[33] The single also attained Gold certification in Australia despite missing the top ten.

Music video[edit]

Directed by Chris Applebaum, the music video for "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" features Spears in a tight-fitting leather getup in a dark black room. Straightforward, it features Spears jamming in a large red room, complete with her own band, a stack of speakers, and flashing lights. She crawls along on the floor, and plays air guitar before smashing the speakers with a real guitar. Spears also dances on a rotating motorcycle and gets covered with confetti. The video made its way to the No. 2 spot at the 100 Best Videos of 2002 at MTV Latin America's countdown, only behind Avril Lavigne's "Complicated". The Director's Cut version of the video was later leaked; it included previously unseen scenes from the video. The Bar where it was shot is called The Inn, in Long Beach, New York.

Track listings[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[34] 13
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[35] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[36] 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[37] 27
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[38] 19
Germany (Media Control Charts)[39] 7
Hungarian Singles Chart[40] 6
Irish Singles Chart[16] 8
Italy (FIMI)[41] 20
Japan (Oricon) 26
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[42] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[43] 18
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[44] 15
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[45] 15
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[46] 13


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[47] Gold 35,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Germany[48] May 27, 2002 Maxi single Jive Records
Japan[49] June 19, 2002 Sony
United Kingdom[50] July 1, 2002 Jive Records

Alex Gaudino and Jason Rooney version[edit]

"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
I Love Rock 'n' Roll.jpg
Promotional single by Alex Gaudino & Jason Rooney
Released 3 December 2008
Recorded 2008
Genre Electro house
Length 3:37
Label 541/NEWS
Writer Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
Alex Gaudino singles chronology
"Watch Out"
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
"I'm in Love (I Wanna Do It)"

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

Track listing[edit]

UK Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Radio Edit) 3:37
2. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Extended Mix) 7:43
3. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Dabruck, Klein Remix) 6:01
4. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Nari & Milani Remix) 5:35
5. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Disko Kriminals Remix) 7:05
Credits and personnel
  • Lead vocals – Alex Gaudino
  • Music – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Lyrics – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker
  • Scratches – Corey Chase
  • Label: 541/NEWS

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[51] 10

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United Kingdom 3 December 2008 Digital download[52]

Other cover versions[edit]

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


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  7. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1982
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External links[edit]