Joan Jett was born in segregated Mississippi in 1957. Her parents, both of whom were incarcerated during the civil rights movement, raised her two younger siblings alone. She was a very young girl when her family learned that her uncle had been fatally injured while organizing a sit-in protest. Her Uncle survived, however, and this inspired Joan to begin her lifelong musical journey.
Joan Jett was a poor child who was sexually abused at the hands of her older sisters and cousins before she was rescued by a caring single parent who encouraged her to pursue her musical talent. After learning the guitar, her family moved to Los Angeles, where Joan pursued her musical career. Over the course of the following few years, she would experience a bad reputation in the music industry, first by her lack of skills and then by the accusations of sexual abuse she faced from one of her former band members (charges which were untrue).
Eventually, Joan Jett’s reputation for being a party girl resurfaced when the band she was in split up and she was named the replacement front lady for Scream, which was then a popular act in the Los Angeles area. Her first year in the role did not prove to be as successful as the band had hoped, but their fans did take notice of her demeanor and the positive attitude that seemed to permeate all of Joanna’s behavior. The group dissolved after that year, but Joan Jett would maintain a strong following even after splitting from her first rock band, when she went back into the studio with a new musical group called the Viva Little League. Despite the bad reputation, Joan Jett quickly became one of the most popular female artists of all time.
In the early 1990s, Joan Jett began to tour with other legendary artists such as David Bowie, Queen, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, when the Viva Kids Band was introduced, it did not do well in the charts, despite its exciting sound and energetic guitar performances. This, coupled with the bad reputation that Joanna had received in the Los Angeles music scene, led to fans clamoring for a chance to see what all the fuss was about. Finally, the world got a chance to see what all the fuss was about with Joan Jett and her amazing band, Viva La Vida.
Viva La Vida quickly began to make a name for itself, as it featured original songs with a rock and roll twist, along with more recognizable songs from earlier works of various artists. It went on to sell millions of copies in the first few weeks, setting records for the biggest first week of a rock album ever. After a few years, the group members began to form their own groups, with Joanna and guitarist Cherie Currie teaming up with musicians Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, as well as bassist David Lee Roth and singer Janet Jackson.
Five years later, Viva La Vida returned to the chart with a remake of their original hit, “Boom Boom Pow.” The new version featured production from artists such as Fagen and Shoeyrock, replacing the acoustic guitar work with electric guitars. Eventually, everyone who was a member of Viva La Vida became household names, with their own albums, including “Prayers” (with Michael Jackson) and “Hits.” Eventually, the members of Viva La Vida decided to leave the group, because they were getting older. They remained together until their deaths but are no longer officially linked to the band. Numerous other singers have made their claim to fame by combining their own bands with the original Viva La Vida, including Christina Aguilera and Boyz II Men.