Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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I Love Rock ‘n Roll

Written and first recorded by Arrows (1975).
Also recorded by Joan Jett, Steve Jones & Paul Cook (1979), Tiny Tim (1980).
Hit versions by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (US #1/UK #4/CAN #1/AUS #1/FRA #4 1981) and Britney Spears (UK #13/AUS #13/SCOT #9 2002).

From the wiki: “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)’.’ Arrows’ version was first released as a B-side, but was soon flipped to the A-side on subsequent pressings of the single.

“The Arrows performed the song in 1975 on the Muriel Young-produced show 45. Based on the strength of their performance, Young offered the band a weekly UK television variety series, Arrows, which was broadcast on ITV starting in March 1976.

“Although Arrows’ recording was not a chart hit in its original version (as a result of nonexistent promotion by the band’s label), the song came to become a worldwide hit when recorded by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

“Jett first saw the Arrows perform ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’ on their weekly ITV variety series when she touring England with the Runaways in 1976. She initially 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’. (Singer Tiny Tim also covered ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’, in 1980, for his album Chameleon, a year before Jett’s chart-topping recording.)

“In 1981, Jett re-recorded the song, this time with her band, the Blackhearts. This was the recording that became a Billboard Hot 100 #1 single for seven weeks. Billboard ranked it as the #3 song for 1982. Jett’s version was ranked #89 in the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs list published by Rolling Stone magazine. It was also inducted into the Grammys Hall of Fame in 2016.”

Joan Jett, Steve Jones & Paul Cook, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (1979):

Tiny Tim, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (1980):

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (1981):

Britney Spears, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (2002):

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