Joan Jett had already achieved cult hero status by the early 80s. She left the chaotic circumstances of pioneering all-girl band The Runaways in 1979 and released a now-iconic self-titled debut filled with snarky glam rock and new wave anthems the following year.
Then in 1981, she scored a platinum album titled I Love Rock 'n Roll, with the title track shooting up to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Rolling Stone magazine even later included it on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Jett was not the author of the hit, though. It was the work of Alan Merril and Jake Hooker from British glam rock band The Arrows. They recorded the song in 1975 and it was originally released as a B-side. Someone dropped the ball on that one, but they definitely made some pocket change on the Jett release.
Two decades later, they would score again when pop phenomenon Britney Spears again resurrected the song and made it chart modestly in many regions. Her version added some badly dated DJ scratches and electronic drums.
It also cemented the intro guitar riff as one that fills listeners with severe angst about whose vocals are about to kick in.