The 2015 class beats that ratio, barely, by including Joan Jett among its eight inductees. Of course, her band The Blackhearts — made up of three men — was invited along with her.
The Go-Go’s set a record for sales by a female act, but they weren’t the only trailblazers in 1981. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ I Love Rock ‘n Roll sold more than 10 million copies and put its title track atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for seven weeks.
Jett released several albums with the Runaways and one solo record before forming The Blackhearts and dropping this smash hit. The album is full of crunchy guitars and sexy swagger. It’s not so much a collection of great songs as a half hour of raw, seductive girl power turned up to 11.
It’s hard to imagine an Avril Lavigne without Joan Jett. Or a Gwen Stefani, Shirley Manson or Courtney Love. Jett, Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar and Debbie Harry are the names that come to mind when I think of women who were pioneers of rock. But Jett is the one I consider most fondly, because I have great associations with this song, her biggest hit.
The allmusic biography of Jett lists 17 contemporary acts she has influenced. Almost every one is a woman. The same article lists 21 artists who influenced Jett, and every one is a man. Funny how you can look at two lists like that and see in an instant what it means to be a trailblazer.