How Joan Jett Rebounded With ‘Up Your Alley’
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' sixth studio album, Up Your Alley, was responsible for once again solidifying the determination of one of rock's most resilient bands.
Jett’s rise out of the Runaways' ashes and celebrated come-up, despite doubts by major record labels, showcased her intent to persevere and thrive. Similarly, after the critical and commercial appeal of 1981’s Bad Reputation and I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, and 1983’s Album, Jett and the Blackhearts' hits suddenly stopped. This departure from the upper reaches of the charts would become an additional hurdle within the band's adamant stride toward success.
From 1984 to 1987, Jett and the Blackhearts released two albums, Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth and Good Music, neither of which resonated much. Jett also spent some of this time costarring with Michael J. Fox in the movie Light of Day, which was met with a varied range of reviews. Due for a musical comeback, Jett released Up Your Alley on May 23, 1988.
In typical Blackhearts fashion, Up Your Alley featured an array of Jett originals, as well as a couple of choice covers: Chuck Berry’s “Tulane” and the Stooges' “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
The album's hit single, “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” featured guitarist Mick Taylor and was co-written by Desmond Child, the songwriter who helped bring hard rock into the Top 40 in the late '80s, thanks to radio staples from Bon Jovi and Aerosmith.
Watch Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' Video for 'I Hate Myself for Loving You'
Reaching No. 8, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” became Jett’s first hit single since her cover of Tommy James and the Shondells' “Crimson and Clover” made it to the Top 10 in 1982. The song is also notable for being Jett's only Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.
The song was later included in the Guitar Hero video game, in the Rock of Ages Broadway musical and then reworked for the opening theme for NBC's Football Night in America. It's also showed up in several movies over the years, including an appearance years later in 2018’s Ready Player One.