Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Bad Reputation - Meaning of the song
Jett wrote this with Kenny Laguna, who produced the album and helped her establish a solo career after her group, The Runaways, broke up.
This song made a very bold statement, establishing Jett as an independent-minded rocker with no concern for traditional gender roles in rock. Her co-writer Kenny Laguna explained:
"'I don't give a damn about my reputation, it's a new generation,' that was the whole thing, a girl could do what she wants to do. When she was singing those lyrics, it was radical because there were no girls doing anything other than what they were supposed to do, they were all supposed to be like the girl groups. They were supposed to be dainty, wear dresses. They weren't supposed to play instruments. The song was definitely autobiographical."
"It's about Joan having been kind of a wild woman in The Runaways, and us trying to make a record deal, going around having people say, 'No, she's too crazy, like the punks and nazis.' Joan had this bad reputation, no label would sign her - that's why we own the records. It was so frustrating, we thought we should write a song about it.
Bad Reputation - Lyrics
I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation You're living in the past, it's a new generation A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation Oh no, not me An' I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation Never said I wanted to improve my station An' I'm only doin' good when I'm havin' fun An' I don't have to please no one An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation Oh no, not me, oh no, not me I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation I've never been afraid of any deviation An' I don't really care if you think I'm strange I ain't gonna change An' I'm never gonna care 'bout my bad reputation Oh no, not me, oh no, not me Pedal, boys! An' I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation The world's in trouble, there's no communication An' everyone can say what they wanna to say It never gets better, anyway So why should I care about a bad reputation anyway? Oh no, not me, oh no, not me I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation You're living in the past, it's a new generation An' I only feel good when I got no pain An' that's how I'm gonna stay An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation Oh no, not me, oh no, not me Not me, not me