Ep. 1 Notes (“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

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The Song

Here’s the original Arrows version:

And here’s the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts version:

And here are the lyrics.

References and Citations


In the episode, I drew on information which you can find at the following sites.

The Wikipedia article on the song.

The Wikipedia article on Alan Merrill.

Billboard’s Top 20 Hot 100 Hits of the 80s.

The Week-by-Week List of Billboard Hot 100 #1 Songs for 1982.

Philosophical Sources


Regarding the nature of quotations, I drew from the best work of which I know on that subject: Robert Sokolowski’s article, “Quotation,” in his collection of essays, Pictures, Quotations, and Distinctions: Fourteen Essays in Phenomenology, 27-51 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992). That article, however, was originally published as “Quotation,” The Review of Metaphysics 37 (1984): 699-723, which you can read at that link

Free Will

Regarding the nature of free will, I drew on my own papers (“The Embarrassment of Punching Puppets” [PDF] and “A Preparation for Existentialism, Regarding Human Freedom” [PDF]), which are inspired by Aristotle’s discussion of voluntary and involuntary action in Nicomachean Ethics III. The idea that free will(or at least moral responsibility) isn’t about choosing between alternative possibilities was most famously argued by Harry Frankfurt (the guy who wrote that famous book).


My discussion of names here comes from my article, “Husserl’s Mereological Semiotics: Indications, Expressions, Surrogates” (PDF), and, as always, is inspired by the work of Robert Sokolowski, especially in his articles “Picturing,” in Pictures, Quotations, and Distinctions, 3-26 (see, e.g., pp. 21-24), and “Referring,” also in Pictures, Quotations, and Distinctions, 187-209 (but specifically pp. 187-88).  You can read “Picturing” for free in its original form (as published in The Review of Metaphysics 31 [1977]: 3-28) here, while the original form of “Referring” can be tracked down in The Review of Metaphysics 42 (1988): 27-49. You can trace both my own and Sokolowski’s ideas on names and presence back to Edmund Husserl.

Comments, Corrections, and Feedback

Comment Away!

If you have any comments or questions about Episode 1, please feel free to leave them as “Replies” on this post. What, for example, did I miss in the song? Is there anything about its music or lyrics that you think is interesting, but I brazenly ignored? Or maybe I got something plain wrong!


You may notice, for instance, that I say in the episode that “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” replaced the Chariots of Fire theme song at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. In fact, things were the other way around.


Featured image by Focka. Provided under a CC  Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

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4 thoughts on “Ep. 1 Notes (“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

  • Great podcast. Keep it up.
    What I would like to discuss is the idea of the name not mattering. It doesn’t matter (to the singer) because it’s a one-night stand, and that one-night stand could be with anyone. It’s about sexual/physical attraction, not who the person is as a human being. Yes, the person by the record machine is attractive to the singer, but if they don’t go home with the singer, then he/she can find another person to go home with. Sammy Hagar sings about it in as straight forward way as one can in his song, “I don’t need love.” Lyrics: “I don’t really know what love is/Hey, I’m just lookin’ for some sex, yeah/I don’t need love/you know what I’m thinking of.” Def Leppard sings about it on their song “Animal”: “I need your touch, don’t need your love.” Or John Cougar (Mellencamp) “I Need A Lover” : I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy/Some girl to thrill me and then go away/I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy/Some girl that knows the meaning of a/Hey hit the highway'”

    I think it’s interesting how you talk about the kind of person who will go home with the singer when discussing her confidence and free will, but don’t mention that it doesn’t matter with whom she goes home, just that she will have someone in her bed that night. Which to me is clearly the intent of the lyric.

    • Thanks Mark! I think your analysis is exactly right. And that gets me thinking: I bet Kant would say that all these lyrics are evidence of one person treating another as a “mere means” (to the end of sexual gratification) rather than treating the other person as an end in herself (which I take to mean: people for whom/on behalf of whom it is worthwhile to act). (I say “herself” since I believe all these lyrics were originally written/sung by men about women. I wonder whether rock lyrics would have different themes if they had been written/sung predominately by women from the beginning. We need a Terry Pratchett to imagine that world for us!)

  • I think a major lyric structure wasn’t discussed here. This song is written in a very unique way… It’s a “song within a song” essentially. The “record machine” is playing her favorite song, which is “I Love Rock-n-Roll….(chorus)” The story is a narrative of what’s going on and the reference to “playin’ my favorite song” refers to the Chorus of I Love Rock-n-Roll. On the leadup to the chorus, she sings “I could tell it wouldn’t be long till he was with me, yeah me, SINGING…. ” This is confusing to explain, but I guess the easiest way is this: Her favorite song is I Love Rock-n-Roll and when she walks into the room, there’s a cute guy who has played I Love Rock-n-Roll on the jukebox….”put another dime in the jukebox baby” I just think it is a very interesting and unique lyric structure and while you referred to quotations, this understanding takes that to an deeper lever. She is quoting the song playing on the “record machine” (which is, in fact, I Love Rock-n-Roll – proven by the chorus she sings) as she sings the very same chorus to her own narration of events. God, please don’t get on me for my innappropriate usage of quotations throuought this comment. I have no idea how to properly punctuate what I’m trying to convey. Hope this made some sense…lol Loved the drill down on this. Very entertaining indeed

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