Joan Jett has released a cover of T. Rex’s “Jeepster” for the upcoming tribute album, AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex. The album was produced by the late Hal Willner, who died after contracting COVID-19. AngelHeaded Hipster will be released in full on September 4.
Joan Jett begins smoking a cigarette, her signature ragged voice crooning the lyrics as she’s joined by a band. “Girl I’m just a Jeepster for your love,” her heavy voice moans while she drags out the last word. Jett harmonizes with herself, the instrumentals popping and bouncing beneath her. Marc Ribot joins Jett on guitar as Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett takes on the piano and Jim White plays drums for the track.
Jett manages to throw her rough voice around while maintaining the bopping sound of the original. The video alternates between footage of Jett recording her take of the song and T. Rex performing the original.
Jett’s husked voice brings a wildly different sound from Bolan’s bouncing vocals, his voice a quiet whine. “Jeepster” comes from T. Rex’s 1971 album, Electric Warrior. The song was first released along with B-side “Life’s a Gas” ahead of the band’s sixth studio album. The song began with some controversy due to the record label releasing the track without Bolan’s prior permission.
Willner produced the album prior to his death from COVID-19 last April. The late producer had worked for Saturday Night Live, and frequently produced and released tribute albums, including for Kurt Weill, vintage Disney Films and Thelonious Monk. Wilner had also produced albums for Marianne Faithfull, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and Lucinda Williams.
Joan Jett’s rendition follows the releases of Kesha’s “Children of the Revolution,” Nick Cave’s “Cosmic Dancer” and Devendra Banhart’s “Scenescof.” The album will also feature contributions from Lucinda Williams, U2 and Elton John, Todd Rundgren, Seano Lennon, Julian Lennon and many more.
Jett will be joining Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the Musician Treatment Foundation’s livestream benefit concert. Jett had also recently been featured on L7’s cover of Jett’s “Fake Friends.”
Photo credit: Marisa Rose Ficara