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“I Hate Myself for Loving You” was released in 1988 as the lead single from their sixth studio album, Up Your Alley. The song was a major hit for the band and remains one of their most recognizable tracks.

Joan Jett, a pioneering figure in rock music, co-wrote “I Hate Myself for Loving You” with songwriter and producer Desmond Child. Desmond Child is known for his work with numerous high-profile artists and bands, including Bon Jovi, Kiss, and Aerosmith. The collaboration aimed to create a powerful and catchy rock anthem that would appeal to a broad audience. The song was produced by Desmond Child and Kenny Laguna, a longtime collaborator of Joan Jett. Laguna has been instrumental in Jett’s career since her days with The Runaways and her early solo work.

“I Hate Myself for Loving You” is characterized by its hard-rock sound, featuring a driving guitar riff, a steady rhythm, and Joan Jett’s distinctive, gritty vocals. The song’s aggressive and energetic style aligns with Jett’s rock persona, showcasing her ability to deliver powerful rock performances. Lyrically, the song deals with themes of love, betrayal, and emotional conflict. The narrator expresses frustration and self-loathing for continuing to love someone who has caused them pain. The chorus—”I hate myself for loving you / Can’t break free from the things that you do”—captures the internal struggle and intensity of the emotions involved. The song’s relatable theme and catchy hook contributed to its widespread appeal.

“I Hate Myself for Loving You” was a commercial success, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It also performed well on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it peaked at number 10. The song’s success helped to revitalize Joan Jett’s career in the late 1980s, bringing her music to a new generation of fans.

“I Hate Myself for Loving You” remains one of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ most enduring songs. It is frequently included in Jett’s live performances and greatest hits compilations. The song’s success and lasting popularity have solidified its place as a classic rock anthem. The success of “I Hate Myself for Loving You” contributed to the overall success of the Up Your Alley album, which was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The song’s mainstream appeal helped to maintain Joan Jett’s relevance in the evolving rock landscape of the late 1980s.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Hate Myself for Loving You – Lyrics