Dear Buttercow,

According to a recent study, Americans are becoming the shortest and fattest (when factored together) nationality in the world. What do you think is contributing to this trend? And what are you doing to prevent it from happening to you?

Rob Terrino,
Erie, PA


Dear Rob,

You probably are familiar with the mega-hit, "I Love Rock & Roll" by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. Originally, Joan wanted the song to be called "I Enjoy Free-form Jazz," but her record company thought it was a bad idea.

"It would've alienated most of the kids listening to radio," comments Chad Dillard, former A&R rep for Capital Records. He continues, "Kids don't listen to free-form jazz. It's too complex. Joan had to rewrite the lyrics. The verse that goes, 'I saw him standing there by the record machine' was originally, 'I saw him drinking steamy coffee beverages at an upscale jazz night club.' Nobody responded to that during production. So she changed it."

I made a few calls and found Joan Jett (real name: Joahanna Frick) living in Jackson Heights. She invited me inside her musty tool shed apartment where I asked her about the frustrating circumstances surrounding this song...

"I went into the studio and just started improvising. But every time I got to the chorus, I couldn't stop singing 'I enjoy free-form jazz.' Nothing else fit. It probably took 3 weeks before Broadie, my manager, sat me down and said, 'Joan, you're in a rock & roll band. You have one of the biggest collections of rock & roll memorabilia in the country. You love rock & roll. You know what to do.' I went back to the studio that night and laid down another vocal track. This time I sang, 'I love free-form jazz.' It still didn't work."

Joan doesn't recall when or how the final lyrics were recorded, but she insists she never sang them. Such is the creative process. And such, it would seem, is the answer to your question.

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