Music / Joe Jackson
Lookin' sharp!
Joe Jackson (born August 11, 1954) is an English singer and composer originally from Staffordshire in The West Midlands, working in London for most of his professional life. He first came to notice in the New Wave era, although like his rough contemporaries Graham Parker and Elvis Costello he came from more of a pub rock than Punk Rock background. Since then he’s committed quite a bit of Genre Adultery, working in Synth Pop, Jazz, and Classical Music, among other things.

NB: This Joe Jackson is not the father of Michael Jackson, nor did he play for the Chicago Black Sox.

Tropes associated with Joe Jackson include:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive.
  • All Women Are Lustful: “It’s Different for Girls”. Jackson has half-joked in concert that it’s about how women “just want to use us for our bodies.”
  • British Newspapers: Sunday Papers, a song about cheap and tacky weekend tabloids.
  • Classical Music: Some of his albums have come out on Sony Classical, including Symphony No. 1.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: He sports one on the cover of his I'm the Man album.
  • Four More Measures: The intros for "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" and "Steppin' Out".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jackson’s breakthrough hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him” is a guy’s envious lament about how other guys get all the women.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: “Look Sharp” starts with the narrator listening to an unheard series of warnings about how he’s going to be eaten alive by the big bad world. It ends on a different note:
    Big shot, thanks a lot, gotta go, it’s getting late
    I got a date with my tailor now, thanks for putting me so straight
    Tell me how they rob me blind on every street
    But check your watch and wallet now before I go and you’re too late.
  • "I Want" Song: A young man leaves his dying industrial hometown to seek rock stardom in “Down to London”.
  • Live Album: Big World was recorded live, although the audience sounds were mostly mixed out. He's had several more conventional live albums since then.
  • Love Hurts: “Breaking Us In Two” is about two people who can never make it work. Also counts as a Breakup Song.
  • Protest Song: “Right and Wrong” is a protest song about Reagan-era foreign policy.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: The last verse of “Real Men” examines this attitude.
  • Strawman News Media: “Sunday Papers”.