Born in August 1955, Midlander Joe Jackson was a music college graduate (he studied piano at London’s Royal College of Music) and cabaret arranger before he discovered pub rock, nicked Elvis Costello‘s clothes and Graham Parker‘s vocal stylings, and hitched a ride on the New Wave.
His accomplished debut single, Is She Really Going Out With Him? was not an immediate hit, but by the time the album Look Sharp was released, that song had reached the UK charts some months after nudging the US Top 20.
While Jackson’s first two albums – Look Sharp and I’m The Man – had a distinct power pop feel, the follow-up, Beat Crazy, started a trend of changing musical direction with each album.
The excellent Jumpin’ Jive was a throwback to the music of the 1940s, while Night and Day (1982) produced the superbly crafted pop song Steppin’ Out with its mantric bassline and crisp piano.
He went on to international success, particularly in America.