Top 10 Joe Jackson Songs

Joe Jackson Songs

Photo: Jean-Luc [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Joe Jackson burst onto the music scene in 1979 with a huge hit single entitled “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” The song was released on Joe Jackson’s debut album entitled Look Sharp. In 1979, new wave music dominated the airwaves and the sound of Joe Jackson’s album reflected the musical culture of the moment.“Is She Really Going Out With Him?” was not the only great song on the record. The rest of Joe Jackson’s debut album Look Sharp was fabulous. Great songs like “Sunday Papers,” “One More Time,” and the title track “Look Sharp,” helped Joe Jackson capture a loyal following from the start. While bands like Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello were enjoying great popularity in the punk /new wave era, Joe Jackson’s music fused elements of all past musical eras into a unique addicting sound.

With the incredible commercial success of the hit single entitled “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Joe Jackson quickly followed up with another album the same year in 1979 entitled I’m the Man.  The album earned considerable critical praise and even though it portrayed the same sound as his first album, there was a bit more maturity in the writing. To a critical ear, one could hear that Joe Jackson was a major new talent that could possibly be around for a long time. Anyone who thought so was proven right.

In 1980, Joe Jackson released the album Beat Crazy. The album represented the final record of a trilogy that defined a certain sound that Joe Jackson was ready to put to bed. In 1981, Joe Jackson surprised his audience with a grooving swing album entitled Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive. It was Joe Jackson’s fourth album and the first without his original band that performed on his first three records. The album contained all cover songs.

The substance of the classic jazz swing songs Joe Jackson covered on Joe Jackson’s Jumpin’ Jive album seemed to have a major effect on Jackson’s writing. His next album of original material demonstrated a sound that crossed many genres, yet yielded something incredibly fresh in the wake of the new wave era. Released in 1982, Joe Jackson’s Night and Day album was not only a brilliant artistic achievement, it was a true commercial success selling more than a million copies. From that point on, no one knew which musical directions Joe Jackson was heading towards. Time would soon show that Joe Jackson would switch gears continually for the rest of his career.

From his debut album in 1979, to his latest release as of this writing in 2019, Joe Jackson has released twenty one albums with his most recent entitled Fool released in 2019. Our top 10 Joe Jackson songs is just a subjective list of selecting ten of our favorite Joe Jackson songs that spans the forty years he has been releasing albums. We hope this Joe Jackson songs article entices you to go out and discover the many magnificent Joe Jackson albums that have been released since the end of the 1970’s.

# 10 – Fabulously Absolute

We open our Top 10 Joe Jackson songs list with a recent gem released by Joe Jackson on his 2019 album entitled Fool. The great song “Fabulously Absolute,” was actually released before the album and had been performed on tour. It’s a great way to start out or top 10 Joe Jackson songs list by defining how fresh and relative Joe Jackson still sounds in 2019 as he did in 1979.

# 9 – Is She Really Going Out with Him?

And speaking of 1979, we could not put together a top 10 Joe Jackson songs list and leave out the song that put him on the pop music map back in the late 1970’s. Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”  was originally released as a single in 1978 before Joe Jackson’s debut album was released. The song was reissued again as a single after the release of Look Sharp in 1979. The song’s iconic bass lines fueled the energy of the song juxtaposed against Joe Jackson’s clever lyrics. Although Joe Jackson has grown light years beyond the music he released when he was only 23, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” still remains one of his most popular songs.

# 8 – Stranger Than You

Continuing our top 10 Joe Jackson Songs list we turn to the fabulous album Night and Day II.The record was Joe Jackson’s follow up album to his groundbreaking record Night and Day which had been released in 1982. Night and Day II was released in 2000. The album’s songs were written all about New York City. The cover depicted Joe Jackson driving on the streets of New York with a shot of the original World Trade Centers in the foreground The picture was taken a year before the tragedy of 9/11.

# 7 – I’m The Man / On Your Radio

Joe Jackson’s song “I’m the Man,” was the title track from his second album I’m the Man released in 1979. The song was not a huge hit single but depicted the whole entire new wave sound almost better than anything Joe Jackson had ever done at that time. Yet nestled within the tracks rhythmic groove was the sound of the 1960s songs like Neil Diamond’s “Cherry Cherry.” The same chord changes that the band The Romantics would use on their huge hit “What I like About You,” and John Mellencamp would also utilize on R.O.C.K. in the USA fueled the Joe Jackson song “I’m the Man.”

We also loved the great track “On Your Radio,” from the I’m The Man album. This is the first of two ties on this Joe Jackson songs list. It’s sort of sneaky way to fit two extra songs on this list.

# 6 – Stranger Than Fiction

Joe Jackson’s great song “Stranger Than Fiction,” was released on his Laughter & Lust album. The record was released in 1991. The song contains one of our favorite lyrical lines of all time when Joe Jackson sings “Love grows like a flower or grows like a tumor, Love shows God has a sense of humor.” “Stranger Than Fiction,” was released as the second single from the album. It was never a big hit but it was, and still is, a great pop rock song.

# 5 – Tie: Sunday Papers / One More Time

The great early Joe Jackson tracks “Sunday Papers,” and “One More Time,” had grooves to die for. The songs were released on Joe Jackson’s debut album Look Sharp in 1979. “One More Time,” opened the album and “Sunday Papers,” was placed as the album’s second track. It was the perfect pair of songs to open an album that instantly got the listener hooked wanting more. We couldn’t decide between the two because their both such brilliant fun songs to listen too. So we picked them both as one entry.

# 4 – It’s Different For Girls

Joe Jackson’s song “Its Different For Girls,” was released on his second album entitled I’m The Man. “Its Different For Girls,” was Joe Jackson’s biggest hit he ever had in the United Kingdom. Once again Joe Jackson’s incredible wit shined within the songs lyrical content wrapped in a delicious melody not easily forgotten.

# 3 – Breaking Us in Two

Oh can’t you just feel the pain in this one. Joe Jackson’s “Breaking Us In Two,” appeared on his glorious album Night and Day. The record was released in 1982. “Breaking Us In Two,” was released as the third single from the album. It was a top 20 hit in the United States.

# 2 -You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)

As we get closer to the end of our top 10 Joe Jackson songs list, we turn to the great Body & Soul album. This does not sound anything like the Joe Jackson that sang “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” only five years earlier. The album’s great lead off single entitled “You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)” became a U.S. Top 20 hit for Joe Jackson. The album cover was a tribute to a famous Sonny Rollins jazz album cover. The song’s title also seemed to be a play of words on the famous Rolling Stones song. Regardless of the tributes, Joe Jackson’s Body & Soul album was one of the finest albums he ever released. It was a great follow-up to the previous album entitled Night and Day.

# 1 – Stepping Out

We end our Top 10 Joe Jackson songs list with the amazing song “Stepping Out.” The song was released on Joe Jackson’s landmark album Night and Day “Stepping Out,” deservedly so was the biggest hit of Joe Jackson’s career. It was a brilliant breathtaking piece of music. The song reached the number five position on the Billboard Top 100 in 1982. It was also a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom.

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