The Joe Jackson Chronicle
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- 11 Aug 1954
Joe Jackson is born in
Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England.
When Joe is one year old, his family moves to
Portsmouth on the south coast of England.
Joe, aged 11, receives school violin lessons. Over the next three years he
develops an interest in composing. Having persuaded his parents to buy him
a piano, he sets about teaching himself and putting original words and
He takes his first formal piano lessons and performs publicly for the first
- Sept 1972
Having left school with an S-level exam in music, Joe goes to the
Royal Academy of Music in London on a piano scholarship.
He completes three years of study in piano, percussion, composition and
- During these years Joe plays in several Top 40 cover bands, including
a group called The Misty Set. They have gigs at naval and army bases,
local pubs and discos. For some time he's a member of the
National Youth Jazz Orchestra playing piano and vibes.
After leaving the Academy in the summer of 1975 Joe concentrates on playing with the band
Edward Bear changes its name to Arms & Legs
and signs a recording deal with UK label MAM. Mark Andrews is lead singer, later to
emerge on A&M as Mark Andrews & The Gents.
- April 1976
First Arms & Legs single Janie is released on MAM Records. The B side
is "She'll Surprise You", written and sung by Joe Jackson.
- Aug 1976
Second single release Heat Of The Night.
- 1976 (?)
Arms & Legs break up.
- late 1976
Joe becomes a regular performer at the Southsea (Portsmouth area)
- Feb 1977
Third and final Arms & Legs single: Is There Anymore Wine.
- spring (?) 1977
Joe becomes musical director for popular cabaret act Koffee'n'Kreme (who had been winners on the
TV talent show "New Faces").
- Joe records the demo tapes for his first record.
He recruits bassist Graham Maby, who had already been in Arms & Legs,
guitarist Gary Sanford and drummer Dave Houghton to play on the demo
and has the result privately pressed.
- Jan 1978
Joe leaves Portsmouth and moves to London.
- Through his demo record Joe nearly signs to United Artists, but the album
is passed to Albion Music. David Kershenbaum of A&M Records hears it.
- 9 Aug 1978
Joe signs recording deal with
A&M Records. On the same
day recording starts at Eden Studios, West London, for the album LOOK SHARP!.
The line-up is identical to the demo sessions. "Don't Ask Me" and "You've Got The
Fever" are also recorded.
- Sept 1978
The Joe Jackson Band goes on a five-week tour as supporting act to The Pleasers, a
short-lived band from the London area.
- 19 Oct 1978
BBC recording session at Maida Vale studio 4 of "Is She Really Going Out
With Him?" for broadcast on the Tony Blackburn show (Radio 1, 3 Nov).
- 31 Oct 1978
Is She Really Going Out With Him? is released in the UK but
- 29(?) Jan 1979
The first album, LOOK SHARP!, produced by
David Kershenbaum, is issued.
- 21 Feb 1979
BBC recording session at Maida Vale studio 4 of "One More Time", "Got The Time",
"Fools In Love" and "I'm The Man" for broadcast on the John Peel show (Radio 1, 26 Feb).
- 8 March 1979
BBC recording session at the Playhouse Theatre, Hulme,
Manchester of "One More Time", "Sunday Papers", "Fools In Love" and
"Baby Stick Around" for broadcast on the Kid Jensen show (Radio 1, 20 March).
- April 1979
Joe goes on his first US tour which will end in late May.
- 7 May 1979
One More Time is released in the UK.
- June 1979
Touring in Europe.
- 1 July 1979
In the US Is She Really Going Out With Him? enters the Billboard Top
40, eventually reaching number 21.
- 19 Aug 1979
The reissued single Is She Really Going Out With Him? climbs to
number 13 in the UK.
- 26 Aug 1979
Second US tour starts.
- 25 Sept 1979
Single I'm The Man is released in the UK.
- 5 Oct 1979
Second album I'M THE MAN, again produced
by David Kershenbaum, is released.
- Feb 1980
It's Different For Girls hits UK #5 while Joe tours the UK.
- March 1980
Kinda Kute and The Harder They Come both fail to chart.
- Joe produces and records three tracks with reggae artist Lincoln Thompson.
- Joe guests on piano for two (?) tracks of The Members' LP 1980-THE CHOICE IS YOURS, recorded at Farmyard Studios.
- July 1980
Joe produces UK reggae act The Rasses' LP NATURAL WILD.
- Oct 1980
BEAT CRAZY, the last album with the
original line-up, is released.
- Joe receives the highest musical accolade of the Netherlands, the Edison
Award, for I'M THE MAN.
- 15 Dec 1980
The original Joe Jackson band plays its last concert with the final concert
of the BEAT CRAZY tour in Utrecht, Netherlands.
- approx. Jan 1981
Joe produces an album by Portsmouth-based band The Keys.
- Early in 1981
Joe becomes ill and is housebound for a couple of months. He finds himself
listening to records by Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway and other jump and swing
artists and decides it might be fun to do some gigs around town and maybe an
EP, playing music from that era.
- May 1981
Eventually a whole album entitled JUMPIN' JIVE is recorded at
Basing Street Studios, London, with jazz musicians plus Graham Maby on
- June 1981
The album JUMPIN' JIVE is released with
the title track being issued as a single.
- June-Sept 1981
Joe tours the UK and US with the band featured on the album.
Joe goes to New York where he writes songs for a new album.
- Spring of 1982
Recording of NIGHT AND DAY at Blue Rock Studio, SoHo, New York
- After recording the album Joe decides to make New York his new home.
- June 1982
NIGHT AND DAY album is released and
climbs to number 4 in the US.
In the UK it starts as a poor seller, at first only peaking at no. 44.
- c. June 1982
Joe embarks on an 11-month tour to promote NIGHT AND DAY.
- Oct 1982
Steppin' Out hits US no. 6.
- 30 Oct 1982
Joe's first appearance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live", performing Another
World and Steppin' Out.
- Late in 1982
Joe is asked to write and record a song for a forthcoming film
by James Bridges, entitled "Mike's Murder". Joe is in the midst
of an extensive North American tour and really has no time to
take on another project. But his love of film and the challenge
of writing for another medium is too enticing to turn it down.
Instead of just writing one song he produces a whole album of all
- Jan 1983
Steppin' Out, being reissued as a single, finally reaches number 6
in the UK. The album NIGHT AND DAY now climbs to number 3.
- 16 April 1983
Joe performs in front of an estimated 25 million viewers all over Europe
in the live TV broadcast (via Eurovision) of the "Rockpalast" concert in
Essen, West Germany.
- May 1983
NIGHT AND DAY tour ends in Australia.
- Sept 1983
Soundtrack LP MIKE'S MURDER is issued.
The album includes Joe's first recorded instrumentals.
- Dec? 1983
Three-week recording session for BODY AND SOUL at Vanguard Studios, New York.
- Jan? 1984
Additional recording and mixing at Atlantic Studio B, 60th Street/Broadway.
- March 1984
The album BODY AND SOUL is released.
- April 1984
Happy Ending, a duet with Elaine Caswell, is released as a
- June 1984
Be My Number Two reaches UK #70 and You Can't Get What You Want
climbs to US #15.
- July 1984
The BODY AND SOUL tour (4 months of touring – 6 weeks in Europe, 6
weeks in North America, Japan and Australia) ends in Australia.
- Aug 1984
Happy Ending peaks at US #57.
- Jan/Feb 1985
Joe is asked to compose a 20-minute score for full orchestra
for a Japanese film entitled "Shijin No Ie" (House of the Poet).
After writing the piece he spends 5 weeks in Japan rehearsing
and supervising the recording with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.
The film is shown at the Expo '85 Science Exposition in Tsukuba.
- Feb 1985
Joan Armatrading's album SECRET SECRETS is released on which
Joe plays keyboard on two songs.
Love By You is also issued as a single in Aug 1985
and Talking To The Wall as a B side of Temptation in Feb 1985
but both singles fail to chart.
- June 1985
Joe becomes involved in a project his guitarist Vinnie Zummo and Vinnie's wife
Janice are working on. Joe takes the tape with them to A&M Records and helps
them get a deal. The album, entitled MODERN MARRIAGE, co-produced by
Joe, will be released on A&M in February 1986.
- 23-25 Jan 1986
The album BIG WORLD is recorded during six concerts on three consecutive
nights at the Roundabout Theatre, New York City. It is not supposed to sound
like a regular live album though, so the audience is asked to be quiet during
the songs and the applause will be edited out. A video featuring footage from
the event is subsequently released under the title
"The Big World Sessions".
- Feb 1986
First recording session for the album WILL POWER at RCA Studios, New
- April 1986
Album BIG WORLD is released as a three-sided
- 12 Apr 1986
Joe's second appearance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" where he performs
"Right And Wrong" and "Soul Kiss".
- May 1986
Joe plays piano on Suzanne Vega's Left Of Center, recorded for the
soundtrack album PRETTY IN PINK and also released as a single. It is
credited to "Suzanne Vega featuring Joe Jackson on piano" and reaches
number 32 in the UK charts.
- Jan 1987
Second recording session for the WILL POWER album at RCA Studios,
New York City.
- April 1987
Instrumental album WILL POWER, recorded with
an orchestra plus some members of his regular band, is released.
- 27 May 1987
Joe appears on the NBC show "Late Night with David Letterman" where he talks
about the album WILL POWER and performs an instrumental version of
- May 1988
Double album LIVE 1980/86, featuring live
material covering four differing line-ups, reaches UK #66 and US #91. At the
same time a video is released, "Live in Tokyo",
featuring the concert of 21 Oct 1986 during the BIG WORLD tour.
- He produces LP for reggae band The Toasters.
- Aug 1988
Film soundtrack TUCKER and extracted single
(He's A) Shape In A Drape, written and performed by Jackson, are
- Nov/Dec 1988
Recording of BLAZE OF GLORY album at Bearsville Studios, New York
- 18 April 1989
Album BLAZE OF GLORY is released.
- 8 June 1989
Joe appears on the NBC show "Late Night with David Letterman".
Joe records the film music for "Queens Logic" at the Hit Factory,
- Sept 1990
A&M releases the compilation album
STEPPING OUT - THE VERY BEST OF JOE JACKSON.
A video is also released, entitled
"Stepping Out - The Videos", which contains
a collection of promo videos and some live footage. (Both album and video
are not released in the USA.)
- Oct 1990
On a "workshop tour" Joe plays small venues to test new material before
recording it for the new album LAUGHTER & LUST.
- Oct/Nov 1990
Recording sessions for LAUGHTER & LUST album at Dreamland Studio, near
- 30 April 1991
Album "LAUGHTER & LUST" is his first release for
Virgin Records America.
- 10 May 1991
Joe appears on NBC's "Tonight Show".
- 18 May 1991
LAUGHTER & LUST tour starts in Münster, Germany.
- 20 Sept 1991
Concert in Sydney is filmed and subsequently released on video as
"Laughter & Lust Live".
- 21 Sept 1991
The tour ends after 4 months in Sydney, Australia.
- Spring(?) of 1993
Joe writes the incidental music for the film "Three Of Hearts".
- Feb-May 1994
Album NIGHT MUSIC is recorded at the Hit Factory, New York City,
and at Jacobs, Guildford, Surrey, England.
- Joe writes the music for "The White Cat", a 'video story-book' for
children, released by Rabbit Ears Productions. The French folk-tale is
narrated by Emma Thompson.
- 3 Oct 1994
NIGHT MUSIC album is released.
- 22 Nov 1994
NIGHT MUSIC tour kicks off in New Haven, Connecticut.
- 29 May 1995
The tour ends after about 6 months in Perth, Australia.
- Oct 1995
Joe contributes a cover version of "Statue Of Liberty" to the XTC tribute
album "A TESTIMONIAL DINNER - THE SONGS OF XTC".
- Feb 1996
Joe sets up his own website on the World Wide Web.
- 7 May 1996
Compilation GREATEST HITS is released by
A&M Records in the US.
- ca. late 1996
Joe decides not to renew his contract with Virgin Records and to finance the
recording of his next album by himself instead.
- March 1997
The 37-track compilation double CD THIS IS IT
is released by A&M Records in Europe.
- 8 July 1997
"Tower", a modern ballet by David Dorfman performed to the music of Joe's
forthcoming album "HEAVEN & HELL" is premiered during a sold-out
American Dance Festival performance in the Reynolds Theater, Duke University,
Durham, North Carolina.
- 2 Sept 1997
HEAVEN & HELL album is released in the US
(and subsequently in other countries).
It is Joe's first release on the
Sony Classical label.
- 4 Sept 1997
A specially arranged concert at Sony Music Studios in New York is
filmed for a later TV broadcast in the PBS "Sessions at West 54th" series.
The material from "HEAVEN & HELL" is played in its entirety with almost
the complete line-up from the album sessions.
- 9 Sept 1997
A&M releases another compilation of Joe Jackson material in its
- 2 Nov 1997
HEAVEN & HELL tour starts at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles,
- 22 April 1998
The tour ends at Le Bataclan in Paris.
- March-April 1999
Recording of SYMPHONY NO. 1 at Avatar Studios, New York City.
- 12 July 1999
Joe plays the first of two gigs at New York's Bottom Line followed by five
nights (in early August) at Joe's Pub. The latter are recorded for a
future live album. He plays these gigs together with Graham Maby on bass
and Gary Burke on drums.
- 4 Oct 1999
Album SYMPHONY NO. 1 is released
by Sony Classical. This is not a symphonic piece but is rather heavily jazz
- 7 Oct 1999
TransWorld/Anchor in the UK publishes Joe's autobiographical book
A Cure for Gravity, followed by Perseus/PublicAffairs for the US and Canada on 20 October 1999.
- 20 Oct 1999
At a Portsmouth bookshop Joe starts a series of appearances at UK, US and Canadian
bookshops at which he will read passages from his book, sign copies and answer
questions from the audience. The tour will end on 13 Dec in New York City.
- 8 Nov 1999
Joe's book is published in a German edition entitled "
Ein Mittel gegen die Schwerkraft" by German publisher Satzwerk.
- 16 May 2000
The live album SUMMER IN THE CITY is the first release by Joe's
own label Manticore, distributed by Sony Classical. It features recordings from several gigs Joe
played at Joe's Pub, New York City, in August 1999.
- Aug 2000
Joe Jackson's A Cure for Gravity is among twelve books selected as finalists for the
Gleason Music Book Awards 2000 from a total of more than 50 nominated books.
- 24 Oct 2000
Joe's latest studio album is NIGHT AND DAY II, again on the Manticore
label, distributed by Sony Classical.
- 30 Nov 2000
The NIGHT AND DAY II tour starts in West Palm Beach, Florida.
- 21 Feb 2001
The album SYMPHONY NO. 1 wins a Grammy Award in the new category Best Pop Instrumental Album
at the 43rd annual ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It had been Joe's fifth Grammy
nomination. He isn't able to pick up the award himself, however, since he is currently touring in Europe.
- 20 April 2001
The tour ends at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
- Jan 2002
The live album TWO RAINY NIGHTS, with recordings from two shows
of the NIGHT AND DAY II tour, is released by Great Big Island and is only available through their and
Joe's websites. It is being marketed as an "official bootleg".
- Sept 2002
Joe has reunited his original band with Graham Maby on bass, Gary Sanford on guitar and Dave Houghton
on drums. They are playing seven "warm-up gigs" in the UK before recording an album of all-new material
in a studio in Surrey.
- 10 March 2003
The album VOLUME 4 is being released.
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