It wasn’t as memorable as the British Invasion that was led by the Beatles in the sixties, but music critics seem to think that the Second British Invasion of the US in the early 1980s was important. Singer Joe Jackson and his band arrived a tad earlier than that but stuck around to enjoy their biggest success a few years later.
Joe was a member of a few bands before deciding to pursue a solo career in 1976. He initially used his real first name (David) but changed his stage name it to Joe. He took the name from the Piano Joe persona used by Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strip.
He saved up his money and cut a demo record that led to a contract with A&M Records in 1978. He recruited some other musicians to form a back-up band and recorded his first album in 1979. The album had a jazz feeling to it and fit into the New Wave movement that was just beginning in England. The first single from the album was Is She Really Going Out With Him, but the single initially failed to chart. His next two singles also were a disappointment.
The emergence of similar New Wave bands helped make that style of music more popular, and later in 1979, Is She Really Going Out With Him was re-released. The second time the single reached the charts in the UK and even reached #21 on the Hot 100 in the US.
Joe’s group recorded a few more albums and eventually fell apart in 1981. Joe began producing albums for other groups and also began recording solo albums. His biggest success came when his single Steppin’ Out reached #4 in the US and #6 in the UK in 1982.
Sugar Ray recorded two top ten hits in 1999, after which their career slowly faded. Before the limelight was completely turned off, they released a cover version of Is She Really Going Out With Him? in 2003. The record didn’t reach the normal charts but managed to reach #19 on the US Adult Top 40 chart. I didn’t even know about that chart, which appears to be based solely on radio airplay on Adult radio stations and is completely separate from the Adult Contemporary chart.
Joe has now recorded over twenty albums. His most recent album was Fool, which he recorded in 2019.