Joe Jackson On World Cafe

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Joe Jackson. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Joe Jackson.

Joe Jackson.

Courtesy of the artist

Joe Jackson is well known as the writer of the 1979 hit "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" and for his biggest single, "Steppin' Out." Jackson — who grew up in Portsmouth, England and attended the Royal Academy of Music — has also had five Grammy nominations over his illustrious four-decade career. His music has ranged from light pop-rock to ambitious, classically structured pieces. He is also the author of A Cure for Gravity, a memoir first published in 1999.

Jackson's latest album, The Duke, is an album of covers released this past June and features wild re-imaginings of Duke Ellington's greatest hits. Jackson has some help from singers Iggy Pop ("It Don't Mean a Thing") and Sharon Jones ("I Ain't Got Nothing but the Blues").


  • Duke Ellington with Ella Fitzgerald, "Caravan"
  • Nat King Cole, "Caravan"
  • Joe Jackson, "Caravan"
  • Joe Jackson, "Rockin in Rhythm"
  • Duke Ellington, "I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues"
  • Joe Jackson, "I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues"
  • Joe Jackson, "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"

On today's episode of World Cafe, Jackson explains to host David Dye some of the rules he set for himself — for example, no horns appear on the album — and how those rules helped unlock his creative process. Jackson is touring in support of The Duke with a newer, larger band called, inevitably, the Bigger Band.



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