You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)
Be My NumberTwo
Right And Wrong
Down To London
Early in his career Joe Jackson came on at times even angrier and more cynical than Elvis Costello. His first hits, "Is She Really Going out with Him?," "Sunday Papers," and "I'm The Man," were virtual tirades. Initially f... more »using punk rock's angst and sneer with new wave's melodicism, Jackson would later mature in his artistic expression, exploring everything from reggae to big band jazz. Greatest Hits chronicles this development nicely. The urban sophistication of "Steppin' Out," and even "Breaking Us in Two," had Jackson entering Cole Porter territory. His adroit ability to turn a phrase, casting his keen eye toward the ironies of relationships and entanglements often made him seem like a new wave Noel Coward. While his later material hasn't always had the same commercial success, "You Can't Get What You Want" and "Hometown," it found Jackson receiving some of the most fawning critical praise of his career. --Steve Gdula« less
Early in his career Joe Jackson came on at times even angrier and more cynical than Elvis Costello. His first hits, "Is She Really Going out with Him?," "Sunday Papers," and "I'm The Man," were virtual tirades. Initially fusing punk rock's angst and sneer with new wave's melodicism, Jackson would later mature in his artistic expression, exploring everything from reggae to big band jazz. Greatest Hits chronicles this development nicely. The urban sophistication of "Steppin' Out," and even "Breaking Us in Two," had Jackson entering Cole Porter territory. His adroit ability to turn a phrase, casting his keen eye toward the ironies of relationships and entanglements often made him seem like a new wave Noel Coward. While his later material hasn't always had the same commercial success, "You Can't Get What You Want" and "Hometown," it found Jackson receiving some of the most fawning critical praise of his career. --Steve Gdula
Charlene C. (charlovey) from TORRANCE, CA Reviewed on 8/8/2008...
great make out cd
VALERIE P. (that-girl) from ATLANTA, GA Reviewed on 1/28/2008...
classic songs from 1979-89
Outstanding Content - but not the most complete
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 02/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Jackson is a name that most music fans know of in both the United States and United Kingdom. Joe Jackson has been a "superstar" in terms of a Top 40 artists. Joe Jackson is also an artist who hasn't gotten the respect he deserves. Jackson has proven to be an outstanding songwriter, arranger, musician - and of course vocalist. Jackson has done a multitude of styles throughout his career. One good way to get a taste for Jackson's talent and follow his musical evolution is through the compilation "Joe Jackson - Greatest Hits".
For starters, there are no shortages when it comes to Joe Jackson Greatest Hits albums. There are several different compilations available - some are only available as imports. "Joe Jackson Greatest Hits" isn't the most complete one, but it isn't the least complete one other. It covers a period from 1978 ("Look Sharp") through 1989 ("Blaze of Glory"). There are three Jackson Compilations that are available in the U.S. right now. The most complete one is the 2 CD compilation called "Steppin Out - The Very Best of Joe Jackson". All of the studio material on "Greatest Hits" is contained on "Steppin Out". Another collection that is available is "Joe Jackson - The Millenium Collection". All of the songs are the "Millenium Collection" are contained on "Greatest Hits". "Millenium Collection" covers the same time period as "Greatest Hits" while "Steppin Out" covers 1978 through 2000 ("Night and Day II"). The one thing that "Greatest Hits" has that is not available on the other studio-baed greatest hits compilations are live versions of the songs "A Slow Song" and "Memphis". However it is worth noting that these live songs were available on his Live CD titled "Live 1980/86". It is also worth noting that there is a 3 CD Joe Jackson compilation available as an import called "Joe Jackson - Ultimate Collection". This compilation has some tunes that are exclusive to a Jackson 'best of' compilation, but also is missing some songs "Greatest Hits" - including some rare songs that Jackson contributed to the "Mike's Murder" soundtrack back in 1983.
There are eight studio albums represented on "Greatest Hits". These albums include: "Look Sharp" (1978); "I'm the Man" (1979); "Beat Crazy" (1980); "Jumpin Jive" (1981); "Night and Day" (1982); "Body and Soul" (1984); "Big World" (1986); and "Blaze of Glory" (1989). As mentioned there are two songs included from the 1988 live album "Live 1980/86". While the live version of "A Slow Song" appears as a studio track on "Night and Day", "Memphis" comes from the "Mike's Murder" soundtrack. It might seem like Jackson wasn't active between 1986 and 1989, but he worked on the soundtracks for "Will Power" and "Tucker - The Man and His Dream". It is a shame that "Greatest Hits" doesn't have any material from this collection.
In most cases, regardless of what compilation you are looking at, Jackson does something I like - With Greatest Hits collections, I find that the best "Greatest Hits" collections are ones that arrange the songs in chronological order. This allows me to see how an artist progresses over time. The nice thing about "Greatest Hits" is that it does do this. Most of the other compilations by Joe Jackson also fall into this category. I think it is especially important that Jackson's collections are ordered chronologically. This is because Jackson's music style has changed several times throughout the years. With "Greatest Hits", you will get a feel for Jackson's Punk Rock/New Wave roots, to his urban/jazz pop days, to bringing in some Rock and Blues influences to his sound.
The first six tracks come cover the period from 1978 through 1980. In most cases (possibly with the exception of "Is She Really Going Out With Him"), these might seem like atypical songs to the Joe Jackson fan. They tend to have more of a New Wave and even in some cases Punk-ish Rock influence. These are songs that Jackson did with his band called "The Joe Jackson" band. While you will hear keyboards, there will be much more of a bass and guitar influence (exception: "Is She Really Going Out With Him") . Listen especially for the bass influence on these tracks. While "Is She Really Going Out With Him" is the most popular song from this era, songs like "Look Sharp", "Sunday Papers" and "I'm the Man" are even better. Jackson also establishes himself as a master songwriter - listen for his narrative storytelling style in many of his songs.
After 1980, Jackson's left the Joe Jackson Band behind and went off in his own directions. Jackson's terrific cover of "Jumpin Jive" (included here) - done in true Swing Style that launched him into this Urban/Jazz phase. This is where you will hear Joe's Trademark Piano and Keyboards here. "Greatest Hits" includes his popular songs "Steppin' Out", "Breakin Us in Two" and "You Can't Get What You Want". Songs like the live version of "A Slow Song" and "Be My Number Two" are not quite as jazzy, but the keyboard influence is there. There is also no loss for Jackson's storytelling lyrics.
Thes songs from Jackson's last two albums "Big World" and "Blaze of Glory" start to fold a Rock and even a Blues influence into the music. This is some of his best stuff. The four songs on "Greatest Hits" reflect this. Once again - no loss of storytelling lyrics. I think Jackson's track is "Down to London" featuring some terrific piano, horns, harmonica, and a terrific duet with Joy Askew.
The liner notes are thin - no lyrics, no production or musician credits. They do list the year and album each song is from. Despite the live cuts, this still isn't as complete as the "Steppin Out" compilation, but this still isn't bad. I'd still recommend "Steppin Out" first because it's more complete - but "Greatest Hits" is still a very good collection so it may be the next best thing."
Listen to it again and again!
Jeff Schmidt | 02/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a hopeless fan of "80's music" I've been repeatedly dissappointed by greatest hits CD's that leave out some of the best songs. Not so, with Joe Jackson's greatest hits! The best stuff is all here. Joe Jackson's songs are clever, quirky, upbeat, depressing, toe-tapping, insightful, but never boring. I've listened to this CD at least fifty times already, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it for years to come. Its a lot of great music for the money."
Good complation of a great artist.
L.A. Scene | 12/08/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is a great way to "get into" Joe, by getting a copy of all the hits without having to weed through some of the garbage on all the old discs. With all of the different musical directions Joe has taken, use this disc to find the couple songs that you like best and then you can buy the old discs and get into the entire albums.For a Joe fan who wants to get a disc with a bunch of songs he already likes, I would more highly recommend the LIVE disc, which has the old songs with some re-makes."
Not this one
T. Davis | Seattle, WA | 01/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a big fan of Joe Jackson's first half-dozen albums, I may not be the most impartial judge of a skimpy package like this. I'm used to hearing Joe arrange his songs into a mood-setting whole, either in concert or on his original albums. Early songs on "Look Sharp!" and "I'm the Man" were three-minute slices of perfect punk-pop and as such are well-suited to compilations, but the albums he created during the middle of his career were carefully constructed and orchestrated and really deserve to be heard in their entirety, particularly "Night and Day," "Jumpin' Jive," and "Big World." If you can, buy those albums, but if you must have a "Greatest Hits" volume, spring for the 2-CD "Steppin' Out." I just don't think you'll be satisfied with this limited hodgepodge, brilliant as the individual songs are."
First time is the charm
anthony r lombardi jr | cape may new jersey | 09/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this is a good greatest hits cd , lots of hits which is the way it should be and plus some other song s which maybe could of been hits or just hits with the fans. theres were a couple songs I would of left off but over all this is very good and clean. he is without one of the best performers of our time and his songs and cds will be around for a long time and if you want to get started with just one cd than this would be the one to give you what joe jackson has to offer you get about 3 songs from all his cds .its a cd you can play anytime ,party ,dinner , or just in the car!! Im becoming a fan and you will to after you buy this cd."