| I'm the Man
5 January 1979
| 5 March 1979 (1979-03-05)|
August 1978, Eden Studios, London, England
New wave, Punk rock, Post-punk
Joe Jackson albums, New wave albums
Look Sharp! is the debut album by Joe Jackson, released in 1979. The album featured one of Jackson's most famous songs, "Is She Really Going Out with Him?," as well as the title track "Look Sharp", "Sunday Papers" and "One More Time."
The cover, featuring a pair of white shoes, ranked number 22 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest album covers of all time.
Joe Jackson and his band, using money earned by Jackson from touring with the cabaret band Koffee 'n' Kream, began recording the album from fall 1977 to spring 1978 in a studio in Portsmouth. However, after producer David Kershenbaum heard a demo tape from Jackson, he signed Jackson to A&M Records in 1978, after which Jackson and his band quickly rerecorded the album. This was then followed by a tour to promote the record.
"Is She Really Going Out with Him?" was released as a single in the UK prior to the release of Look Sharp!, but it, as well as follow-ups "Sunday Papers" and "One More Time," failed to make an impact on the charts. Look Sharp! also stalled upon its initial release, but upon the re-release of "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" in Britain (as well as a single release in the US), the album grew in popularity, reaching the top #20 in America. After the performance of the first album, the band quickly recorded a follow-up, I'm the Man, which has been described by Jackson as "Part Two of Look Sharp!" since its release.
Jackson's opinion on the album was mixed, with Jackson later claiming that I'm the Man and 2003's Volume 4 were better albums overall. He later said on his website,
What can anyone say about something they did so long ago?! I'm not embarrassed by it, or not by most of it, anyway. It positively reeks of London 1978–79 and, well, it is what it is. I'm glad people liked it, and still like it, though I think some of that is nostalgia and a tendency to romanticise peoples' first albums, as though later ones must somehow be less 'authentic'. For a first album, this one's not bad, but I was only 23 when I made it and it would be pretty weird if I didn't think I'd done better things since.
Look Sharp! was re-released in 2001 with two bonus tracks, "Don't Ask Me" and "You Got the Fever" the respective b-sides of the singles "One More Time" and "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" originally released in May and July 1979. In addition to the standard 12-inch vinyl release, the record was also released in a special package on two 10-inch discs that also included a Look Sharp! badge.
All songs written and arranged by Joe Jackson. Produced by David Kershenbaum.Musicians
Joe Jackson – vocals, piano, harmonica
Gary Sanford – guitar
Graham Maby – bass
David Houghton – drums
Joe Jackson - arrangements
David Kershenbaum - producer
Rod Hewison - recording engineer
Aldo Bocca - assistant recording engineer
Michael Ross - artwork
Brian Griffin - photography (of Denson winklepickers)
Rita Coolidge covered "Fools in Love" on her 1983 album Never Let You Go.
American punk band Guttermouth covered "Happy Loving Couples" on the 1997 new wave tribute album Before You Were Punk.
Fictional music group Alvin and the Chipmunks covered "Look Sharp!" as a bonus track on their 2007 video game Alvin and the Chipmunks.
American singer Inara George covered "Fools in Love" for the 2005 Grey's Anatomy soundtrack, Volume 1.
American thrash metal band Anthrax covered "Got the Time" on their album Persistence of Time and released this version as a single in 1990.
German rock band The Donots did a cover version of "Got the Time" in 2002.
Elaine K. covered "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", The German Art Students covered "Happy Loving Couples" and Lisa Mychols covered "Look Sharp!" and both Beth Thornley and Fabulous Disaster covered "Got the Time" on the 2004 album Different for Girls: Women Artists and Female-Fronted Bands Cover Joe Jackson.
1One More Time3:17Look Sharp! (Joe Jackson album) Wikipedia
3Is She Really Going Out With Him?3:36