Cancer


“This is a song about how everything that’s enjoyable is bad for your health.”Joe Jackson (209)

It’s Different For Girls


“It was something that I heard somewhere that struck me as a cliché. The sort of thing that someone might say. And again, I thought, What could that be about? And that maybe the idea was to turn it on its head and have a conversation between a man and a woman and what you’d expect to be the typical roles are reversed. So that was the idea of that.”Joe Jackson (210)
“I don’t write songs that say, “Hey, pretty baby, put your red dress on.” ‘It’s Different For Girls’ is a song where the typical roles are reversed. It’s about a guy saying, “I don’t want to just go to bed with you – I want to talk and get to know you,” and the girl’s saying, “Oh, come on with that love stuff. Give me a break – let’s just get it on.””Joe Jackson (704)

Happy Loving Couples


“What that song isn’t is taking a slap at easy target: let’s-knock-marriage. It’s easy to knock. If I haven’t got a girlfriend and he has then he’s a cunt. There the line wanna be really wanna be what my friends pretend to be – all these couples who pretend to be so happy; maybe their relationship isn’t as good as what I want. It’s saying that I don’t want a false relationship.”Joe Jackson (705)

Fools In Love


“It’s about when you split up with your girlfriend and you think what a load of shit all that turned out to be.”Joe Jackson (705)

On Your Radio


“‘On Your Radio’ is not a revenge song – it’s a triumph song. It’s supposed to be inspiring, saying, “Hey! You there in the back of the class with the big ears! You can do whatever you want if you just try hard enough.” It’s not vindictive; it’s much more a song about hope.”Joe Jackson (704)

The Verdict


“I thought that was a great movie [the Sidney Lumet-directed film that starred Paul Newman – Ed]. There were so many layers of meaning in it. It was a spiritual thing, about a guy trying to save his soul. A lot of ideas and feelings went into that song, a lot more than unusually can be put into a pop song. I just want people to appreciate it on whatever level they can.”Joe Jackson (706)
“I thought The Verdict was a great movie because there were so many layers of meaning in it. It was a very spiritual thing, about a guy trying to save his soul. I believe that sometimes you have to follow your heart without compromising for other people or taking the easy way out. That’s what the song is about: about being afraid to take that step, about being human. It’s not heroic at all. No matter how right or noble you feel about having taken a particular course, you still have moments of insecurity when you think, ‘God did I do the right thing?’ Certainly I’ve taken the wrong course at times, both in my work and in my personal life. So there’s always going to be that question: What’s the verdict?”Joe Jackson (707)

Go For It


“People like Ray Charles, who went blind at an early age yet still did things like drive cars and become a superstar, is much more of a hero than the kind of supposed heroic figures who really are just like oversized cartoons. I mention Babe Ruth in the song simply because he always looked so unlikely. He never looked like a hero: he was fat, he’d hit a home run and the ball would go sailing out of the stadium so he didn’t need to do any running. I think all he was into was eating hot dogs and drinking beer. So you can still be a hero even if you’re fat or skinny or have big ears.”Joe Jackson (706)

Sunday Papers


“I’m really more of a music guy than a words guy. I think in the case of this song it wasn’t that big a deal once I got the idea that it could be a song making fun of the Sunday papers. Lots of possibilities, I’m sure, came into my head, you know I think at the time I very much liked writing songs with a rather sarcastic sort of flavour. If someone just more or less lived on a diet of these kind of papers that they might turn into a complete idiot.”Joe Jackson (1325)