Happy birthday, Joe Jackson!

92412__joe_lJoe Jackson turns 52 today, and to celebrate, I headed to YouTube to dig up the clip for 1982’s ”Steppin Out,” one of the first videos to get me hooked on MTV. (Click here to see it yourself.) I’m pleased to report that 24 years later, this simple, wistful bit of storytelling — like Maid in Manhattan, only realistic — holds up remarkably well, capturing the mood of Jackson’s superb ditty, without resorting to a literal interpretation of the lyrics. (Even the fashions look halfway decent!) Better still, there’s not a hot pants-clad hoochie or any seizure-inducing edits to be found. Hmmm. Perhaps ”Steppin Out” should be required viewing for every new artist about to embark on the video-making process.

What say you, PopWatchers?

Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • Beth

    Everytime I hear that song, I think of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Maybe I’m not the only one but probably.

  • Sven

    For an 80s artist, Jackson was certainly not the worst. But anything involving computer generated sound (piano was not all he used) is painful on the ears.

  • Beth

    Everytime I hear that song, I think of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Maybe I’m not the only one but probably.

  • Chuck_A

    Happy B’Day to Joe. He always added class and style to a music scene that was deteriorating quikly into “The Big Hair Years”.

  • Kate

    I like “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”

  • Chuck_A

    OOPS…I meant “quickly”.

  • Roxanne

    I’d forgotten how sweet that video was. Or how sweet any music video could be, without being maudlin.

  • Cici

    I always loved this video. Call me corny and old but it beats almost anything out today.

  • Karla

    Happy Birthday Joe Jackson! I love his live albums, and his inventive mind – check out the many different arrangements of Is She Really Going Out With Him? Real Men is a killer of a song, and the concept album Jumpin’ Jive is still a favorite.
    I also love his willingness to be deeply emotional in a song – angry, rageful, wistful, despairing, loving – all within a very strong musical framework. Joe Jackson is an original.

  • Lloyd

    Wow. Way to go giving some love to Joe Jackson. I grew up on this guy. He’s gone through SO many iterations(punk, post-punk, new-wave, jazz, straight rock, crappy-late 80’s synth-pop, symphonic. . .) this man is a true original. It’s a crime that more people don’t listen to him. Check out his collaboration with Ben Folds(another criminally under-rated artist) and William Shatner. Great song.

  • ya ya

    ======== Oooh! I love this song! Man, I remember this video! So cool!

  • Joe C

    I grew up on this video. I remember when it was a big deal in the mid 80’s when Joe Jackson said he wouldn’t make videso anymore, and he didn’t. His best song that I’ve heard, though, is ‘Is SHe really going out with him?’

  • Marshall Marshall

    Joe Jackson is gay and that is cool.

  • Marisa

    So happy to see the shout out to Joe! He really is an amazing songwriter and composer. I still listen to his albums all the time. Happy Birthday, Joe!

  • ep sato

    All I remember of him is “Steppin Out”. I heard it for the first time on a “Now” style LP that also featured “Mickey”, “Abracadabra” and a half dozen other hits from 1980-82’ish. Between that record and Mtv, I went from a salsa addicted 5 year old cocolo, to a “don’t speak to me in Spanish anymore” rockero.
    That’s a shout out to Joe Jackson, Mtv in it’s infancy, and of course, to anyone in Puerto Rico who survived the Cocolo vs. Rockero wars in Plaza Las Americas.

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