Everyone knows somebody who was born a Mike or a Kate who, upon reaching adulthood, changed their name to “Steele” or “Dakota.” A few people even know someone who was born with a name like “Plato” or “Moonbeam” who changed their names to Mike or Kate. But what to make of a David who changed his name to “Joe”?
Changing from one ordinary name to another certainly didn’t hurt the career of one David Ian Jackson, who you know as [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Joe Jackson[/lastfm], who experienced success right out of the gate with his very first single, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”
The debut single from Jackson’s debut album Look Sharp!, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” was initially released in 1978 to little fanfare. But a re-release from the very next year truly launched his career. This release went to #13 in the U.K., and just missed the top 20 in the U.S. with a #21 showing. The song remains one of his best-known and has been covered by numerous notable musical acts.
Jackson, along with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elvis Costello[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Graham Parker[/lastfm] (all British), challenged the U.K.’s powerful punk scene and for the most part came away winners, paving the way for the New Wave sound that ushered in the ’80s. As a side note, Costello shares something of Jackson’s renaming habit, though in his case undergoing the inverse, swapping unusual for unusual, as the new “Elvis” was originally named “Declan.” Both David and Declan continue to actively perform to this day.
As for Graham Parker’s real name? It’s Graham Parker.
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