A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage

Joe Jackson

Published by Da Capo Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 0306810018 / ISBN 13: 9780306810015
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Synopsis: Since the release of his first best-selling album Look Sharp in 1979, Joe Jackson has forged a singular career in music through his originality as a composer and his notoriously independent stance toward music-business fashion. He has also been a famously private person, whose lack of interest in his own celebrity has been interpreted by some as aloofness. That reputation is shattered by A Cure for Gravity, Jackson's enormously funny and revealing memoir of growing up musical, from a culturally impoverished childhood in a rough English port town to the Royal Academy of Music, through London's Punk and New Wave scenes, up to the brink of pop stardom. Jackson describes his life as a teenage Beethoven fanatic; his early piano gigs for audiences of glass-throwing skinheads; and his days on the road with long-forgotten club bands. Far from a standard-issue celebrity autobiography, A Cure for Gravity is a smart, passionate book about music, the creative process, and coming of age as an artist.

Review: Something more than a journeyman and less than a superstar, Joe Jackson has a reputation for being a reclusive and prickly character. But he refuses the low road with A Cure for Gravity, a resolutely non-lurid autobiography of a man who considers music to be a noble calling. It matters not that the author was once lumped in with England's insurgent first-generation punks and new-wavers; here Jackson insistently focuses on his development as a composer, player, and performer, approximately in that order. Born to modest means in a setting where a sickly, creative youngster such as Jackson was regarded with suspicion, if not contempt, the young Brit was trained in the classics and developed his keyboard skills, playing everything from cabaret to progressive rock before finally setting off on his own as a sharp-tongued, ska-influenced Angry Young Man. A more sophisticated musician than his rag-tag running mates (he's recently released an ambitious fusion of pop, jazz, and classical elements dubbed Symphony No. 1), Jackson revels in the intricacies of his craft--as much or more than he does in telling his own up-from-the-gutter tale. Old new-wavers who remember the author from his 1978 Look Sharp! debut and devotees of his more stylish early '80s recordings may be caught off guard by the short shrift Jackson gives his actual recording career; indeed, he shrugs off a couple decades in the final pages of the book. But the articulate, idiosyncratic author is clearly more interested in addressing what makes a musician than what happens once a musician has it made. --Steven Stolder

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Title: A Cure For Gravity: A Musical Pilgrimage
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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