Chaz Jankel

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Chaz Jankel
Jankel before a gig with The Blockheads at Band on the Wall, 2016
Background information
Birth nameCharles Jeremy Jankel
Also known asChas Jankel
Born (1952-04-16) 16 April 1952 (age 69)
Stanmore, Middlesex, England
Origin London, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • arranger
  • composer
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • record producer
  • music programmer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • organ
  • synthesizer
  • keyboards
  • percussion
Years active1973–present
Associated acts

Charles Jeremy Jankel [3] (born 16 April 1952), [4] [5] [6] better known as Chaz Jankel, is an English singer, songwriter, arranger, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.


In a music career spanning more than 40 years, Jankel came to prominence in the late 1970s as the guitarist and keyboardist of the rock band Ian Dury and the Blockheads. With Dury, Jankel co-wrote some of the band's best-known songs including "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll", "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" and "Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3".

In addition to his work with the Blockheads, Jankel has had a solo career which has resulted in nine studio albums. He has a long list of credits as both a performer and as songwriter.

Early life

Charles Jeremy Jankel was born on 16 April 1952 in Stanmore, [6] Middlesex. Inspired by Lonnie Donegan, he started to learn how to play the Spanish guitar at age 7, and then went on to study the piano. [7] He attended the boarding school Mill Hill School and became a fan of the American rock, funk and soul band Sly and the Family Stone during his time there. Jankel's fondness for this style was later responsible for much of the funk influence on the Blockheads' music and also influenced Jankel's solo career. As a student at the art college Saint Martin's School of Art he played with a folk rock band called Byzantium from 1972 to 1973. [7]


In 1973, Chaz Jankel contributed a track titled "Let's Go" to Long John Baldry's album Good to Be Alive . He then joined the folk rock band Jonathan Kelly's Outside and worked on their only album ...Waiting on You , released in early 1974. [8] Jankel first started working with Ian Dury as part of the pub rock band Kilburn and the High Roads in the early part of the 1970s. He went on to work with Dury on albums such as 1977's New Boots and Panties!! and the Blockheads' albums including the 1979 release Do It Yourself before leaving the band. In 1981, Jankel joined Dury again, without the Blockheads, for his second solo album Lord Upminster , which spawned the US Top 40 dance hit "Spasticus Autisticus", which he co-wrote. [9]

After leaving the Blockheads, Jankel pursued a solo career and issued four studio albums for A&M, including his 1980 self-titled debut and 1981's Chasanova , which was also released under the title Questionnaire. [10] This album featured major lyrical contributions from Ian Dury, and musical contributions from two of the Blockheads, bass player Norman Watt-Roy, and drummer Charlie Charles and also contained the US dance hit "Glad to Know You", which was one of the tracks with lyrics written by Dury, plus the MTV music video of its title track. [9] In 1981, Quincy Jones had a UK chart hit with a cover version of Jankel's "Ai No Corrida", which reached No. 14 in April of that year. The song was also covered by the Nylons, and Laura More with Uniting Nations. In 2005, the Uniting Nations' version peaked at No. 18 in the UK. [11]

Jankel performing live with the Blockheads at The Water Rats, 2011 Chas Jankel at Water Rats.jpg
Jankel performing live with the Blockheads at The Water Rats, 2011

Jankel hit No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1982 with the triple A-side "Glad to Know You"/"3,000,000 Synths"/"Ai No Corrida". His single "Number One" went to No. 1 in the clubs in France and was used in the 1985 film Real Genius . [12] He went on to release the albums Chazablanca in 1983 and Looking at You in 1985. [9] In 1985 Jerry Moss, the recording executive of A&M, rejected the release of his fifth album, and terminated his recording career with the label. [13]

After both of Jankel's parents died, he moved to the US in 1988 and lived there for several years before returning to the UK to rejoin the Blockheads, working with Dury on their final two albums with him: Mr. Love Pants (1998), and Ten More Turnips from the Tip (2000) on which later album he took lead vocals on the song "I Could Lie". [14] After Dury's death in 2000, Jankel continued to write and perform with the Blockheads, with Dury's former friend and minder Derek Hussey being Dury's replacement. [15]

Jankel has several composer credits for films, including DOA (1988), which was co-directed by his sister Annabel Jankel, and K2 . Jankel composed the majority of the music for the Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll , in which he was portrayed by Tom Hughes. Jankel received a BAFTA nomination for the film's music. [16]

In 2010, Jankel released his first compilation album titled My Occupation – The Music of Chaz Jankel which included the songs "Ai No Corrida", "Glad to Know You" and "You're My Occupation". This album also contained the additional song "Get Myself Together" [17]

Since 2001 Jankel had issued records on his own CJ Records label. [18] [19]

Personal life

Jankel moved to Venice, Los Angeles in September 1988. He lived with his Swedish girlfriend Catharina Hemberg. They were married on the island of Kauai. They had a son Tao born in Hollywood in 1990, who is currently working for Business Sweden.[ citation needed ]

Chaz and Catharina divorced, she moving back to Sweden and he moving back to the UK in 1992, where he met his future wife, the artist Elaine O'Halloran. They had met on the set of the film The Rachel Papers where she was assistant editor. [20] The couple have a son Lewis Shay Jankel (b. 1993), a DJ, record producer, singer and songwriter who uses the stage name Shift K3Y. [21]

Jankel's older brother Tony has been working with Jankel the car designers and manufacturers.[ citation needed ] His sister Annabel Jankel is a film and television director who, in 2018, directed the British film drama Tell It to the Bees ; Jankel wrote a piano piece called "Unresolved" that features in the soundtrack. [22]

As of January 2019, Jankel remains active playing gigs around the UK, performing with the Blockheads and collaborating with Eos Counsell on piano and violin compositions.[ citation needed ]


Solo albums

YearTitle Label
1980 Chas Jankel A&M
1981 Chasanova
1983 Chazablanca
1985 Looking at You
2001Out of the BlueCJ
2008A Bit on the Side
2010The Submarine Has Surfaced


YearTitle B-side Album
1974"One Morning One Evening""Let's Work It Together"non-album single
1980"Ai No Corrida""Lenta Latina"Chas Jankel
1981"Am I Honest With Myself Really?" [Promo-only]"Lenta Latina"Chas Jankel
1981"109""3,000,000 Synths"Chasanova
1981"Glad to Know You""3,000,000 Synths"/"Ai No Corrida"Chasanova
1982"Without You""To Wou Lady Kong"/"Rêve De Chèvre"Chazablanca
1983"I Can Get Over It (If You Can Get Over Here)""To Wou Lady Kong"Chazablanca
1985"No. 1""Tonight's the Night"/"Ai No Corrida (New York '85 Mix)"Looking at You
1985"Looking at You""Little Eva"Looking at You
1986"You're My Occupation" (featuring Brenda Jones)"You're My Occupation (Dub Mix)"non-album single
1988"Nicaragua""Manon Manon"non-album single
2009"I Come Alive" (featuring Natalia Scott)"Give It Up (Yam Who? Remix)"/"Give It Up (Original Version)"non-album single

Related Research Articles

Ian Dury

Ian Robins Dury was a British singer-songwriter and actor who rose to fame during the late 1970s, during the punk and new wave era of rock music. He was the lead singer of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and before that of Kilburn and the High Roads.

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll 1977 single by Ian Dury

"Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" is a song and single by Ian Dury. It was originally released as a Stiff Records single, with "Razzle in My Pocket" as the B-side, on 26 August 1977. The song was released under the single name "Ian Dury", but three members of the Blockheads appear on the record – the song's co-writer and guitarist Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy on bass and drummer Charlie Charles.

<i>New Boots and Panties!!</i> 1977 studio album by Ian Dury

New Boots and Panties!! is the debut album by Ian Dury, released in the UK on Stiff Records on 30 September 1977. The record covers a diverse range of musical styles reflecting Dury's influences and background in pub rock, taking in funk, disco, British music hall and early rock and roll, courtesy of Dury's musical hero Gene Vincent. There are cheeky love songs and character stories based on the working-class people of the East End and Essex Estuary areas where he grew up. The songs are frequently ribald and profane, but also contain humour and affection for his characters.

Mick Gallagher

Michael William Gallagher is an English Hammond organ player best known as a member of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and for his contributions to albums by the Clash. He has also written music for films such as Extremes (1971) and After Midnight (1990), and the Broadway play Serious Money (1987).

Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick 1978 single by Ian Dury and the Blockheads

"Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" is a song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, first released as a single on Stiff Records in the UK on 23 November 1978. Written by Dury and the Blockheads' multi-instrumentalist Chaz Jankel, it is the group's most successful single, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart in January 1979 as well as reaching the top three in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and it was also a top 20 hit in several European countries.

<i>Do It Yourself</i> (Ian Dury & the Blockheads album) 1979 studio album by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Do It Yourself is a 1979 album by Ian Dury & the Blockheads. It was the first album to be credited to Ian Dury & the Blockheads rather than Ian Dury alone, although Dury had used the full band name for the "What a Waste" 7" single of 1978. The album was released in the wake of the chart-topping hit single "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick", and reached number two in the charts, behind ABBA's Voulez-Vous. Do It Yourself sold around 200,000 copies, and was Dury's second Platinum album.

<i>Laughter</i> (Ian Dury & The Blockheads album) 1980 studio album by Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Laughter is the third studio album by Ian Dury & The Blockheads; released in 1980, it was the last studio album Dury made for Stiff Records. It was also the last studio album he made with The Blockheads, until 1998's Mr. Love Pants, though a live album Warts 'n' Audience was produced in 1991.

<i>Lord Upminster</i> 1981 studio album by Ian Dury

Lord Upminster is the second solo studio album by the English rock and roll singer-songwriter Ian Dury.

<i>4,000 Weeks Holiday</i> 1984 studio album by Ian Dury & The Music Students

4,000 Weeks' Holiday is a 1984 album by Ian Dury & The Music Students for Polydor Records, released on 27 January 1984.

<i>Ten More Turnips from the Tip</i> 2002 studio album by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Ten More Turnips from the Tip is the final studio album by Ian Dury and the Blockheads. It was compiled and released in 2002, two years after Dury's death in March 2000.

<i>Mr. Love Pants</i> 1997 studio album by Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Mr. Love Pants is a 1997 album by Ian Dury and The Blockheads, released on East Central One under Dury's own label Ronnie Harris Records.

What a Waste 1978 single by Ian Dury & The Blockheads

"What a Waste" is a song and single by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, originally released in 1978 on the Stiff Records single BUY 27 "What a Waste" / "Wake Up and Make Love with Me". The song has remained in The Blockheads' set following Dury's death.

Ai No Corrida (song)

"Ai No Corrida" is a song by the English singer and multi-instrumentalist Chaz Jankel, written by Jankel and Kenny Young. It was first recorded in 1980 and featured on Chaz Jankel's debut album Chas Jankel for A&M Records.

<i>Straight from the Desk</i> 2001 live album by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Straight from the Desk is a live album by Ian Dury & the Blockheads recorded on 23 December 1978 at the Ilford Odeon, Ilford, East London.

The Blockheads

The Blockheads are an English rock band formed in London in 1977. Originally fronted by lead singer Ian Dury as Ian Dury and the Blockheads or Ian and the Blockheads, the band has continued to perform since Dury's death in 2000. Current members include Derek "The Draw" Hussey (vocals), Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy (bass), Mick Gallagher, John Turnbull John Roberts. If Watt-Roy is unavailable, due to a conflict with Wilko Johnson dates, his duties are often covered by Nathan King. There is a rolling line-up of saxophonists that includes Gilad Atzmon, Terry Edwards or Dave Lewis and from time to time, the original sax player, Davey Payne.

Norman Watt-Roy

Norman Joseph Watt-Roy is an English musician, arranger and composer.

"Glad to Know You" is a 1981 dance single by the former keyboard/guitarist for Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Chaz Jankel. After previous single releases "3,000,000 Synths" and "Ai No Corrida", "Glad to Know You" reached number one on the US, Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, remaining there for seven weeks, and becoming the biggest dance single of 1982. On other US charts, "Glad to Know You", reached number 57 on the US R&B chart. It also reached number 102 on the Bubbling Under Charts.

The Blockheads discography

Formed in 1977 to promote Ian Durys' album New Boots and Panties!! on the first Stiff Records tour of the UK, Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, Charlie Charles, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher became known as 'The Blockheads'. As 'Ian Dury & The Blockheads' they went back out on tour, this time without Jankel, and in 1978 released "What a Waste"/"Wake Up and Make Love with Me" a single that reached number five in the U.K. charts. They were then joined by saxophonist Davey Payne and toured the U.S.A supporting Lou Reed across North America ending with their own dates in California

<i>Chas Jankel</i> (album) 1980 studio album by Chaz Jankel

Chas Jankel is the debut solo studio album by the English singer and multi-instrumentalist Chaz Jankel. It was originally released in 1980, on the label A&M. Ian Dury and The Blockheads's first and only album without Jankel, Laughter, was released the same year.

<i>Chasanova</i> 1981 studio album by Chaz Jankel

Chasanova is the second solo studio album by the English singer and multi-instrumentalist Chaz Jankel. It was originally released in 1980, on the label A&M. The album was also released under the title Questionnaire.


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Further reading