Lost in the ’80s: JoBoxers

Written by Lost in the '80s, Music

Riding a rockabilly/Motown revival during the early ’80s that also included the Polecats, Roman Holliday and the Stray Cats, Britain’s JoBoxers (with American lead singer Dig Wayne) barely scraped the Top 40 in the States with “Just Got Lucky,” another one of those hits that got bigger as the years rolled on, being featured in plenty of movies, most notably The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But while “Just Got Lucky” is what the band is best known for here, it was actually their first single in the U.K., “Boxerbeat” (download), that was the bigger hit. And hey, how about that spoken word intro ripped off fresh from Madness’ “One Step Beyond?”

“Boxerbeat,” an infectious if goofy mission statement, hit #3 in the U.K., predating “Just Got Lucky’s” success. It was released here as the second single off the band’s debut, Like Gangbusters, complete with another Bowery Boys-inspired video. Unfortunately, MTV didn’t shine to “Boxerbeat” like they did with the group’s first single.

In the U.K., the success of the first two singles led to a third, the relatively nondescript “Johnny Friendly,” (download) which goes on about three minutes too long. More interesting is the album’s fourth single, the hopefully winking “She’s Got Sex.” (download) I say “hopefully,” because I want to believe the band was being somewhat cheeky with the junior high lyrics about a girl who’s gotta have it. The video leads me to believe the band was in on the joke:

Sadly, JoBoxers were unable to duplicate their initial success, recording just one more album in 1985 before calling it quits. Dig Wayne continues to tour with his band the Chisellers. He also acts, most recently appearing on an episode of CSI. Like Gangbusters has yet to make it onto CD, but there are two decent import-only compilations that basically sew the entire JoBoxers catalog up.

Get JoBoxers music at Amazon.