Jo the Waiter

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About Jo the Waiter

"Jo the Waiter" is a song by Gary Numan, originally released by his band Tubeway Army on its self-titled debut album in 1978. The song is often cited by critics and fans as one of the high points of the album, and Numan has taken to performing it live in concert over the last decade or so (perhaps at the behest of his wife Gemma, who considers it her favourite song). The subject matter concerns a lonely man who recalls an unsuccessful homosexual affair that he had with a waiter whom he used to employ. He licks his psychological wounds from the affair's fallout while junkies and valium addicts surround him. The phrase "Young men need love special" is a quote from Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch. According to biographer Steve Malins, Numan took the real-life loss of a girlfriend, Joanna Casey, as the starting point for the song, reversed the sexuality of the affair and then embroidered the tale to arrive at the final lyric. Like many Numan songs from this period, it evokes a Burroughsian world of addiction, homosexuality and failed relationships, predating the writer's fascination with science fiction that took hold on the next and last Tubeway Army album, Replicas (1979)."Jo the Waiter" is one of Numan’s few acoustic guitar tracks, others being "The Monday Troop" and "Crime of Passion" (also written and recorded in 1978 but unreleased until 1984 apart of the "The Plan" compilation album charting #29 in the UK). Although unlike the latter contain bass, drums and keys. 


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Jo the waiter worked for me
Serving wine in basement bars
Only mad men ever stay. 'got no time'
If your mindless please take mine

Jo the waiter held me close
Behind the door marked 'gentlemen'
Just for now that's all I need
Won't someone call me 'friend' 
Long gone. I recall good times 
I must confess I cried

We burned out and the line went dead
At six o'clock I felt so alone
I crawled inside. 'where else to go'?
Could be dead for all you know
Everyday I died for you
Valium boys with painted eyes
Young man need love special
I don't think I want it at all

Long gone. I recall good times
I must confess I cried
Me I retired to a back street flat
Picture 'eyes in a cold steel frame'
The freaks arrive.
Broken needles and blood
'What you on man to get those eyes'

It's very touching I'm so close to me
False smiles I've rehearsed for days
Come inside you won't know I'm wrong
Give me your heart I'm so quickly gone

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Gary Numan

Gary Numan (born Gary Anthony James Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits "Are 'Friends' Electric?" (as Tubeway Army) and "Cars". His signature sound consists of heavy synthesiser hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. more »

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