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Chaz Jankel
Jankel smiling to the camera
Jankel before a gig with The Blockheads at Band on the Wall, 2016
Background information
Birth name Charles Jeremy Jankel
Also known as Chas Jankel
Born (1952-04-16) 16 April 1952 (age 71)
Stanmore, Middlesex, England
Origin London, England
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • arranger
  • composer
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
  • organ
  • percussion
Years active 1973–present
Associated acts
  • Byzantium
  • Kilburn and the High Roads
  • The Blockheads
  • Ian Dury
  • Natalia Scott

Charles Jeremy "Chaz" Jankel (born 16 April 1952) is an English musician. In a music career spanning more than 40 years, he 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 "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, 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. 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.


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. 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. He wrote funk songs such as "Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick". 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.

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. 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. 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.

Chas Jankel at Water Rats
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. He went on to release the albums Chazablanca in 1983 and Looking at You in 1985. 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.

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". 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.

Jankel has several composer credits for films, including DOA (1988), which was co-directed by his sister Annabel Jankel, and K2.

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"

Since 2001 Jankel had issued records on his own CJ Records label. Jankel recorded single with Cherry Cameron in 2016.

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.

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. The couple have a son Lewis Shay Jankel (b. 1993), a DJ, record producer, singer and songwriter who uses the stage name Shift K3Y.

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.


Solo albums

Year Title Label
1980 Chas Jankel A&M
1981 Chasanova
1983 Chazablanca
1985 Looking at You
2001 Out of the Blue CJ
2003 Zoom
2005 Experience
2008 A Bit on the Side
2010 The Submarine Has Surfaced


Year Title 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 "Questionnaire" "Boy" 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
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