Jo the Waiter

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"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[1]. 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).[2]

"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 1985).[3]


  1. ^ "Praying To The Aliens". Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  2. ^ "jo the waiter lyrics - Google Search". Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  3. ^ Tubeway Army (Ft. Gary Numan) – The Monday Troop, retrieved 2018-11-28