He attended Mill Hill School and became a fan of the American Rock, funk, and soul band Sly & The Family Stone who influenced his own musical style and he was later responsible for much of the funk influence in the Blockheads" music, his fondness for it also being evident in his solo career.
He was co-writer with Dury of the band"s best-known songs during its commercial peak in the late 1970s. He started to learn to play the Spanish guitar aged 7 and then the piano. As a student at Saint Martin"s School of Art he played with a band called Byzantium.
First hooking up with Dury as part of the public group Kilburn and the High-Roads in the early part of the 1970s, Jankel was asked by Dury to join his new outfit, and appeared on such Dury releases as 1977"s New Boots and Panties!! and Blockheads releases such as 1979"s Do lieutenant Yourself, before leaving the group.
But in 1981, Jankel teamed up once more with Dury (without the Blockheads), for the release Lord Upminster, which spawned the United States Top 40 dance hit "Spasticus Autisticus." But by this time, Jankel had become more interested in pursuing a solo career and he issued several releases for Agricultural and Mechanical such as 1980s self-titled debut and 1981"s Chasanova/Questionnaire (the latter of which contained the United States dance hit "Glad to Know You," a collaboration with Dury, plus the Music Television video hit of the title track). Quincy Jones had a United Kingdom chart hit with his version of "Ai Number Corrida" which reached Number.
14 in April 1981. Jankel hit Number. 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 Number Corrida".
His single "Number One" went to Number.
1 in the clubs in France and was used in the 1985 movie Real Genius. Jankel returned to the Blockheads after his solo career in America, and worked with Dury on his final two albums (Mr Love Pants, Ten More Turnips From The Tip). Jankel continues to perform and write with the Blockheads today, after Dury"s death in 2000.
Jankel composed much of the music for the Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in which he was also portrayed by Tom Hughes.
Jankel received a Bafta nomination for the film"s music is a compilation of Jankel"s biggest works: "Ai Number Corrida", "Glad to Know You" and "You"re My Occupation". "Get Myself Together" is a lost B-side.
Jankel"s sister Annabel was the co-creator of the iconic Max Headroom character, and is a commercial director
As a member of the group Jonathan Kelly"s Outside, Jankel helped record the album..Waiting on You released in early 1974.