Jessie's Girl

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"Jessie's Girl"
Single by Rick Springfield
from the album Working Class Dog
B-side "Carry Me Away"
Released February 1981
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded December 1980
Genre Power pop[1]
Length 3:14
Label RCA
Writer(s) Rick Springfield
Producer(s) Keith Olsen
Rick Springfield singles chronology
"Take a Hand"
(1976)
"Jessie's Girl"
(1981)
"I've Done Everything for You"
(1981)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Jessie's Girl" is a song written and performed by Australian singer Rick Springfield. It was released on the album Working Class Dog. The song is about unrequited love, and centers on a young man in love with his best friend's girlfriend.

Upon its release in 1981 the song became an instant hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks (Springfield's only No. 1 hit), as well as also peaking at No. 1 in his native Australia and later won Springfield a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The song was at No. 1 when MTV launched on 1 August 1981.[2]

The song was released in the United Kingdom in March 1984 and peaked at number 43 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1984.[3]

Springfield re-recorded the song as an acoustic version for his 1999 album, Karma.

Background[edit]

Springfield was taking a stained glass class along with his friend Gary and Gary's girlfriend. He initially wanted to use the actual name of the friend he was singing about, but instead decided to go with a different name — "Jessie". He happened to see a girl in a softball jersey with the name "Jessie" on it and changed the name from Gary to Jessie, then recorded the song.[4]

Springfield says that he does not remember the name of the girlfriend, and believes that the real woman who inspired the song has no idea that she was "Jessie's Girl", telling Oprah Winfrey, "I was never really introduced to her. It was always just, like, panting from afar."[5] Springfield told Songfacts that Oprah's people tried to find her, and they got as far back as finding out that the teacher of the class had died two years previously and that his class records were thrown out one year after his death.[2]

"Jessie's Girl" remains a staple of many lite rock and classic hits FM radio stations. In 2006, it was named No. 20 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Music video[edit]

The music video depicts Springfield watching a young couple with envy for the girl's love. It opens with Jessie (played by Steve Antin) spray painting "Jessie's Girl" onto a brick wall, then leaving with his girlfriend, as Springfield watches and gives a monologue in the form of the song's first verse. Springfield runs into the couple one more time on the sidewalk, and he just stares as they walk away from him. Later, he goes home and looks in the mirror and mourns over why Jessie's girlfriend doesn't like him, and angrily smashes the mirror after he sees an illusion of Jessie's girlfriend in the mirror. According to the spray paint in the video, Jessie's girl is named Patty.

Personnel[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

In regards to the song's use in films such as Boogie Nights and 13 Going on 30 over 20 years after its original release, Springfield said, "I’m thrilled by it. As a writer, all you can ask is that a song has legs. It has an appeal that keeps coming back."[22]

The song was covered on Glee in the episode "Laryngitis". Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) sings this song to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) to express his opinions on her relationship with her then-boyfriend, Jesse (Jonathan Groff). This version was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association in 2010.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Rick Springfield – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 4 May 2014. "After a solid decade's worth of work in the '70s, Rick Springfield turned into an international star in the early '80s thanks to the power pop classic "Jessie's Girl."" 
  2. ^ a b "Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield". Songfacts. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Chart Stats > Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl
  4. ^ "Jessie's Girl cracks the Top 40". Entertainment Weekly. 7 May 1999. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Is Rick Springfield Jessie's Girl a Real Person? at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 July 2008). The Oprah Winfrey Show. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  6. ^ 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's: #1 –100 at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 July 2009). VH1 Classic. MTV Networks. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1980's". World Charts. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  8. ^ CHART NUMBER 1277 – Saturday, July 04, 1981 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  9. ^ "RPM Top Singles." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Rick Springfield – Jessie's Girl". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Rick Springfield – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  12. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JULY 25, 1981 at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  13. ^ RECORD WORLD 1981 at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2004). Record World. Geocities.com. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Rick Springfield" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 35, No. 22, December 26 1981". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1981". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  19. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1981 at the Wayback Machine (archived 18 September 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Rick Springfield – Jessie's Girl". Music Canada. 
  21. ^ "American single certifications – Rick Springfield – Jessie_s Girl". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  22. ^ Murtagh, Heather (18 June 2010). "Are you ready to rock?: '80s legend Rick Springfield to perform at county fair". The Daily Journal. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Devo Live EP by Devo
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
31 August 1981 (1 week)
Succeeded by
Devo Live EP by Devo
Preceded by
"The One That You Love" by Air Supply
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
1 August 1981 – 8 August 1981 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
US Cash Box number-one single
25 July 1981 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Elvira" by The Oak Ridge Boys