Rich Girl (Hall & Oates song)

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"Rich Girl"
Single by Hall & Oates
from the album Bigger Than Both of Us
Released January 22, 1977
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1976
Genre Blue-eyed soul, soft rock
Length 2:23
Label RCA
Writer(s) Daryl Hall
Producer(s) Hall & Oates
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Hall & Oates singles chronology
"Do What You Want, Be What You Are"
(1976)
"Rich Girl"
(1977)
"Back Together Again"
(1977)

"Rich Girl" is a song by Daryl Hall and John Oates. It debuted on the Billboard Top 40 on Feb. 5, 1977 at number 38 and on March 26, 1977, it became their first (of six) number-one singles on the "Billboard" Hot 100. The single originally appeared on the 1976 album "Bigger Than Both of Us."

Content[edit]

The song's lyrics are about a spoiled girl who can rely on her parents' money to do whatever she wants. The song was rumored to be about the then-scandalous newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. In fact, the title character in the song is based on a spoiled heir to a fast-food chain who was an ex-boyfriend of Daryl Hall's girlfriend, Sara Allen. "But you can't write, 'You're a rich boy' in a song, so I changed it to a girl," Hall told Rolling Stone.[1]

Hall elaborated on the song in an interview with American Songwriter:

"Rich Girl" was written about an old boyfriend of Sara [Allen]'s from college that she was still friends with at the time. His name is Victor Walker. He came to our apartment, and he was acting sort of strange. His father was quite rich. I think he was involved with some kind of a fast-food chain. I said, "This guy is out of his mind, but he doesn't have to worry about it because his father's gonna bail him out of any problems he gets in." So I sat down and wrote that chorus. [Sings] "He can rely on the old man's money/he can rely on the old man's money/he's a rich guy." I thought that didn't sound right, so I changed it to "Rich Girl". He knows the song was written about him.[2]

Several years later, Hall read an interview with David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, in which Berkowitz claimed that "Rich Girl" had motivated him to murder[3] (although the song was not released until after the Son of Sam murders had already begun, casting doubts on that suggestion).[4] Hall & Oates later reflected this disturbing fact in the lyrics of the song "Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear Voices)" on the album Voices.[1]

The song appeared in a namesake 1985 episode of the TV series Hunter.

Sample versions[edit]

Canadian pop/hip-hop group Down With Webster's song "Rich Girl$" borrows many elements from the original, and although not a full cover, samples part of the original recording and also lifts the melody and some lyrics.

American rapper and slam poet George Watsky released a song called "Rich Girl" on his 2012 album Nothing Like the First Time which samples the original recording and expands on the theme of the original song.

British recording artist Natalia Kills released a song called "Daddy's Girl" on her sophomore album Trouble which features the original recording of the chorus as an intro.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Selwyn (on Meant to Be), by The Bird and the Bee (on Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates) by Everclear (on The Vegas Years), by Nina Simone (on Baltimore), by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (on Have Another Ball), and by Butch Walker during concerts on his 2010 American concert tour with his backing band, the Black Widows. Boston-based indie band Lake Street Dive covered it on their 2012 EP album, "Fun Machine."

References in Popular Culture[edit]

Curtis "Lem" Lemansky sings a portion of the song during Season 02 Episode 07 "Barnstormers" of The Shield.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
position
Canadian Singles Chart 5
Netherlands Singles Chart 15
New Zealand Singles Chart 33
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 64

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rich Girl - Super Seventies.com
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (Updated and expanded 5th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 457. ISBN 9780823076772. 
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Random House LLC. p. 457. 
  4. ^ Philbin, Tom; Michael Philbin (1 January 2009). The Killer Book of Serial Killers is the ultimate resource (and gift) for any true crime fan and student of the bizarre world of serial killers. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 126. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
Preceded by
"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" by Barbra Streisand
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
March 26 – April 2, 1977
Succeeded by
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA