|Single by Rick Springfield|
|from the album Working Class Dog|
|B-side||"Carry Me Away"|
|Rick Springfield singles chronology|
"Jessie's Girl" is a song written and performed by Australian singer Rick Springfield. It was released on the album Working Class Dog, which was released in February 1981. The song is about unrequited love and centers on a young man in love with his best friend's girlfriend.
Upon its release in the United States in 1981, "Jessie's Girl" was slow to break out. It debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 chart on 28 March but took 19 weeks to hit No. 1 reaching that position on 1 August, one of the slowest climbs to No. 1 at that time. It remained in that position for two weeks and would be Springfield's only first-place hit. The song was at No. 1 when MTV launched on 1 August 1981. The song ultimately spent 32 weeks on the chart. Billboard ranked it as No. 5 for all of 1981.
The song also peaked at No. 1 in Springfield's native Australia and later won him a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
Springfield was taking a stained glass class. Also in the class were a friend of his named Gary and Gary's girlfriend. Springfield initially wanted to use the actual name of his friend, but instead decided to go with a different name. He chose "Jessie" because he was wearing a T-shirt with the name of football player Ron Jessie on it.
Springfield says that he does not remember the name of the girlfriend, and he believes that the real woman who inspired the song has no idea that she was "Jessie's Girl." He told Oprah Winfrey, "I was never really introduced to her. It was always just, like, panting from afar." 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. In 2006, the song was named No. 20 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".
The music video depicts Springfield watching a young couple with envy, desiring 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 grieves over why Jessie's girlfriend does not like him; he angrily smashes the mirror when an illusion of her appears in it.
Coheed and Cambria sequel
On 21 August 2020, the American rock band Coheed and Cambria released a music video entitled "Jessie's Girl 2" to their official YouTube channel. The video depicts Springfield, who supplies some of the song's vocals, working in a bar while the titular "Jessie's Girl" wreaks havoc. The lyrics state that the protagonist from the original song was successful in stealing the Girl away from Jessie, but realizes that she is mentally unstable. The protagonist muses that he was likely set up by Jessie, in order for him to be rid of the woman, and that he (the protagonist) is now trapped in a loveless marriage with children and a future he did not want. The video ends with the Girl stealing the barkeeper's keys and escaping. The song also references Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny" via lyrics that mention the protagonist changing his number.
The band's frontman, Claudio Sanchez, stated that the song is "kind of like a National Lampoon’s movie meets So I Married an Axe Murderer." Sanchez had originally come up with the idea of a sequel during a 2019 studio session and later approached Springfield to pitch the idea via an Instagram Live session. Springfield liked the draft prepared by Coheed and Cambria and agreed to participate.
In popular culture
In regards to the song's use in films such as Boogie Nights (1997), 13 Going on 30 (2004), and Suicide Squad (2016) 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."
"Jessie's Girl" was covered on Glee in the episode "Laryngitis" (2010). Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) sings it to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) to express his opinions about her relationship with her then-boyfriend, Jesse (Jonathan Groff). This version was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association in 2010.
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- List of Cash Box Top 100 number-one singles of 1981
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- Huey, Steve. "Rick Springfield – Artist Biography". AllMusic. 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."
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- "Canadian single certifications – Rick Springfield – Jessie's Girl". Music Canada.
- "British single certifications – Rick Springfield – Jessie's Girl". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Jessie's Girl in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "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.
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- "Jessie's Girl 2: He Got Jessie's Girl - But There's a Twist". 96.3 KKLZ. 24 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
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