|Single by Rick Springfield|
|from the album Working Class Dog|
|B-side||"Carry Me Away"|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|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. 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, the song 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 number one at that time. It remained at No. 1 for two weeks and would be Springfield's only No. 1 hit. The song was at No. 1 when MTV launched on 1 August 1981. Ultimately spending 32 weeks on the chart, Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for all of 1981.
The song also peaked at No. 1 in Springfield's native Australia and later won Springfield a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
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 was wearing a T-shirt with the name of football player Ron Jessie on it and changed the name from Gary to Jessie, then recorded the song.
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." 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, it was named No. 20 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".
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.
In popular culture
In regards to the song's use in films such as Boogie Nights (1997) and 13 Going on 30 (2004) 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."
The song was covered on Glee in the episode "Laryngitis" (2010). 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.
- List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1981
- List of Cash Box Top 100 number-one singles of 1981
- List of number-one singles in Australia during the 1980s
- 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."
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- Grant, Sarah (5 March 2015). "Mary Lambert on Embracing Sanity, Remaking 'Jessie's Girl' for Lesbians". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 June 2018.