Rich Girl (Hall & Oates song)

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"Rich Girl"
RichGirlHall&Oates.jpg
Single by Daryl Hall & John Oates
from the album Bigger Than Both of Us
B-side
  • "London, Luck and Love" (US, Canada, Spain, Portugal)
    "Do What You Want
  • Be What You Are" (Italy)
    "You'll Never Learn" (UK, Germany, Netherlands)
Released January 22, 1977
Format
Recorded 1976
Genre
Length 2:23
Label RCA Victor
Songwriter(s) Daryl Hall
Producer(s)
  • Daryl Hall
  • John Oates
Daryl Hall & John Oates singles chronology
"Do What You Want, Be What You Are"
(1976)
"Rich Girl"
(1977)
"Back Together Again"
(1977)
"Do What You Want, Be What You Are"
(1976)
"Rich Girl"
(1977)
"Back Together Again"
(1977)

"Rich Girl" is a song by Daryl Hall & John Oates. It debuted on the Billboard Top 40 on February 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. At the end of 1977, Billboard ranked it as the 23rd biggest hit of the year.

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.

Personnel[edit]

  • Daryl Hall – lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards
  • John Oates – backing vocals, rhythm guitars
  • Christopher Bond – keyboards
  • James Getzoff – conductor
  • Scotty Edwards – bass
  • Jim Gordon – drums
  • Gary Coleman – percussion

Chart performance[edit]

Covers[edit]

Nina Simone covered "Rich Girl" in 1978 on her album, Baltimore (album).

Everclear covered "Rich Girl" in 2008 on their album, The Vegas Years.

Australian R&B artist Selwyn covered "Rich Girl" in 2002 on his album, Meant to Be

Lake Street Dive covered "Rich Girl" on their 2013 EP Fun Machine

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 second album Trouble which features the original recording of the chorus as an intro.

American Rock band Faith No More covered the song briefly in the middle of their own song Midlife Crisis while performing in Detroit.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ""Rich Girl" - Daryl Hall & John Oates". Superseventies.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  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. 
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Daryl Hall & John Oates Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  7. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" by Barbra Streisand
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
March 26 – April 2, 1977 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA