Rickie Lee Jones (album)

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Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones 1979 debut album cover.jpg
Studio album by Rickie Lee Jones
Released February 28, 1979
Recorded 1978
Studio Warner Bros. Recording Studios and The Burbank Studios
Tracks 2, 11 recorded live December 22, 1978 at TBS
Genre Rock
Length 42:11
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Lenny Waronker, Russ Titelman
Rickie Lee Jones chronology
Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones is the debut album of singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones. After arriving in California in the mid-1970s, Jones started taking songwriting more seriously, and by 1977 had met singer-songwriters Chuck E. Weiss and Tom Waits (Jones consequently became romantically involved with Waits).


Jones had begun playing live in the Los Angeles area at the age of 21, and after meeting singer-songwriter Alfred Johnson, the pair began writing and performing live together (most notably at the Ala Carte club.) Two of their collaborations, "Weasel and the White Boys Cool" and "Company," would later be recorded for Jones' debut album. She also sang jazz standards, as well as a song penned by her father ("The Moon Is Made of Gold") in her live sets.

Jones' performances around Los Angeles aroused interest from other local songwriters, as well as local record company executives. At a label showcase, Jones performed originals, including "Chuck E.'s in Love", "The Real Thing Is Back in Town" and "The Moon Is Made of Gold." This showcase performance, plus a demo containing "The Last Chance Texaco", "Easy Money", "Young Blood" and "After Hours" led to a record deal with Warner Bros.. For her major label debut, Jones scrapped "The Real Thing Is Back in Town," but used the titular line in one of the album's tracks - "Coolsville."

Recording sessions (which began in September 1978) yielded eleven songs for inclusion on an album. Two of the songs - "On Saturday Afternoons in 1963" and "After Hours" - were recorded live on December 22, 1978.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B−[2]
Smash Hits 8/10[3]

The album was released in the spring of 1979 to mostly favorable reviews propelled by the substantial jazz-pop hit single "Chuck E.'s in Love," based on a rumored[by whom?] romance of her friend Chuck E. Weiss. The single became a US #4 hit during the summer, while the album, which went on to become a million seller, hit US #3. Jones was supported by a memorable slot on Saturday Night Live in April 1979, where she performed "Chuck E.'s in Love" and "Coolsville." A second single, "Young Blood," cracked the US Top 40 in late 1979, when Jones went on an international tour. By June 1981, the album had sold over two million copies in the US alone.

Not all reviews were entirely favorable. Robert Christgau in particular only liked a few of the songs.[2]


The album cover contributed to the image of Jones as a stylish beret-wearing beatnik. Jones had said the inspiration of it was from a photo of her father (an aspiring musician and waiter) in a similar pose, lighting a cigarette while sitting on a beach towel at a Chicago beach along Lake Michigan, near where the family lived. Although Donna Summer had already been wearing berets and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell wore one for the album cover of her 1976 album Hejira, it was Jones Parisian-boho jazz sensibility that finally popularized it, propelling as a mainstay of hipster chic and (perhaps unintentionally) branding her image in the process. Despite Jones' beautiful looks and street gamine wildness, she would recall that people seemed to only recognize her in public when she was wearing the beret. The album cover photography and design was by Norman Seeff.


22nd Annual Grammy Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result
Rickie Lee Jones Best New Artist Won
"Chuck E.'s In Love" Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
"The Last Chance Texaco" Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female Nominated

Track listing[edit]

Songs written by Rickie Lee Jones, except where noted.

  1. "Chuck E.'s in Love" 3:28
  2. "On Saturday Afternoons in 1963" – 2:31
  3. "Night Train" – 3:14
  4. "Young Blood" – 4:04
  5. "Easy Money" – 3:16
  6. "The Last Chance Texaco" – 4:05
  7. "Danny's All-Star Joint" – 4:01
  8. "Coolsville" – 3:49
  9. "Weasel and the White Boys Cool" (Rickie Lee Jones, Alfred Johnson) – 6:00
  10. "Company" (Rickie Lee Jones, Alfred Johnson) – 4:40
  11. "After Hours (Twelve Bars Past Goodnight)" – 2:13


  • Rickie Lee Jones - vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion, horn arrangements on all tracks, drums on tracks 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, bass on tracks 1, 2, 5, percussion on track 4.




  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r10588
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 30, 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Rickie Lee Jones". Village Voice. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (August 9–22 1979): 25. 
Preceded by
The Bob Seger Collection by Bob Seger
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
June 11 – July 22, 1979
Succeeded by
Discovery by Electric Light Orchestra