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"Jessie's Girl"
Single by Rick Springfield
from the album Working Class Dog
B-side "Carry Me Away"
Released March 17, 1981
Format 7" single
Genre Power pop[1]
Length 3:15
Label RCA
Writer(s) Rick Springfield
Producer Keith Olsen
Rick Springfield singles chronology
"Take a Hand"
(1976)
"Jessie's Girl"
(1981)
"I've Done Everything for You"
(1981)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Jessie's Girl" is a Grammy Award-winning rock song written and performed by pop singer Rick Springfield. It was released on the album Working Class Dog. The song is about unrequited love, and centers around a young man in love with his best friend's girlfriend (see below for story behind the song).

Upon its release in 1981 the song became an instant hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, and later won Springfield a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The song was at #1 when MTV launched on August 1, 1981.[2]

The song was released in the United Kingdom in March 1984 and peaked at number 43 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1984.[3]

Contents

Story behind the song

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 happened to see a girl in a softball jersey with the name "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."[4]

"Jessie's Girl" remains a staple of many Lite rock and Classic Hits FM radio stations. In 2006, it was named #20 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".

Music Video

The music video depicts Rick watching a young couple (presumably Jessie and his girlfriend) with envy for the girl's love. It opens with Jessie (Steve Antin) spray painting "Jessie's Girl" onto a brick wall, and then leaving with his girlfriend, as Rick watches and gives a monologue in the form of the song's first verse. Rick 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.[5]

Credits

Cover versions

  • It was covered by The Chipmunks on their 17th album Chipmunk Rock from 1982, six months after the release of Springfield’s version and using the same instrumental backing track.
  • Korea Girl have covered this song as a hidden track at the end of the Japanese release of their 1997 self titled album.
  • American indie folk artist Matt The Electrician covered the song on his 2003 album Made For Working. A sample can be heard on his official website.[6]
  • In 2004, it was covered by the band Frickin' A, on their debut album Big Egos...No Ideas. In a twist, Rick Springfield acted as the boyfriend of "Jessie's Girl" played by Angela Dodson.

Live cover performances

  • Everclear have also paid tribute to the longevity of the song's popularity by recording a live cover version of the song.
  • Matt Nathanson covers "Jessie's Girl" during most live shows when he plays his song "Princess".

References in other media

  • The song was featured in the 2000 film "Keeping the Faith". The character Don (Ken Leung) sings it Karaoke style to convince Father Brian (Edward Norton) and Rabbi Jake (Ben Stiller) to buy the Karaoke player.
  • Main characters, Shawn and Gus of USA Network's Psych, played by James Roday and Dulé Hill respectively, sing "Jessie's Girl", complete with air guitars, during the end credits of the episode of "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece."
  • During The Venture Bros. episode, "Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)", Dr. Venture starts reciting lines from the song as Dr. Girlfriend walks down the aisle, to which the Monarch asks, "...Are you reciting Jessie's Girl?"
  • During his stint with the team in the 1980s, the song was occasionally used as New York Mets relief pitcher Jesse Orosco's entrance music.
  • It was featured in as a track on Guitar Hero: On Tour and as a downloadable song for Guitar Hero World Tour.
  • "Jessie's Girl" was mentioned on the popular webcomic Penny Arcade, where the character Gabe refers to "Jessie's Girl" as "the greatest song ever written" and states that this is a "fact".[7]
  • This song was featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights.
  • It was also featured in the 2004 film 13 Going on 30.
  • A recent survey of workplaces in Australia reveal "Jessie's Girl" is one of the most popular workplace karaoke songs performed by staff at functions.

References

External links

Preceded by
"The One That You Love" by Air Supply
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
August 1, 1981 - August 14, 1981 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
ARC Weekly Top 40 number-one single
August 1, 1981
Succeeded by
"Believe It or Not" by Joey Scarbury
Preceded by
DEV-O Live EP by Devo
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
August 31, 1981
Succeeded by
DEV-O Live EP by Devo
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