One of the most quirky memorable tunes of the 1980s was “Jessie’s Girl” by Ring Springfield. The tune was catchy, and the lyrics kind of goofy, and it really embodied the music of the era.
The early 1980s saw an influx of Australian singers into the American music industry. Bands like INXS, Men at Work, and even Rick Springfield were trying to build a name for themselves stateside.
While Rick Springfield had been performing since the 1970s, it was not until February 1981 that he would get his first real big break.
Jessie’s Girl By Rick Springfield
The song “Jessie’s Girl” was a very popular song in the early 1980s and was written by Rick Springsteen himself based on a personal experience shortly after moving to Los Angeles.
It was the first single to be released along with his album, Working Class Dog, and centers around a young man who has fallen in love with a woman who is already spoken for by his best friend.
The Story Behind “Jessie’s Girl”
In the late 1970s, shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Rick Springfield was enrolled in a class for stained-glass making. He had joined the class along with a good friend of his, Gary. And there in the class with Rick and Gary, was his best friend’s girlfriend. Yet despite being already spoken for, Springfield fell in love with her and even wrote a song about his feelings.
Not wanting to let the girl know that he wrote the song about her, he changed the name of his good friend Gary to Jesse since he was wearing a shirt that featured the popular football player, Ron Jessie.
He never truly knew the name of the girlfriend, as he was never actually introduced to her. The actual Jessie’s girl is a mystery even to Rick Springfield. In fact, attempts were made to discover the true identity of the girl, but the records from the class had already been destroyed.
Coheed and Cambria
Nearly 3 decades after the initial release of “Jessie’s Girl”, an American rock band decided to release a song as an ode to the original. Taking into consideration just how mysterious Jessie’s girl actually was, the band set off to write “Jessie’s Girl 2” as a sequel to the original song.
In their rendition, Rick Springfield was able to steal the girl away from his best friend. However, he quickly learned that she was mentally unstable and he was stuck with her. Their video also included a Rick Springfield cameo as well as B-roll clips from the original music video.
The “Jessie’s Girl” Video
When MTV officially launched, “Jessie’s Girl” was already in the number one spot on the Billboard charts. As a result, the music video itself became an instant success on the network. The video was written and produced by Rick Springfield, who took control complete creative control over the entire process. He even played the younger version of himself in the video.
The video starts off with “Jesse” drawing on a brick wall with a can of black spray paint, writing the title of the song, before tossing the can of paint and walking off the scene with a girl.
Although the song was originally released in March 1981, it took several weeks before it reached the number one spot. It was considered by many to be one of the slowest climbs up the Billboard charts, and as a result, it only maintained that position for 2 weeks.
Ultimately, the song spent a total of 32 weeks in the top 10. To date, the official YouTube music video has over 53 million views.