SongoftheDay: JESSIE’S GIRL by RICK SPRINGFIELD
“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 1981 the song became an instant hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks (Springfield’s only No. 1 hit), as well as also peaking at No. 1 in his native Australia and later won Springfield a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The song was at No. 1 when MTV launched on 1 August 1981. Billboard ranked it at the No. 5 song for 1981.
The song was released in the United Kingdom in March 1984 and peaked at number 43 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1984.
Springfield re-recorded the song as an acoustic version for his 1999 album, Karma.
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.” 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”.