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Who is Jessie's girl? We may never know, but in our interview with Rick Springfield
, he told us the story. Said Rick: "I don't know her name. It was a brief relationship I had when I was making stained glass for a while. I was going to a stained glass class in Pasadena, and I met this guy and his girlfriend. I was completely turned on to his girlfriend, but she was just not interested. So I had a lot of sexual angst, and I went home and wrote a song about it. Then about 4 months later I stopped going to the class and lost contact with them. The only thing I remember is his name was Gary, so I changed the name, because 'Gary' didn't sing very well. But the whole thing is absolutely what I was feeling. He was getting it and I wasn't, and it was really tearing me up. And sexual angst is an amazing motivator to write a song. Actually, Oprah's people tried to find her, and they got as far back as finding the stained glass guy. I couldn't remember his name, but I said it was late '70s; they found him, and he had died 2 years earlier, and they'd thrown all his papers out a year after that. So we missed finding out who she was by a year."
This was Springfield's second Top 20 hit (the first being "Speak To The Sky" in 1971) and it was his only #1, where it stayed for 2 weeks in August, 1981. The popularity of the song and album that summer was bolstered by the fact that Springfield, also an actor, had landed the role of Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera General Hospital earlier that spring. Springfield began acting in the mid-'70s when his music career had stalled and his then-girlfriend, actress Linda Blair, suggested he try it.
Speaking of Linda Blair, when Springfield and Blair were dating, Blair was just 15 years old while Springfield was 25. They only lived together for one year, and according to an interview on VH-1'sBehind the Music, Blair said, "He's someone I'll always love" while Springfield says that of all his former girlfriends, Blair is the only one he remains friends with. Remember that this was 1974, when standards were a little more relaxed, and median age of consent for most of Springfield's native country of Australia is 16. (thanks, Dawn - Highlands Ranch, CO)
Spingfield's take on relationships: "We’re clueless. Desperately clueless. Everybody is on relationships. Truly, I remember being a jerk because I thought that’s what girls wanted. You only really learn about women when you get into a long relationship, unless you got a really great dad – a really clued-in father – or a really open mom."
This was the #1 song in the United States when MTV launched on August 1, 1981. The video became a favorite on the fledgling network, as the photogenic Springfield starred in a well-produced promo where he used his acting skills to portray his angst.
Springfield says it's his only video where he took creative control, storyboarding it himself. The scene where he smashes the mirror remains an iconic clip; it was the most expensive part of the video, since Rick estimates that went through 24 mirrors.
In the category of weird covers, this song was covered by The Chipmunks, using the same instrumental backing track, no less. Check out their 1982 album Chipmunk Rock if you just have to have it.
This song was used in the movie 13 Going On 30 starring Jennifer Garner. (thanks, Julian - Anaheim, CA)