This song was co-written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with Ralph Dino and John Sembello, who first recorded it as Dino & Sembello in 1974. The song can be seen as a lament by a woman who hasn't fallen quite as far as Mark Knopfler's later private dancer
, and nowhere near as far as the unfortunate wretch in Al Stewart's earlier "Old Compton Street Blues
Leiber and Stoller produced the self-titled Dino & Sembello album that included this song. When they got the opportunity to produce the British singer Elkie Brooks, best known at the time as frontwoman for the group Vinegar Joe, they revived the song with her. They produced her albums Two Days Away
(1977) and Live and Learn
(1979) and also her follow-up hit, "Sunshine After The Rain," which made UK #10 a few months later.
With "Pearl," Leiber and Stoller re-wrote the song for Brooks, changing the lyrics to make it more appropriate for a female singer and adding a new piece of music for the bridge.