Somebody's Baby

Album: Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack (1982)
Charted: 7
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  • Lyrics
  • This song is about a guy who is infatuated with a girl, and convinces himself that she must have a boyfriend. As he tries to work up the courage to talk to her, he keeps losing confidence by reminding himself that she's too fine not to be taken.
  • This was part of a memorable scene in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where it was used to express the feelings of a frustrated teenager. The movie was a huge hit and helped drive the chart success of the song. "Somebody's Baby" was the only hit from the soundtrack, although "Moving In Stereo" by The Cars was used in a famous scene and also became associated with the film.

    Jackson Browne recorded the song for the film because he was friends with its writer, Cameron Crowe. The song's co-writer Danny Kortchmar was also friends with Crowe, and was working on the song "Love Rules" for the film with Don Henley when he came up with the framework for "Somebody's Baby." Kortchmar convinced Browne to finish writing the song and record it for the movie.
  • Jackson Browne wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar, who played guitar on his Running On Empty and Lives In The Balance albums. Kortchmar had the music and the "must be somebody's baby" hook. He knew Browne could do something special with the song, so he brought what he had to Jackson, who helped Kortchmar complete it. That's what I brought to him: all the guitar parts and everything else. In our 2013 interview, Kortchmar explained:

    "It was not typical of what Jackson writes at all, that song. But because it was for this movie he changed his general approach and came up with this fantastic song. It's a brilliant lyric. I think it's absolutely wonderful. But it's atypical of him - he wasn't sure what to make of it himself. He didn't want to put it on his album that he was making because it was atypical of what he did, but it ended up being something that got requested a lot and he ended up playing it live and taking it to his heart, as it were. And now he plays it all the time."
  • Browne has called this an "unabashed pop song." Most musicians would want their most popular songs on their albums, but Browne was OK having it on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack, despite the advice of his former label boss David Geffen, who told him he was nuts for giving it up.
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Comments: 10

  • Bill from JupiterAmy Heckerling was the director of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
  • Brent from Denair, CaFast Times... an absolute Cult Classic. Everytime I hear this song and any others from the movie, I immediately go back in time to early college years and just laughing my arse off!
  • Denver from Colunbia City, InFast Times is a cult classic and KICKS BUTT. This song is awesome and fits the scene very well.
  • Brian from Boston, MaFast Times At Ridgemont High is a great movie.I always liked this song.
  • Gorchen from Philadephia, BotswanaThis song definitely moved my psyche from an equilibrium state to hester prynne type mentality. The predicate is a guidline to all things quasi-sex.
  • Eric from Philadelphia, PaThere's another way the lyrics express psychological movement: in the use of the predicate "shine." Initially it's attributed to the object of desire; the narrator assumes she'll be "shining" (as a lover) tonight -- for someone else, since he's thinking of her as the one with something to offer. As he begins to realize she's alone, he shifts to singing, "Gonna shine tonight, make her mine tonight." In other words, now he's thinking of himself as the one with something to offer, who will "shine" as a seducer and lover.

    After seeing the movie again, I'm mystified by Barry's reference to gratuitous nudity. Jennifer Jason Leigh's only nude scenes are sex scenes, integral to the story. There's nothing gratuitous about them. The song accompanies her in other scenes as well.
  • Eric from Philadelphia, Pa, PaMy interpretation of the lyrics is more positive. I think there's a clear movement from his acceptance of the conventional wisdom of "the guys on the corner" that she must be taken, to recognizing she may not be, precisely because of that common assumption which is actually a cover for the fear of rejection. In fact the beginning of the second verse sounds like she's complaining to her friend that she wants a lover but doesn't have one.

    The fact that, by developing the strength to overcome his initial pessimism, he is moving toward doing what is needed to fulfill them both, gives this song a very moral feeling for me.
  • Barry from New York, NcThis song is on the "Fast Times" soundtrack every time Jennifer Janet Leigh takes off her clothes. Somehow, I don't see an easy fit between gratuitous movie nudity and Jackson Browne music.
  • Liz from Smallville, KsI love this song.
  • Brian from Richmond , VaWhat a great song!!I love the lyrics to this song and it was perfectly used in the movie "Fast Times At Ridgemont High."

    I think every guy can relate to this song. I definitely associate this song with the 1980s and adolescence.
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