Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” Lyrics Meaning

Succinctly put, “Jessie’s Girl” is a song based on Rick Springfield’s lust for someone else’s girlfriend. That is to say that the titular “Jessie” is actually a dude he is associated with and whose girlfriend he wants badly. In real life the guy’s name was Gary. But of course, ‘Gary’s girl’ doesn’t sound as cool as “Jessie’s girl”.

The fact is that Rick is quite obsessed with Jessie’s woman. She has not shown any signs of romantic interest in him whatsoever. Yet there is perhaps nothing he wishes for more in the world than having her as his own.

Moreover Rick seems perturbed when he sees the two of them – feeling jealousy against Jessie if you will – and even fantasizing about the two of them being together at night. And as for himself, the singer spends “all of his time” “looking in the mirror” trying to identify why he cannot get homegirl’s attention.

Ultimately Rick seems to understand that he is never going to lay a finger on “Jessie’s girl”. Nor does he ever appear to make a forthright effort to do so, limiting his hopes to her somehow unrealistically becoming just as smitten with him. So at the end of the day, the singer does not desire Jessie’s lover as much as “a woman like that” whom he can call his own.

Lyrics of "Jessie's Girl"

Release Date of “Jessie’s Girl”

This Rick Springfield classic was released as the second single from his album Working Class Dog on 28 March 1981.

However, it was not released in the United Kingdom until 1984. And during that year it peaked at number 25 in Ireland and number 43 in Britain (the UK Singles Chart).

“Jessie’s Girl” was a great success

This song fared well internationally. Upon its initial release it topped America’s Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Kent Music Report (in Australia, Rick’s homeland). Furthermore it charted in Canada and New Zealand.

Interestingly enough, the same day that “Jessie’s Girl” hit number 1 on the Hot 100 – 1 August 1981 – was also the very day that MTV was launched.

That said, it should be noted that “Jessie’s Girl” proved to be the only time Springfield was able to top the Hot 100.

Grammy Win

“Jessie’s Girl” earned Rick Springfield a Grammy Award in 1982. He won in the category of “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance”.

Usage in TV Shows and Movies

“Jessie’s Girl” has had a lasting presence in American pop culture, appearing in movies such as Boogie Nights (1997) and Suicide Squad (2016). Furthermore, it has been used in several TV shows, including Two and a Half Men.

Also in 2010 it was covered by the cast of the television show “Glee”, with that rendition actually charting in the United States. That rendition actually made it to number 23 on the Hot 100.

Story behind “Jessie’s Girl”

As aforementioned, the real-life “Jessie” was a friend of Rick’s named Gary. Gary and his girlfriend (i.e. “Jessie’s girl”) attended a class which Rick was also a part of during the late 1970s, which is how he got to know them.

Some years later talk-show host Oprah Winfrey actually tried to track down the real-life “Jessie’s girl” (i.e. Gary’s girlfriend) by contacting the teacher who taught the course she and Rick Springfield attended.  However the effort did not pay off as they discovered that the teacher had recently passed away and destroyed his records prior to that.

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