For My Sunday Song #280 and the final of this 10 song set, we are talking about the 80’s classic “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. It is an iconic song and one that screams The 80’s. The song went all the way to #1 and I believe is his only #1 song and garnered Rick a Grammy. Did you know, it was the #1 song in the country when MTV debuted!! The song was from the album “Working Class Dog” and helped catapult the album to Platinum status. Rick Springfield was everywhere and even on TV as he played Dr. Noah Drake on the Daytime Soap of ‘General Hospital” which my mom watched which meant I had to watch it. We didn’t have a lot of TV options back in 1981. I am sure that his TV popularity helped shoot this up the charts as women loved him and hoped to be Jessie’s Girl.
The song is about Rick’s friend’s girlfriend. His name was Gary and not Jessie as Rick was trying to protect the innocent. Rick was in a Stained Glass class with Gary and I guess saw the girl, but actually never met her or knew her name (or he is still protecting the innocent). In fact, he states that the girl probably has no idea the song is about her. Rick was lusting from afar, but at least we got a great song out of it. The lyrics are a little silly at times and it is strange that this old guy (he was in his 30’s at the time) was singing a song about teenagers, but he made it work.
The song is pure bubblegum, pop magic and total power pop bliss at the same time. It has this really cool guitar riff throughout and the solo really pushes the song on to the rock side as well which helped it be popular with everyone. Rick sings it with an energy and honest deliver that makes you feel bad for him that he didn’t have her. I am sure we all had someone we crushed on like that growing up. You feel his yearning for her and that is what connected with everyone. Plus, the music is so damn catchy.
For My Sunday Song #279, we are going with “Every Night I Wake Up Screaming” by Rick Springfield. This is the second track in the series from my favorite Springfield album called ‘Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance’ which came out on February 24, 2004 and it is freaking brilliant. This is another of my favorite tracks from the album obviously. It was not a single and I don’t believe charted, but that doesn’t take away from its greatness.
The song is about how the world is gone to hell. The song feels like Rick is suffering from Anxiety with all the turmoil going on the world from terrorists to any other bad stuff you can think of. The “breathe” comments lead me to believe it is a panic attack and that the nightmares are occurring while he is awake. The line “everything looks better with my eyes close” that he can’t take watching it anymore. He sees it while sleeping and while awake and it is frightening. The song was 17 years ago and I don’t feel anything is better. In fact, I think things are worse, but that topic could be talked about for hours.
Musically, it starts of with some quiet guitar notes and a more quiet, reserved first verse before the song explodes and the volume gets turned up to 11. The song is heavy, it is angry and Rick attacks it with the ferocity that is needed. It goes back and forth between the quiet and the heavy. The drum beats during the quieter verses still give it that ominous vibe that things aren’t all rosy and then all hell breaks loose again. It is one of the heaviest songs I think he’s done.
For My Sunday Song #278, we are tackling the song “Rock of Life” by Rick Springfield off his 1988 album with the same name. It was written by Rick Springfield and a little piece of trivia for you, the bass player is American Idol’s own Randy Jackson. The song went to #22, but the album didn’t do that well. It charted at #55 and didn’t go Gold so Rick was starting to lose his mojo (not with me though).
The song was started back in 1985, but Rick was having trouble finishing it. He set it aside and after some time off the road with his new born, his life had really changed. A new baby really changed everything for him. They lyrics came flooding to him after that. The song is about the birth of his son and the impact that it had on him. He was now a dad and not just a rock singer and that can be a strange feeling. He wasn’t ready for the change and it I guess the song helped him cope with that.
Musically, the song was very different from his previous work. There were a lot of keyboard effects put in, Rick sings it in a higher register than he usually did. There were a lot of woo’s and hoo’s and it sounds like the 80’s and that might be why I like it, even today. It does rock out and it should with that title. But this being 1988, rock had changed and so this didn’t get the recognition I am sure he would’ve liked. All around was Def Leppard’s Hysteria, GNR’s Appetite and Whitesnake’s self titled album. There was really no place for Rick, but I didn’t care. He was my guilty pleasure back in the day. No longer as I am proudly able to say I like his stuff.
For My Sunday Song #277, we are going to dive in to the song “Wide Awake” by Rick Springfield. The song is off his 2012 album ‘Songs For the End of the World’. Sadly, I think the song and album went fairly unnoticed and its shame as Rick had been tearing it up for the last decade giving us tons of music and some really great tracks, including this one. The song was written by Rick Springfield and his writing partner on the album Matt Bissonette and they kept a common theme on the album so check it out and see what you think.
The song is really dark in its subject matter while at the same time optimistic and joyful. Rick was in a really dark place and stuck in a nightmare. He had been sleeping around on his wife and having more issues than you and I could probably handle. You can see in the lyrics he was insecure, lonley and doing things without even thinking of the consequences. Thanks to his true love, he eventually woke up the fact that he was being destructive and going down paths that he shouldn’t. She saved him and now he is wide awake and can enjoy life again the way it should be. He let the pressures and temptations get to him and she saved him.
The song is a hard rocking track, upbeat and quick tempo with an energy that is infectious and will get you moving. It is so quick you will have a hard time catching your breath. The drums are so powerful and machine gun style and there is a great guitar riff throughout that seems bouncy and joyful despite some dark topics. The “Wide Awake” theme is definitely captured in the power of the music. And let’s not forget Rick as he sings with such gusto and passion you feel like he is happy and enjoying things again. He sounds like the kid he once was.
For My Sunday Song #276, we are going to go after “Human Touch” by Rick Springfield. The song was from Rick’s 1983 album ‘Living in Oz’. The song wasn’t his biggest hit ever, but it did pretty well charting at #23 in the US giving him another Top 40 hit. Interestingly enough, the song charted at #23 in the UK and was his only Top 40 hit in the UK making him a one-hit wonder in the UK. That’s right, ‘Jessie’s Girl’ didn’t go Top 40 there.
The song was inspired by kids back in the early 80’s getting stuck in front of their computer games and forgetting how to communicate and interact with other people. That’s funny, I don’t think that has changed and now is worse with today’s phones. Rick noticed this and was reminded by how much we as human needed to communicate with each other, how much we needed to touch each other in some way. He took that thought and turned in to a love story and sexualized it a little, okay, a lot. I love how he talks about someone building up walls around themselves and the girl, Sally, calls them his prison cell. We all have those walls and only certain people can break through them, but to do that, you need to let them touch you in some way. It is pretty deep.
Musically, Rick actually recorded the song using a lot of computers which he found the contradiction to be quite funny and I agree. The song starts off with a couple of computer beeps and then a drum machine kicks in which is exactly what he says in the song that people are dancing to drum machines so why not put them in. It is basic pop and dance song and is very dated in its sound which I think now adds to its charm. Later in the song we get a saxophone which jazzes it up a little, but overall it is a very generic sounding song, but I think the meaning is way deeper and shows that Rick actually has a lot of depth in his writing. He was a man ahead of his time. He should probably redo this song today as sadly, it still applies but even more so with the pandemic and the lack of human touch for so long.
For My Sunday Song #275, we are going after the brutal song “3 Warning Shots” by Rick Springfield. This is another from the 2008 album ‘Venus in Overdrive’. The album went to #28 on the Billboard charts upon its release and I think was a very overlooked album by many as it had some great tracks including this one.
The song is about the murder of John Lennon and it is not what you’d expect. It is a letter to the man that killed Lennon and there is so much anger in this letter and it is really shocking (I’m not saying the killers name for a reason as he does deserve to be named). Rick is basically telling the guy, if I find you, I am going to basically kill you by shooting you 3 times in the head. I love how he tells the guy that Lucifer might have promised you you’d be legit, but everybody thinks your shit. It is not a song you would expect Rick Springfield to write, but it is awesome.
I love how the song opens with Rick’s son reading the news like an actual broadcast of Lennon’s death. Rick then sings with so much anger and to match that the music is a lot heavier. The drums pound with a veracity that amplifies that anger. The whole song is Rick calling out Lennon’s killer and the song wouldn’t be as impactful if the music didn’t match the intensity of the lyrics and Rick’s vocals. It all works perfectly. I remember hearing the song the first time and being taken back. I had to hit repeat and listen to it again and again. I think I listened to it 5 times in a row. It is one of my favorites of his, plus I love songs about Lennon for some reason.
For this installment of The Original vs. The Cover we are going to discuss the Sammy Hagar track “I’ve Done Everything For You” which was later covered, more successfully I might add, by Rick Springfield. The original release of the song was a live version from Sammy back in 1978 on his live album ‘All Night Long’ which did not chart. Rick’s version came out as a single in 1981 and was the follow-up to his massive hit “Jessie’s Girl” and as a result went all the way to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song had been a constant in Sammy’s live shows which is why a live version was released. The studio version was done in 1979 and released as a B-Side to the song “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” an Otis Redding Cover. It finally saw a release in 1982 on his greatest hits compilation called “Rematch” which was only done because of the popularity of the Springfield version.
The song seems to be about a relationship/an affair that was really one-sided. He gave everything to her, but she didn’t return that favor. I’ve also heard that it could possibly be about a manager or label where Sammy worked his ass off for them and got nothing in return. I am not sure which is true, but I am leaning to the relationship as it is spelled out specifically in the song, but Sammy could be using that as a pretty damn good metaphor. Either way, I like it.
For My Sunday Song #274, we are going to talk about a song that is not what you’d expect from Rick Springfield. It is a blues song called “Blues for the Disillusioned” off his 2018 album ‘The Snake King’ which is as close to blues album as you will get from Rick. The album didn’t chart, the song was not a single and it might be one you’ve never heard about, but you would be missing out.
The album was recorded during a very dark time in Rick’s life. He had contemplated suicide at one point during his darkest days. I’m not sure if this album was his therapy, but he laid out a lot on this album and this song in particular for me was a standout. There are a lot of religious aspects to the song and not all of them good. He blasts God and the Bible in particular John 16:24 where it says “Ask and You Shall Receive”, but I don’t think Rick feels God answered anything. In fact, I think he is now very disillusioned with God and faith. In reading the lyrics, Rick has had enough of so called “God” and it seems he feels that God has abandoned us all and it really makes this a very sad song.
Some of the other examples are that God manipulated Adam and Eve as well as they say God doesn’t give you what you ask for, He gives you what you need…well tell that to the 13 million starving kids in the Middle East. These parts of the song show some one who is not on the side of God anymore. I wonder where he sits now, I’d love to ask him about it.
The song is more of a ballad type song in tempo and it has a melancholy feel to it which makes sense as the lyrics are pretty dark. There is a not much blues per se, more of a country twang, but the slide guitar gives a little hint at blues. Regardless, there is a nice groove and Rick does sound great, but for me the song is about the lyrics and the meaning behind them all. That is what I found most fascinating about it. For that, I am a huge fan.
For My Sunday Song #273, we are going to go back a little a look at “I Get Excited” by Rick Springfield. The song is off his 1982 album ‘Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet’. The song did chart as a single going all the way to #32 in the US and #42 in Canada which I am sure helped the the album go all the way to #2. Reality is that this album was riding high in large part to the success of his prior album ‘Working Class Dog’ which had “Jessie’s Gril”.
The song is about an experience he had with a girl. That excitement and thrill of being with a woman and reality doesn’t always live up to the expectation. The thrill of thinking of everything that is going to happen and blowing it up in your head to a level that the actual act will never live up to it is pretty common and happens in almost any situation. It also seems to point to the fact that he is really in to it, but she doesn’t seem to be as she keeps her eyes open when the kiss and gets cold feet and starts to leave. Poor guy.
The song is an uptempo rocker and very radio friendly. It has a great guitar riff throughout that is very memorable. I like how the chorus explodes at you with some heavy drums. There is a lot of keyboard in the song which fits well for the time period as we are talking 1982. The song has a guitar solo which isn’t too flashy and compliments the song nicely. The song is a little dated in its sound, but still a great track regardless.
For My Sunday Song #272, we are discussing “One Passenger” by Rick Springfield off his 2008 album ‘Venus in Overdrive”. The album peaked at #28 on the Billboard Charts, but the song was never a single. It is however, a favorite of mine on the album. Thanks to ‘Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance’, I was really in to his music again and was excited when this came out. Although not quite as good as ‘SDAA’, it was still an exceptional album and this song helped.
What I love about the song is that is sort of a conversation with God…or whatever your definition of God is. Through the lyrics he is showing his disillusionment with life in general and asking God as to why? Why are we here and what is the meaning of all that we go through. When you listen to it, you feel his loneliness in the world, his regret, his heartache and understand why he is questioning his existence. It is quite lovely and heartbreaking at the same time when you sit and listen.
Musically, it seems pretty simple. It is not a rocker, but does pick up the pace during the chorus. It is a pop song through and through with a driving beat and there is a nice bass groove that keeps the song moving. Rick sings it in a very calm demeanor which I think hints at a tremendous sadness without sounding too morose. There is a dichotomy in the music which is a little more upbeat then the lyrics would make you believe and I always find that mix very intriguing and probably why I’m drawn to it.