Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” is one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. It was a huge song in 1981, and went to #1 on the Billboard charts on August 1st of that year (incidentally, the same day MTV premiered), and stayed there for two weeks. Those who came of age during that period might not realize that Springfield had been in bands since the ‘60s, and had already released a few solo albums. Amongst his early material are a number of tasty bubblegum glam tracks.
The first single released under his own name, the Sunshine Pop ditty “Speak to the Sky,” was a hit in his native land of Australia, and peaked at #14 in the America during October of 1972. This was his only successfully U.S. 45 until “Jesse’s Girl,” though his popularity increased in his home country, where he was promoted as a teen idol. In 1973, Springfield began wearing glam-inspired outfits, including an all-white, superhero-like costume, with a crest consisting of a lowercase “r” and a lightning bolt.
His second LP, 1973’s Comic Book Heroes, has a couple of glam songs, including the infectious, bubblegummy number, “I’m Your Superman.”
Springfield continued in this bubblegum glam direction on his next record, Mission Magic, which was the companion LP to the similarly named animated series, Mission: Magic!. The Saturday morning cartoon was an ABC-TV production, and starred Springfield as his animated self.
Even though it was an American show, the album was—for some reason—only released in Australia. Which is a shame, really, as it’s the best of his early records, with a handful of catchy bubblegum glam tunes.
Rick Springfield’s music career subsequently fell on hard times, as he experienced a number of bad breaks. In 1981, he began playing Dr. Noah Drake on the popular TV soap opera, General Hospital. Within months, “Jessie’s Girl” was a smash.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
John Mellencamp was once a glam rocker, covered Bowie and the Stooges in the 1970s