August 1981: Rick Springfield Lands No. 1 with "Jessie's Girl"

Rick Springfield
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What do you do when you start falling for your best friend's girl?

Rick Springfield contemplated just as much in the late '70s as he penned the lyrics to his forthcoming song: "Where can I find a woman like that?"

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The singer had come across the girl in question when she began dating a friend of his named Gary, who he had become acquaintances with while taking a stained glass-making class in Pasadena, California.

Springfield found himself crushing on the girl, the girl was seeing Gary, and "Gary's Girl" just didn't have the same ring to it. The name didn't stick, but the girl did - a few months later, when Springfield was tossing around ideas for his fifth album Working Class Dog, he transformed his romantic angst into confessional lyrics, strong-armed with a irresistible hook. 

“The riff came first,” he reminisced to Louder Sound. “And although it’s a pretty simple-sounding song it wasn’t easy to write. It took about two months, working on the guitar and piano. [Guitarist] Neil [Giraldo] added a vibe to the song, but it was the producer, Keith Olsen, who convinced me to shorten a long guitar solo I’d played on the demo which was right out of the seventies. It’s a bubbly and vivacious song, but it’s dark. It’s also covetous, which a lot of my music is.”

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The resulting song, "Jessie's Girl," combined with Springfield's new role in the smash hit TV soap opera General Hospital launched Springfield briefly to pop stardom. Even the cover art for the single, released in February 1981, showcase Springfield's smoldering looks as Dr. Noah Drake from General Hospital.

The flirty tune also scored Springfield a Grammy win for Best Rock Vocal Performance Male in 1981, marking his first and last GRAMMY win. He would receive two more Grammy nominations in following years for "I Get Excited" and "Affair Of The Heart." 

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Amazon might have mortally wounded the local shopping mall, but those of a certain age doubtless remember the important role malls played in American life, particularly during the ‘80s.

(Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Sting would later reveal that his 3-year-old son was behind the song's catchy title.

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