Day 62. Your favorite song by a singer turned actor.
“Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to come up with singers turned actors? Sometimes it seems like every other singer on earth thinks they can act, and just about every actor thinks they can sing. So why is it so hard to find some that actually made the crossover? I mean even my buddy Ric Ocasek has some acting roles in things like Hairspray and others.
But since it’s looking for a favorite, this post seems to beg for someone who was actually successful at both. That list is even smaller.
In terms of actors who later became singers and were much more successful at the latter, I think Janet Jackson (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) is probably the one that comes to mind first. She was on “Good Times” and had some other guest stints (like on “Diff’rent Strokes”) but I’m guessing no one really thinks of her as an actor. (She couldn’t even really feign surprise during the “wardrobe malfunction,” after all.)
Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click above to hear samples.
So when it came to favorites, I figured I had to go with Rick Springfield. And if you’re going to go with Rick Springfield, you probably have to go with “Jessie’s Girl.” (Although “I’ve Done Everything For You” is every bit as good a song.) The problem is, short of remembering hearing it while roller skating as a kid, I don’t really have a story to go with it. (And even less of one for “I’ve Done Everything For You.”)
I do have some commentary. though. What I find baffling is that the lyrics are apparently a true story (with the names changed to protect the innocent). Before he was a successful actor or singer or anything, Rick Springfield had a friend. And that friend had a girlfriend. And Rick wanted that girlfriend in a bad way. And Rick never got said girl. Ever.
For those that don’t know, Rick Springfield released Working Class Dog in 1981 and upon release it instantly went… nowhere. So he took a job on “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake or Dr. Drake Ramoré or Dr. Dre or something like that. And then the music got popular. And because his music was popular, “General Hospital” got more popular. And as “General Hospital” got more popular… well, you get the picture. There was lots of popularity flying back and forth.
But back to “Jessie’s Girl.”
Now, songs about a guy wanting his friend’s girl are nothing new. The music world is filled with them. (Um, “My Best Friend’s Girl” anyone?) Heck, Country Music is practically built on the concept.
I’m told that Mr. Springfield was a good-looking guy. What are the odds that his buddy is better looking? Or more lovable? Or, in time, more rich? Because what I find bizarre is that after all this happened, that Jessie’s Girl didn’t have an epiphany.
Are you telling me that she couldn’t figure out “Hmm… We used to know Rick. We all used to hang out a lot. Hey! That song is about me?” Sure, at the time he’s a broke actor/singer/whatever, but once he’s famous and rolling in dough, wouldn’t you think she’d rethink things and maybe change her mind?
I dunno. Maybe I’m being cynical. Maybe Jessie and his girl had found true love and it conquered all. Maybe people aren’t as shallow as I think. Because, after all, I like to think I’m not that shallow. But maybe I am, since I’m on this train of thought?
At any rate, Rick had a string of hit singles and albums, and a good gig at GH for a while. And then the 80s ended and things didn’t go quite as well. His album sales trailed off and he ended up doing a bunch of weird sci-fi things that didn’t do much. And today, while I’m sure he’s not living in poverty, he’s not the hot commodity he once was. And reportedly he’s an abusive, cheating, sex addict.
So maybe Jessie’s girl was smart after all.