Rick Springfield Recalls Oprah Trying to Find the ‘Jessie’ of ‘Jessie’s Girl’
Every artist's catalog contains its share of secret stories, and part of the fun that goes along with loving the songs can be trying to suss out the mysteries behind what inspired those classic hits. Many people have wondered, for example, who Rick Springfield was thinking about when he wrote "Jessie's Girl" — a riddle that, according to Springfield, even stumped Oprah Winfrey.
Springfield, speaking with Yahoo! Music about his new The Snake King LP, delved into the origins of his breakthrough 1981 single, recalling that he met the couple in question when he decided to take "stained-glass class" in an attempt to secure a sideline gig for himself in case music didn't work out. "I thought my music career was going nowhere, so I thought, ‘Hey, I’ll support my future family by becoming a stained-glass master! F---in’ pipe dreams!" laughed Springfield. "So I started going to stained-glass class, and there was this girl in the class, and she was stunning and hot and everything. But she had a boyfriend."
That boyfriend, as you've likely already surmised, ended up serving as the inspiration for Jessie — although that wasn't his name in real life. "His name was Gary," continued Springfield. "If someone was in a stained-glass class in 1979 in Pasadena and his name was Gary, and he had a hot girlfriend, you got to put the things together, right? No one’s ever contacted me, but Oprah did try to find them."
Winfrey's investigation ultimately led to the right art school, but ended up being foiled because, according to Springfield, the teacher had died a couple of years before she went looking — and administrators tossed out his paperwork after his death. "Oprah missed it by a year, but they went looking," he shrugged. "And if our president, Oprah, can’t find you, then you’re not going to be found!"