by Becky Vawter Herren
Seriously, who can't name "Jessie's Girl" in one riff? I just realized it was released this week in 1981 (35 years ago, what?!), the summer before my freshman year in high school. My mom was always a General Hospital fan, so my first glimpse of Rick Springfield was as Dr. Noah Drake. I remember taking a copy of some glossy teen magazine to show one of my friends. She was more of an Ozzy fan, but being a good friend, she nodded politely while I gushed about his photos. He hit it big that summer with "Jessie's Girl."
I bought Working Class Dog and played it endlessly on my mom's giant record player that took up half the living room and doubled as a place for knick knacks if you put the lid down. I would lie for hours on our black and white shag carpet and try to figure out what "moot" meant.
A couple of years later, I went to see Rick in concert with my friend and her sister. It was my first concert WITHOUT ADULTS. Lord, I was mature. I wore that concert t-shirt until it was shreds.
I went on about my life and made some really dumb and some pretty great decisions, and suddenly found myself in my 40s. I had just had baby number 4 at age 44 (44!) and my friend told me Rick was coming to a small venue near our tiny town. Even in my sleep-deprived fog, I could comprehend that and say yes. It was amazing for two reasons — Rick came out in the crowd and I got an AMAZING photo while he played all the good stuff, and there were enough of us old geezers to get a limo and have a great time reminiscing about our combined Rick concerts. The next day, I was still old and tired, but we were all 17 again for a night.
Listen, I know "Jessie's Girl" isn't going to solve the national debt, or create peace in the Middle East, or even get my kids to eat peas. But it takes me back to a time when I didn't have to worry about that stuff.
So far, 2016 has been a terrible year for music. We lost Bowie (Mommy, why are you crying?) and Prince (still waiting for him to pop up somewhere in his 5" Andre No. 1 shoes and retro '80s Versace suit), and countless others. I'm stupidly happy that Rick keeps working and playing, and I hope to see him again. He is my teenage years, and I thank him for that.
Becky Vawter Herren is a dentist, wife, and mom of four humans. She attempts to keep all those balls in the air on a daily basis. She also pretends to like exercise, but would rather take a nap. She and her family live in Southeast Kentucky.