Monday, June 5, 2017

"The Real End" by Rickie Lee Jones

Song#:  2061
Date:  09/29/1984
Debut:  87
Peak:  83
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  After her second LP, 1981's Pirates, Jones finished up an extensive tour and found herself at a bit of a crossroads. She had become addicted to cocaine and heroin and set out to kick the drug habit. Unfortunately, that led to a bout with alcohol, which she then had to deal with. While getting her bearings, a stop-gap EP titled Girl At Her Volcano was issued. It consisted of three live tracks, four remakes, and one original tune. Released in a special 10" vinyl format, the EP got to #39. As '84 approached, Jones moved to Paris, recovered from the addictions and began to write songs for her third full-length LP, The Magazine. To announce the album's arrival, this first single was issued. Accompanying it was a video, which was her first specifically done for the MTV generation. While the song was able to get inside the AC Top 40 (#37), it couldn't do much of anything at Pop and the song disappeared after a month. It would be Jones' last song to hit either chart. Despite not having a hit, the album did pretty well getting to #44, but that was a long ways from the Top 10 peaks of her first two albums. After a five year break, Jones would return in 1989 with Flying Cowboys. It would serve as a sort of comeback for her with the album selling very well and going gold. Jones continued to record over the years and earned solid notices for her 2015 album The Other Side of Desire.

ReduxReview:  Jones is not known for writing pop singles, so it was a little surprising when this hooky tune showed up. It's probably one of the most commercial-oriented songs she's written and yet it ended up getting ignored. The song had a lot going for it including some sweet horns, a fun groove, Jones' great harmonies, and a good video. Even though it was more pop/commercial in nature, Jones' signature songwriting style was still apparent. However, it just wasn't what the kids were listening to and it kind of got the brush off. It's too bad as it's a charming and bright tune. By this point, I was already a huge fan of Jones, so I loved the song and ran to get the album when it was released. The album was both challenging and rewarding and it quickly became a favorite of mine. Jones remains one of my all-time favorite music artists.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In 1989, famous New Orleans musician Dr. John recorded an album of jazz standards titled In a Sentimental Mood. The opening track, "Makin' Whoopee!" was a duet between Dr. John and Rickie Lee Jones. The song would earn the pair a Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Collaboration. It was Jones' second Grammy. Her first came 1980 when she won for Best New Artist.  2) Jones' 1989 album Flying Cowboys featured the song "The Horses," which was written by Jones and Steely Dan's Walter Becker. Australian recording star Daryl Braithwaite would cover the tune for his 1990 album Rise. The song was issued as a single and went to #1 in Australia. Jones' original version got some attention later in 1996 when it was used in the hit film Jerry Maguire and included on the movie's soundtrack.


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