Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Jesse" by Julian Lennon

Song#:  2413
Date:  08/03/1985
Debut:  75
Peak:  54
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Lennon's debut album Valotte was a platinum success thanks to three Top 30 singles including two Top 10s. Thinking that there still might be a little life left to squeeze out of the album, Lennon's label, Atlantic, decided to push out this fourth single. It got a little bit of airplay at Rock and made it to #24, but it just didn't get enough support to get inside the top half of the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This song about a guy hooked on drugs and not willing to get out of his current lifestyle seemed like an odd choice for Lennon. It's a pretty good song, but it is dragged down by a weak production from Phil Ramone. It's filled with synths and effects, which really don't add anything to the tune. Even Lennon's reading is a bit on the shrill side. Had this been done in a more brooding, mysterious style with a heavier rock edge and far less synths, I think the track would have performed better. As-is, the arrangement and Ramone's production turned a good song into something bland and forgettable.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  All the songs on Valotte were written or co-written by Lennon except for this track. This song was written by singer/songwriter China Burton. The British songwriter was a little late to the game, but tried to start a solo career in the late seventies doing disco music. He was able to get one record released on the small UK label called Logo titled "Don't You Care (About Our Love)." It didn't make the charts, but the song later gained a following and the original vinyl recording became somewhat of a prized collectable for disco music lovers. According to an interview with Lennon, he met Burton at a nightclub and Burton though that his song "Jesse" would be a good fit for Lennon's voice. Lennon listened to the track and took it in the studio to see what might come of it. Burton's original demo had the song as a ballad, but Lennon decided to do a more uptempo take with a bit of a rock edge. It ended up being good enough to be included on the album and be issued as a single. Burton continued to write songs for other artists and another one of his compositions ended up being recorded by three artists and charting twice. Burton co-wrote "Do You Want It Right Now" with Nick Straker and it was originally recorded by Siedah Garrett for the soundtrack to the 1985 film Fast Forward. It was released as a single and it got to #3 at Dance and #63 R&B. The song was then covered by singer Taylor Dayne for her 1988 debut album. Her version was not issued as a single. Then in 1992, the NYC band Degrees of Motion recorded a version that got to #7 Dance, #75 R&B, and #94 Pop.


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