Rickie Lee Jones debut album was released in 1979. She instantly became a household name because of the smash success of the album’s single “Chuck E’s In Love.” In 1980 she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
In 1981, Rickie Lee Jones released her second album entitled Pirates. It was an album that defined incredible artistic growth bathed in deep emotion. It was na incredible artistic statement and simple terms a joy to listen to. It still is. The album also featured some of the most respected musicians and artists of the 1970s including Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, jazz saxophonist Tom Scott and David Sanborn, Trumpeter Randy Brecker and legendary drummer Steve Gadd.
In 1983, Rickie Lee Jones released an EP entitled Girl at Her Volcano. One year later Rickie Lee Jones returned with her third full length album entitled Magazine. Flying Cowboys was released in 1989, Pop Pop in 1991 and Traffic From Paradise in 1993.
By 1993 Rickie Lee Jones had already released six spectacular albums and one EP in her first fourteen years. She was not done yet. In 1995 Rickie Lee Jones released Naked Songs: Live and Acoustic in 1997 Ghostyhead, in 2000 It’s Like This, in 2001 Live At Red Rocks, in 2003, The Evening of My Best Day, in 2007 The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard, in 2009 Balm in Gilead, in 2012 The Devil You Know and her most recent album as of this writing 2015’s, The Other Side of Desire.
With such a massive body of work of incredible depth, its seems almost criminal to list only ten songs. But that’s what we do and for those who have never heard of Rickie Lee Jones, we hope this serves as a wonderful introduction to one of our most cherished artists. For those dedicated Rickie Lee Jones fans, there will undoubtedly be songs that you love that will not be on the list because there was just not enough room for all of them. It’s tough to pick only ten and we tried to spread it out a bit. So please be kind in your comments and realize that this is a loving tribute to an incredible artist that has brought us so much joy over the years.
# 10 – Old Enough
We open our Rickie Lee Jones songs list with a wonderful song released on her 2009 album Balm in Gilead. The song was written by Rickie Lee Jones and David Kalish. The Balm in Gilead album featured an amazing cast of musicians including Ben Harper, Bill Frisell, Alison Krauss, Vic Chesnutt and so many more. Released thirty years after her debut album, Balm in Gilead stands as one of Rickie Lee Jones finest records.
# 9 – Ugly Man
This smoking cool jazz track opens Rickie Lee Jones’ 2003 album The Evening Of My Best Day. The songs features some great guitar work by Bill Frisell and smooth piano laying by pianist Neil Larsen. The song was supposedly written about President George Bush.
# 8 – Chuck E’s In Love
The great Rickie Lee Jones song “Chuck E’s In Love,” was the first Rickie Lee Jones tune that most of us ever heard. The song’s great guitar riff, unforgettable chorus and clever ending found a mass cultural audience that fell in love with song and the artist instantly.
# 7 – Satellites
The Rickie Lee Jones song “Satellites,” was released on Rickie Lee Jones fourth full length album entitled Flying Cowboys. The album was released in 1989. Walter Becker who was a founding member of Steely Dan produced the album. “Satellites,” was the only single released from the album.
# 6 – Juke Box Fury
In 1983, Rickie Lee Jones moved to Paris, France to find inspiration in creating her third album The Magazine. The results were a deep album full of beautiful melodies and deep resonating lyrics. The album yielded a hit single in the song “It Must Be Love.” However our favorite song on the album has always been the track “Juke Box Fury.”
# 5 – Jimmy Choos
The amazing song “Jimmy Choos,” was released on the album The Other Side of Desire. In 2015, Rickie Lee Jones was still releasing incredible music. Just take a listen to this……..
# 4 – Wild Girl
“Wild Girl,” was the opening track to her magnificent 2009 album Balm in Gilead. From the opening guitar strum to that swinging groove, Rickie Lee Jones lays down a vocal line that just depicts the essence of cool. In Wild Girl she does it was such ease and simplicity that gives no meaning to the old blues phrase “less is more.” From day one, until the present day, that cool has never gone away.
# 3 – Company
Do you remember the first time you heard this song. If you were like us, you just stood there frozen with your jaw dropping. It’s not often you hear a songs that blows you away on the very first listen while bringing tears to your eyes. Company is a ballad that paints a cinematic universe so sad and heartfelt that it can be difficult to listen to. It’s as genuine as it gets.
# 2 – We Belong Together
“We Belong Together,” was the answer to “Company.” Rickie Lee Jones opened her sophomore album entitled Pirates with this great song is what we saw as a response to the lost love of Company. For every break up there is always the possibility of finding someone new. Someone that hopefully makes one forget of the previous heartbreak. Someone that finally makes you feel, like you belong…..together.
# 1 – Living It Up
The sheer beauty of this musical masterpiece is almost incomprehensible. It’s an epic piece that goes through various rhythmic changes, soaring joyous melody lines and of course all presented to the listener via some of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. Its original creative and just makes you feel good with a side of cool attached. That pretty much defines what Rickie Lee Jones has given to us for the past forty years. Thanks Rickie!
Updated March 10,2021
Top 10 Rickie Lee Jones Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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