SLS – Jackie Blue


Jim presents us with the names Jack or John for our song lyric Sunday options today. To see all the rules and to read other entries go here.


My choice today is Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. 

First some confessions. I used to think the lead singer was a woman. My Bad. At least I am not the only one who thought so. Second confession, I did not know the name of the band, just the song. That is typical for me. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy seeing posts about bands. I like the learning process.

I did my research and was struck by the comments people made about the meaning of the song. Some said the song was about a woman with a personality disorder. Some called her a narcissist. Some said it was not supposed to be about a woman at all. Then there were comments from people who supposedly “knew” the person involved. It was all confusing to say the least. So, I went to a few other sources and ended up at Wikipedia. Not the greatest source of truth. But, with comments from the artists it made sense. (The Wiki article is below.)

I can see why in the mid 70’s it made more commercial sense to talk about a messed-up woman than a drug addled man. The bottom line for me is that I enjoyed the music and the feelings presented.


Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of a room
Hides a smile when she’s wearin’ a frown
Ooh, Jackie you’re not so down

You like your life in a free-form style
You’ll take an inch but you’d love a mile
There never seems to be quite enough
Floating around to fill your lovin’ cup

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
What’s a game girl, if you never lose?
Ask a winner and you’ll prob’bly find
Ooh, Jackie they’ve lost at sometime

Don’t try to tell me that you’re not aware
Of what you’re doing and that you don’t care
You say it’s easy, just a nat’ral thing
Like playing music, but you never sing

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Making wishes that never come true
Going places that you’ve never been
Ooh, Jackie Blue, you’re going again

Ooh-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives a dream that can never come true
Making love is like siftin’ through sand
Ooh, Jackie, it slips through your hand

Every day, in your indigo eyes
I watch the sunset but I don’t see it rise
Moonlight and stars in your strawberry wine
You’d take the world but you won’t take the time

Ooh-hoo-hoo, Jackie Blue
Lives her life from inside of a room
Makes you think that her life is a drag
Ooh Jackie, what fun you have had

Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Ooh, Jackie
Hey, hey, hey, hey


Wikipedia says “Ozark Mountain Daredevils drummer Larry Lee wrote “Jackie Blue” – inspired by a male drug dealer he’d once known – in embryonic form at Nixa Trout Farm, where the Daredevils conceived and rehearsed the songs for their album It’ll Shine When It Shines in the final months of 1973. Daredevil Mike Granda would recall Lee previewing the song for the band as “Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh Jackie Blue/ He was dada, and dada doo/ He did this, he did that/ He went here, he went there/ Blah, blab, blab Ooh ooh Jackie” and despite its obviously rough-form lyrics the song was deemed catchy enough to be performed “as is” at the live shows that the Daredevils played prior to recording the bulk of their next album in the barn at Ruedi Valley Ranch near Bolivar (Missouri) in the summer of 1974.[2]

Even in rough form, Lee’s song so impressed producer Glyn Johns that he ensured it make the final cut for album inclusion. The Daredevils had completed rough tracks for all of the album’s potential cuts when they left Missouri for Los Angeles to mix the favored tracks at Sunset Sound. The exception was “Jackie Blue,” which had only been recorded as an instrumental. At Sunset Sound, after Johns overdubbed the studio’s grand piano on the one Lee played at the ranch, Lee sang Johns the male-focused lyrics. Johns protested, as Lee would recall: “No, no, no, mate. Jackie Blue has to be a girl.”[2] Johns then had Lee and fellow band member Steve Cash step out to “regender” the lyrics:(Steve Cash quote:)“We started over with some of [Lee’s] lyrics, switched them around, and I wrote a couple of verses.”[3] (Larry Lee quote:)“We just knocked some new lyrics out in about thirty minutes. [From] some drugged-out guy, we changed Jackie into a reclusive girl.”[2]

Hearing the completed track, Cash realized that “Jackie Blue” could afford the band a “radio song:” (Steve Cash quote:)“It was completely different than [most] of the music we [had] played up to that point. It had something; it had a [catchy] hook.”[3] Band member Jerry Mills would concur: (Jerry Mills quote:)“‘Jackie Blue’ sounds commercial [because] it has a certain structure that happens to sound good on a car radio.”[4] “Jackie Blue” was the first of the band’s singles to feature Lee on lead vocal, drawing comparisons to the Beach Boys[4][5][6] – who were in fact a seminal influence on Larry Lee – [7] and also Fleetwood Mac,[8] with Bill Mann of the Montreal Gazette, apparently assuming the track was sung by a woman, dismissing “Jackie Blue” as “an outrageous [knockoff] of Fleetwood [Mac]’s sound, down to the female lead.”[9]

“Jackie Blue” would rise as high as #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1975 and would reach #1 on the singles charts in both Cash Box and Record World. According to Steve Cash the single broke out because of heavy airplay in Baltimore and Chicago and then essentially “sold itself” without the benefit of effective promotion from A&M Records, although Mike Granda would opine that A&M (Mike Granda quote:) “knew how to market ‘Jackie Blue’ and did a fabulous job.”[2] According to band member Steve Canaday, the …Daredevils’ album It’ll Shine When It Shines underperformed for the parent album of a near #1 hit single:(Steve Canaday quote:) “[‘Jackie Blue’] appealed to an audience that was not familiar with our band” and were not necessarily interested in the …Daredevils beyond that one song, which was “too pop” for fans of the …Daredevils’ self-titled debut album.[10]

“Jackie Blue” would prove to be somewhat of an albatross for the Daredevils, who felt pressured by A&M to cater to the song’s fans: (Mike Granda quote:)“As soon as ‘Jackie Blue’ [ran its course] they wanted ‘Jackie Green’ and ‘Jackie Brown'”.[11](Larry Lee quote:) “They wanted a specific sound – they wanted an album full of ‘Jackie Blues.'”[12] Although Granda maintains the band “stuck to our guns”[11] both the …Daredevils’ third and fourth albums: The Car Over the Lake Album (1975) and Men from Earth (1976), drew critical comment that the …Daredevils were patently courting further Top 40 success à la “Jackie Blue”.[13][14] – which would however remain their final Top 40 hit.[15]


8 thoughts on “SLS – Jackie Blue

  1. Nice song Lauren. I read that this song is about a woman who is in pursuit of happiness, but she never gives anything a long enough time to make her happy. She gets bored easily and there never seems to be quite enough to satisfy her.

    Liked by 1 person

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