Ooh, Jackie Blue

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Song: Jackie Blue (1975)

Artist: Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Writers: Larry Lee and Steve Cash

Album: It’ll Shine When It Shines (A&M)

Ooh, Jackie Blue, Lives her life from inside of her room.

If you look up OMD on Google, you’ll likely find Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, an English electronic group formed in the late 1070s. There is, however, another band of that era whose song, Jackie Blue, if not the band itself, you will remember.

Jackie Blue was a major hit for the group in 1975. It reached no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 on May 17, 1975, spending 21 weeks on the charts. Other top ten hits of the time were He Don’t Love You (Tony Orlando & Dawn), Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song (B.J. Thomas), Shining Star (Earth, Wind & Fire), Before the Next Teardrop Falls (Freddy Finder), Philadelphia Freedom (Elton John) and Sister Golden Hair (America).

Ozark Mountain Daredevils were, in a word, eclectic. Their musical style, despite the insistence of some, cannot be pinned down.

Although the Ozark Mountain Daredevils are thought of as country-rock or Southern rock, Jackie Blue was a soft-pop song. And, although it was the band’s biggest commercial hit, it wasn’t their only such song. If Only I Knew and You Know Like I Know are two other examples, and the latter was written in the band’s early days. They can be compared to Poco, the Eagles, and the Amazing Rhythm Aces, other 1970’s bands that mixed country with rock and other genres. And, they are just as often mixed in with Southern rock standard-bearers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, Black Oak Arkansas, etc. However, none were as eclectic as OMD.

Although some dedicated fans do not like it when the band gets too poppy, I don’t think you should hold back the creativity of such an act which has four songwriters, each of them different. And besides, Jackie Blue is a cool pop song.

Larry Lee, the drummer, who wrote and sang the song called the song a “kind of a pasteurization of a Beach Boys thing and a Todd Rundgren thing.” Interestingly, he wrote the song about a drug dealer he knew in Missouri who was one of those good old-boys who was always taking wrong turns. However, while Larry was playing the song one day during a recording session, Glynn John (recording engineer) heard him and asked him what he was playing. Upon hearing it, he insisted they should cut the track for it immediately. When the lead vocals were being added later, Glynn wanted to know what the song was about, and when Larry told him the story about his drug-dealer friend, Glynn insisted the song needed to be about a girl. So Jackie became a girl and Larry re-wrote the lyrics, transforming it with about thirty minutes of work.

Watch Ozark Mountain Daredevils Perform Jackie Blue

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