This post is part of a countdown series on songs that have stuck in my head and are part of my iTunes "hit parade" of most-played tracks. See all the posts here.
The scene in the video below is so alien to me that I don't even think it's possible I could have nightmares about it. If I were there, the best outcome would be sunstroke; the worst would getting my ass kicked for saying the wrong thing about God, guns, or Garth Brooks. But at least I wouldn't get in trouble for looking at someone the wrong way. Nobody on that stage has to worry about me staring at anything other than his guitar.
So why have I played the Southern rock classic "Jessica" so often? Well, it has been an earworm for almost all of my life, blasting from car radios and jukeboxes. And unlike most earworms, it's not hobbled by insipid lyrics (or any lyrics), so I could never hate my brain for idly playing it. Though it's seven-and-a-half minutes long (as it appeared on the album Brothers and Sisters), I remember it as getting a lot of radio airplay -- in part because it was one of those songs that DJs would play near the top of the hour and just fade out whenever it was time to cut to the news.
But I mostly blame my sister and the video game Guitar Hero. My sister is a quiet, petite woman who drinks wine and doesn't put up with good ol' boy behavior. But one Thanksgiving I saw her go beserk playing "Jessica" on Guitar Hero (it was better than watching football), and the song has never been far from the front of my mind since.
One more thing: "Jessica" makes me tap my foot and tap it hard, but it doesn't have much effect on the rest of my body. Bowie's "Sound and Vision" makes me jerk my head around, but it's not a foot favorite. Is there something about the tempo or beat to explain this? Or is it because songs written by potheads are feet-friendly while those written by cokeheads are better for tempting whiplash? I'll have to start looking for a pattern.