The Horses

“In spirit I’m writing about Charlotte [Rickie’s daughter – Ed].”Rickie Lee Jones (380)

Danny’s All-Star Joint

“About the place on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Cahuenga. I used to write in the building above that hamburger joint. It’s called the Hollywood Building. And it was really Phillip Marlowe land up there. I’d go in there and nobody would be there, the lights would be burned out in the hall, and it looked out on an alley. It was thrilling to go to Danny’s because you never knew if you would get out alive. The thrilling feeling in the empty sound of your steps on the stairs and no one else there, and opening the door, and it’s so old and the smells…looking out at the alley.”Rickie Lee Jones (381)


“Tom Waits and I were lovers. He wrote “Rainbow Sleeves” for me. I wrote “I’m still holding on to your rainbow sleeves” as a line in “Pirates”.”Rickie Lee Jones (382)

The Evening Of My Best Day

“Originally it was about a solitary loneliness, which took the shape of a little boy. I was always pro-death penalty, but a series of things have happened that have changed me, and I can’t tell you why, but I now feel such compassion for many people who perpetrate unspeakable acts. I look at them and I think: ‘Once they were little, and they had a Christmas stocking, and wore little pyjamas and drank hot chocolate, just like me.’ As time went by, I knew it was a picture of something much more than that, that it was woven into my sense of isolation as a child, that there was some episode I wanted to forgive, because I could not understand how a person grows up to be a monster. It’s important to remember that it is a picture of the child before it turns into a monster, not a picture of the monster. I’m reminding you of its innocence – I can’t account for anything it does when it grows up. It’s a ‘Portrait of the Monster as a Child’. But then, that’s not what the song ends up about. Because my mother’s stroke, and 9/11, that day which I thought might be the last day of the world – all those things altered how I led my life, and ensured that I would finish my life forthright, courageous, kind, and just keep trying to unfold, unfold, unfold forever.”Rickie Lee Jones (802)

Traces Of The Western Slopes

“‘Traces of the Western Slopes’ was like West Side Story, I was drawing you into a scene. That was my reference, not songwriting – the scene when Riff and Tony are killed under the freeway was the fear of my own life at the time. The other influence was Rimbaud, who I was reading constantly. Steely Dan was a big influence in general: those chords in the chorus are certainly inspired by their dark patterns.”Rickie Lee Jones (804)
“It’s a picture from the top of this mountain, where it’s eternally twilight, death is there. I really thought there were angels near me. I was hearing things, seeing things. It was a very bad, sad time.”Rickie Lee Jones (803)

Ugly Man

“With ‘Ugly Man’, it was a dangerous time. I was driving one day with an anti-Bush sticker in my window, and some guys in a white Jaguar rolled down their windows and started yelling at me. And I thought, “Now is when you’ve gotta really complain and raise your fist, because now is when free speech is really being threatened”. Nobody spoke up in 2002 because it was dangerous: I got death threats on the internet.”Rickie Lee Jones (804)


“‘Haunted’ is more of a feeling. A girl group kind of thing, warning about love. I mean it’s pretty straight ahead. Watch out or love will steal your soul. Be careful. You won’t be able to see the moon anymore, because you’ll be looking in the wrong direction. Ask yourself. The answer is there. Why did I say all the stars will stop shining, then answer it?”Rickie Lee Jones (1051)

 Young Blood

“[What inspired the song “Young Blood”? – Ed]. Burrito King! Back when I was hitchhiking up and down California someone bought me a burrito there. When I was 22, six years later, I was wondering what the people who lived near Burrito King were up to. Mostly Hispanic, an exciting part of town. So I made up these people and had them go out and have some fun.”Rickie Lee Jones (1051)

 Chuck E’s In Love

“Chuckie is a derivative of Charles, so when I met Chuckie Weiss who was Tom Waits’ best friend and Tom Waits was my boyfriend. I’d overheard him say he was in love so I just wrote what I saw. Chuckie’s in love, but for me what made it fun was that I changed it to Chuck E.”Rickie Lee Jones (1319)