About His Daughter

How can you tell if an instrumental is a love song?  To me the meaning of the song comes through the lyrics, but I guess that any beautiful music which makes your heart happy, can be considered to be a love song.  I guess the song ‘(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story’ the theme from the movie Love Story which appeared in the film as an instrumental, would have to be considered a love song, but it was written with lyrics, which were rejected.  The Paul Mauriat song ‘Love Is Blue’ is an instrumental which went to #1 in the US in 1968, but this song also has lyrics.  I am going to go with the Allman Brothers instrumental song ‘Jessica’ which was released on their 1973 Brothers And Sisters album and made it to #65 on the US charts.

Jessica is the name of Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts’ daughter.  He was working on this song when she crawled into the room and inspired him.  Jessica Betts was born May 14, 1972 and she was one year old when her dad wrote the song.  Betts had Jessica with Sandy Bluesky, who also inspired the famous Allman Brothers song ‘Blue Sky’, which he wrote for her.  The couple were married in 1973.  Baby Jessica bounced along to the song’s rhythm, and Betts attempted to capture her attitude with its melody.  He invited fellow guitarist Les Dudek over to collaborate on it, and Dudek performed the bridge.  Guitarist Dickey Betts wrote the majority of this song at the band’s farm, a 432-acre group hangout in Juliette, Georgia.

In the mid-1970s, ‘Jessica; became even more familiar to radio listeners in London, England as a theme on Capital Radio’s album rock show Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It, and then won a huge audience as the theme for BBC Television’s Top Gear British car motoring series.  It’s also been featured in numerous movies, TV shows like The Simpsons episode “Little Big Girl” and My Name Is Earl episode “Randy in Charge”, and during the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode “The Thing That Couldn’t Die”.  The song was featured in the movie Field of Dreams and at the end of the 1994 movie Lassie.  There was later glory, too, for a live recording of ‘Jessica’ that was included on the album An Evening With The Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set, which was released in 1995.  The following year, that version won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  A 2006 Wall Street Journal article deemed it “a true national heirloom”.

Dickey Betts wrote this instrumental piece as a tribute to Django Reinhardt, as it only uses two fingers in the guitar part.  Reinhardt was a famous jazz guitarist who could only use two fingers in his playing as a result of a childhood injury.  ‘Jessica’ was the first Allman Brothers song recorded with new bassist Lamar Williams after the fatal motorcycle accident of Berry Oakley.

Written for Bee’s Love Is In Da Blog 22 where today we are asked to find a Love Song without words.

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