Chuck E.’s In Love – Rickie Lee Jones | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#4) and Adult Contemporary (#20); 1979

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Yes, there really was a “Chuck E.,” and it was none other than Tom Waits who inspired Rickie Lee Jones to write a song in which their friend had a starring role.

Rickie’s long road to Los Angeles began in Chicago where she was born, looped through Phoenix where she ran away for the first time with a boy in a stolen car, then headed northwest to Olympia with her family.

In 1973 Rickie landed in LA where she led a hand-to-mouth life; waitressing and playing for peanuts. At the famous Troubadour she met a kitchen worker: the soon-to-be famous Chuck E. Weiss.

Through Chuck, Ricky met Tom Waits. One day in late 1977, Tom fielded a phone call from Denver. When Rickie asked him who it was, Tom replied, “Chuck E.’s in love!” Rickie built a song up around Tom’s line, and a hit was born. And whom did Chuck E. love? Rickie says, she heard it was “his cousin.”

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Rickie Lee Jones

Lyrics Written by:

  • Lenny Waronker
  • Russ Titelman