Single Stories: Jane’s Addiction, “Jane Says”
30 years ago today, Jane’s Addiction released their first full-length studio album, NOTHING’S SHOCKING. While Billboard did an outstanding job of detailing the origins and making of the LP in a new oral history of the album, we thought we’d take a more specific look at the background of one of the album’s most famous songs.
Penned by Perry Farrell and Eric Avert, “Jane Says” borrows the first name of Farrell’s former housemate, Jane Bainter, who has been described in the past – most notably in the Wikipedia entry for this very song – as being “the muse, inspiration, and the namesake of the band.” (No, we don’t just have to take Wikipedia’s word for it: the remark was originally found in Jake Brown’s book Jane’s Addiction: In the Studio.) The song made its debut on Jane’s Addiction’s self-titled debut album, which was released in 1987, and it sounds decidedly different in that particular incarnation, partly thanks to Farrell singing it in a lower voice than in other versions, but also because it features bongos rather than the steel drums which are heard on the NOTHING’S SHOCKING version.
Although “Mountain Song” and “Ocean Size” earned Jane’s Addiction a certain amount of airplay when they were released as sings, it was “Jane Says” that provided the band with their first major alternative radio success, with the song climbing to #6 on the Billboard Alternative chart. Thanks to the buzz that continued to build around the band, their next album, RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL, became a major hit, with both “Stop!” and “Been Caught Stealing” topping the aforementioned Alternative chart.
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