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Rickie Lee Jones hit it big with her debut album in 1979. The following year she won the Grammy for Best New Artist, and over the course of the next four decades, she released numerous albums that pulled inspiration from jazz, rock, electronic music, and even musical-theater.

In late April, Rickie released her latest album, Pieces Of Treasure, where she sings songs from the American songbook with a jazz slant. Producer Russ Titelman, who produced Rickie’s first two albums, reunited with her on her latest and helped inspire Rickie to find comfort in a lower register. The result is an oftentimes sultry meditation on aging and survival.

On today’s episode Bruce Headlam talks to Rickie Lee Jones about her decades-long fight to sing jazz even though she is often viewed as an outsider. She also tells stories about leaving home as a young teenager, and the abuse she endured while trying to survive on her own. And she plays songs from her career including one she wrote after seeing John Lennon appear in a dream. And just a note before we get started – this episode contains descriptions of sexual abuse, and might not be appropriate for all listeners.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Rickie Lee Jones songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…