Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram - "Just Once"

Just Once - The Dude

(Debuted August 15, 1981, Peaked #17, 22 Weeks on the Chart)

This week (and all through this year), I'll make a mention of the film The Last American Virgin. While the film may have started off as little more than a standard 1980s comedy where high school buddies are devising ways of getting laid, at some point in the movie a real story broke out that made it a classic (at least, in my opinion). At the very end of the movie, the "good guy" basically gets his heart ripped out by the girl he was crazy about. As he heads off, he's crying; it isn't your standard "happily ever after" ending. Instead, it gives the movie a realism that makes it truly memorable.

And the song that was playing at the time of the not-quite-storybook ending was "Just Once." That alone places it in the pantheon of awesome 1980s movie music, but it really needs to be pointed out that the song itself is great without the visual help. Not only is it a great example of the music that Quincy Jones can come up with, but it boasts a powerful vocal from James Ingram that is just as heatbreaking as the end of the movie. That can't be said about all of the end-credit themes of the decade.

On its own, "Just Once" is a plea from a man for his on-again/off-again squeeze to try and break through the differences between them. While the relationship seems to be beset by a constant series of obstacles, this guy is certain that it can somehow work out. All he needs is just one more chance to prove it, even after all the other chances fell apart. For that reason, it was a perfect ending for The Last American Virgin; though the ending was about as subtle as a kick in the gut, you can be sure he'll still keep a light on for her in his heart despite what happened. Guys are really funny that way.

By the way...while James Ingram had some huge hits in the 1980s, but every one of them was in conjunction with another atrist (or, in the case of "We Are the World," a group of artists).


  1. Last American Virgin was a classic film with lots of great 80's songs. Just Once is epic.

  2. I've not heard this song since 1981. I'd totally forgotten about it but it still sounds great hearing it again after all these years.