Jessi Colter’s “I’m Not Lisa” has truly put her on the map. The legendary No. 1 hit became Colter’s commercial breakthrough as a solo artist; simultaneously, it was a major crossover pop hit, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, the song ranked as the 40th most popular song on Billboard’s Year-End chart for 1975.
But not only that, “I’m Not Lisa” reached No. 16 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart released on Colter’s debut Capitol album; I’m Jessi Colter. The song then earned Colter Grammy award nominations in the categories of Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song and another nomination in Country Music Association Awards.
The Song That Launched Jessi Colter’s Career
Written by Jessi Colter herself, “I’m Not Lisa” describes the pain that comes with dating a man who has not gotten over a former flame. The previous lover was named Lisa, and she was taken away by “His hand,” which suggests that she died. In particular, the song is about the man’s present lover named Julie, who grieves that he can’t get over Lisa.
“I’m not Lisa. My name is Julie. Lisa left you years ago. My eyes are not blue. But mine won’t leave you ’til the sunlight has touched your face. She was your morning light. Her smile told of no night. Your love for her grew with each rising sun. And then one winter day, His hand led hers away,” the song goes.
In addition to singing the song’s original version, Colter also played the song’s piano accompaniment on the recording’s keyboards.
Another interesting fact about the song “I’m Not Lisa” is that Ken Mansfield and Colter’s husband, Waylon Jennings, produced it. Both men would also produce Colter’s album in 1975 and her further releases for Capitol records.
Jessi Colter – now 77 years old – has graced country music with her incredible talent. Her career spanning to nearly five decades started with her debut album A Country Star is Born, but it was absolutely Colter’s second album that truly launched her career.
She experienced further success in 1976 when she appeared on the compilation album Wanted! The Outlaws with Tompall Glaser, Willie Nelson, and Jennings. The album was the first country music record ever of being certified platinum, promptly establishing Colter as a country icon.
Tune in below for Jessi Colter’s unforgettable performance of “I’m Not Lisa.”