In 1992, Mary Chapin Carpenter released her fourth album, Come On, Come On, following up Shooting Straight in the Dark, which spawned the Cajun-infused Number Two single, “Down at the Twist and Shout.” None of the singles from Come On, Come On surpassed that position and Carpenter wouldn’t have her first Number One until 1994’s “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” but Come On, Come On was responsible for a staggering run of seven Top Twenty singles, over a period of 23 months. Two of the hits, “Passionate Kisses” and “The Bug” were covers of songs originally written and recorded, respectively, by Lucinda Williams and Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, while Carpenter co-wrote the other five (four of them with “The Gambler” writer Don Schlitz).
One of the co-writes with Schlitz was a playful tune that serves as the perfect antidote to sufferers of friggatriskaidekaphobia, the rather unwieldy term for those who fear Friday the 13th. “I Feel Lucky” finds Carpenter (a Pisces) checking her horoscope, buying a lottery ticket in hopes of snagging the $11 million jackpot (which translates to more than $18 million in 2016), and getting hit on by Dwight Yoakam and Lyle Lovett at the same time.
For the song’s wild music video, the singer is driven into the desert by her longtime pal, Shawn Colvin (who sang with her on three cuts from her previous LP). Also along for the ride are songwriter Jim Lauderdale and Carpenter’s entire band, who entertain an unsuspecting couple with a raucous performance of the song that would help propel Come On, Come On to sales of more than four million copies and also earn two Grammys.
After a decade of including Lovett and Yoakam in her romantic fantasy, Carpenter toyed with a few other famous names in their place, telling a 2001 concert audience, “They just aren’t doing it for me anymore.” Among the top contenders to take their place at the time were actors George Clooney and John Cusack.
In 2013, when Carpenter and Colvin mounted a joint tour, “I Feel Lucky” was among the songs they performed together. In the above clip, from April of that year, Carpenter plays acoustic guitar as Colvin provides harmonies on the tune, with the former joking about the lack of the familiar piano solo from the original.
Carpenter’s 14th LP, The Things That We Are Made Of, produced by Dave Cobb, was released May 6th.