My First Celebrity Crush Has Died

David Cassidy CherishFor me, long before Richard Armitage, there was David Cassidy, who died yesterday at age 67. When I was a preteen/young teen, there was nothing so beautiful to me as the face and voice of David Cassidy. He had those pretty-boy looks and slim body that are so appealing to a young girl. And to top it all off, he could sing! When he sang, “I Think I Love You”, I could imagine he was singing right to me! Posters of David Cassidy (and a few others) decorated my walls, and I could sing along with both of his first two albums, Cherish and Rock Me Baby.

Cassidy came to instant and huge fame in the ’70’s show, The Partridge Family, about a musical touring family headed up by his real-life step-mother, Shirley Jones of The Music Man fame. His musical talent came naturally from his parents, singer/actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward. Unfortunately, so it seems did some of the troubles he had later in life, including alcoholism and the early stages of dementia. But back in the early ’70’s, David Cassidy was a TV star during the week, and a recording artist selling out stadiums on the weekends. And he continued to sing and act for the rest of his life.

David Cassidy Rock Me BabyIn those days long before the internet, we relied on that most unreliable source, teen fan magazines, for our information! 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat were eagerly awaited for the latest “news” on David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Donnie Osmond, and other teen heartthrobs.  If you’ve never looked closely at one of those magazines, check out some of some of Cassidy’s covers at the David Cassidy Fan Site.

I read some interesting reminiscences today by Ann Moses, an editor at Tiger Beat when Cassidy was one of the designated “number one faves” for the magazine. She describes his openness and eagerness at the start of his fame, and how the super-stardom began to take its toll on him. The teen fans were fed a constant diet of sweet “facts” about this wholesome-looking young man. They definitely could not be told that his dog’s real name was Hashish, corresponding with Cassidy’s enjoyment of recreational drug use in his downtime!

Cassidy famously tried to assert his adult and real side by posing nude for Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. As described here, “the fallout from the issue was…  ‘seismic’, with sponsors backing out of deals and ‘the network suits [going] ballistic.'” From what I’ve read in various articles, Cassidy was really frustrated at being a bubble-gum pop star with a clean-cut image, when what he really would have loved was to be a serious actor and/or rock musician. In later years though, it seems that he reconciled himself with his early fame and appreciated that it brought him into contact with musicians like John Lennon and Brian Wilson, spending a night singing some songs with Lennon and starting to write a song with Wilson. According to Rolling StoneGeorge Michael credited Cassidy with being one of his chief influences and collaborated with him on Cassidy’s single, “The Last Kiss”.

I look back on my “relationship” with David Cassidy with real fondness and can probably trace my ongoing fangirling tendencies directly back to him! As I say goodbye to David Cassidy, here is one of my favourite David Cassidy songs. (Dig those crazy boots!)

7 thoughts on “My First Celebrity Crush Has Died

  1. this was a really nice post and an interesting summary for me. although I watched ‘the partridge family’ in reruns and even have some David Cassidy 45 records that my aunt gave to me as a child, he was before my time and so I didn’t know much about him. ‘Cherish’ and ‘I think I love you’ were always favorites of mine (Cherish was the soundtrack for many a daydream about various crushes for me in my younger years).

    Tiger Beat and 16 magazine ❤

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    • Thank you. I had a lot of faves that I discovered through my older sisters, too. It’s funny.. I’m finding all kinds of stuff on the internet that I didn’t know. Like all the TV work he did. Or that he starred in “Joseph and the Technicoloured Dreamcoat.” I found this really nice soft version he recorded of “Bali Ha’i” (the song from”South Pacific”):

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  2. I was more of the Sean Cassidy generation (3 in 1972) but I definitely still remember him (from reruns).

    My cousin’s husband was telling me this weekend that the advertising of David Cassidy in Tiger Beat — which include contests to win a date with him — when he was a bit older than the teenager he was being sold as on TV — were roughly contemporary with Roy Moore trying to “date” 14 year olds. I don’t think it’s the same thing, but it definitely was a different age with a different marketing model.

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    • I would agree that that’s not the same thing. The fan mag marketing was playing on preteen/teen girls’ romantic fantasies about the 20-year-old Cassidy (in 1970) – giddy fun to sell records. It was not about a man’s desire for young girls. And actually, they’ve still done the “win a date” thing in recent years with Justin Bieber (he was around 18) and Harry Styles (then around 20). Nowadays, though, it doesn’t take long before the squeaky-clean image can’t hold up to internet and paparazzi scrutiny and the innocent fantasy can’t be marketed anymore.

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      • I think the similarity lies (then and now) in implying that it was appropriate for someone in his early twenties to be willing to feel any kind of romantic attraction for a twelve year old.

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        • Well, yes, although implication and not reality (generally). But in any case, it maybe puts a potentially unsafe idea that that would be okay into twelve year olds’ heads.

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          • I was just reading something by a (formerly) abused woman that pointed out that everything in our culture suggests this kind of “relationship” is appropriate — and Tiger Beat contributed to that. No, it’s not pedophilia, but something more insidious and thus potentially not recognizable quickly.

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