For 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.
In 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 Stone, George 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!)