I was 11 or 12 the first time I heard “Jessie’s Girl” on the radio. Back then, there weren’t a lot of options in my little town as far as radio stations went, so I listened to the same station every day, usually while I hung out in my room, reading comics or making mix cassettes. The year was 1981 and I spent most of my summer riding my bike, playing basketball or hanging out with my friends. There wasn’t a lot else to do out on old Route 60, so I spent many hours in front of that radio, hoping to hear my favorite songs and one of those songs was definitely “Jessie’s Girl.” I eventually bought the album, “Working Class Dog,” when the second single dropped. Rick Springfield was on a roll that summer, with his newfound teeniebopper fame and his role on a network soap opera. “Working Class Dog” went platinum and everyone knew who Springfield was. Well…except those who got him confused with Bruce Springsteen. But that aside, Springfield was considered one of the top artists of that year and even won a Grammy Best Rock Vocal Performance.
From there, Springfield blew up and was all over the place. He followed up “Dog” with “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” which included several big hits including “Don’t Talk To Strangers” & “Calling All Girls.” Needless to say, I wore that album out also that following summer also. And then when he released “Living In Oz” in 1983, which included “Human Touch” and “Affair Of The Heart,” he had pretty much burned up my radio 3 summer’s of my life in a row. Obviously I listened to other artists and I bought albums from other bands but still…3 years of my life I was spending some quality time rockin’ out to with Rick Springfield. His songs were on at the pool, at the mall, on my car radio. He was everywhere! Then he made a movie in 1984 that was a critical disappointment (even though it included one of my favorite all-time pop songs, “Love Somebody”), had another couple albums that didn’t do as well and then he was gone. But I still I loved throwing on some classic Springfield tracks and his songs continually made my many mix CDs through the years.
Cut to 2013. That’s almost 30 years later. Springfield reappeared in 2009 on one of my favorite Showtime series, “Californication,” playing a version of himself that was simply hysterical! Musically though, nothing he had done since the early 80’s had really connected with me until he released his album “Venus In Overdrive” in 2008. “Time Stand Still,” one of the tracks on the album, is and will always be one of my favorite songs EVER now that I have kids and have reached my 40’s. It connects with me in a way that only a really good pop song can and I couldn’t help but include it in my favorites of that year. In October of last year, Springfield released his best album (in my opinion) since “Living In Oz.” “Songs For The End Of The World” is a little darker lyrically than most of his albums but he makes a case for his style of music with amazing guitar hooks and some of his best lyrics to date. He may be getting older, but Springfield still knows a great hook when he hears it. His appearance in Dave Grohl’s documentary, “Sound City,” sealed the deal for me. Springfield is back in a BIG way! Not only is the dude reconnecting with his fans in a way that no other artist is (he used his fans as a chorus for one of the tracks on his album called “I Hate Myself”), but he understands his place in the history of rock and is reveling in it. He also recorded a track with Grohl that appears in the film that will definitely be one of my favorites this year called “The Man That Never Was” that rocks pretty hard and is just AWESOME! I hope that this resurgence keeps him in the spotlight for a while and I am totally looking forward to whatever he does next. The guy is a class act and a great spokesman for my favorite generation! Here are some tracks from his latest album and a review of his latest album by a critic from Tampa that does the album justice. You should check it out!
Here is a home video that I have edited using “Time Stand Still.” I put it together for my wife for Mother’s Day and it is the perfect song for what I wanted to express as my kids grow up and I grow older…