Growing up poor in western Kentucky in the 1970s and 1980s, I didn’t get to go to concerts.
The Purchase District Fairgrounds were located just down the road from our apartment in Mayfield, Kentucky. While my mother got to see her idol, Conway Twitty, in concert (she always told us that he would be our stepfather, but that never happened), I remember hearing Loretta Lynn playing there, but I didn’t get to see her.
When I was a freshman at Murray State University, in the early-1980s, I got to interview the S.O.S. Band. However, my first concert was John Cougar Mellencamp in Carbondale, Illinois, in 1985. Being from a small town and an introvert, at the time, I missed out on seeing many of my favorite artists in concert: Olivia Newton-John, Tanya Tucker, Helen Reddy, ABBA, The Human League, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Corey Hart and Rick Springfield.
Since then, I got to see The Human League “(Don’t You Want Me”) at Market Days in Chicago in the early 2000s and Australian Helen Reddy last week in St. Charles, Illinois.
And, yesterday, I bought tickets to see another Australian, Rick Springfield. He’ll be playing at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, on Friday, May 24, 2013.
Now that I’m in my late-40s, it’s great that I’m getting to see many of the acts that I grew up listening to and that they’re still recording new music. I love hearing all of the hits from the 1970s and 1980s, but it’s fun that there’s new material that I haven’t heard.
63-year-old Springfield released “Songs for the End of the World” in 2012 and he hasn’t slowed down one bit and still rocks.
While he charted with his first hit in 1971 (“Speak To The Sky” peaked at #14), he became a household name a decade later as Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital” (1981-1983) and as a Billboard Hot 100 chart topper for two weeks and Grammy Award winner (Best Male Rock Vocal Performance) for “Jessie’s Girl”.
Springfield would chart with two more hits from his 1981 platinum album (shipment of one million copies) “Working Class Dog”. “I’ve Done Everything For You” (#8) and the under appreciated “Love Is Alright Tonight” (#20).
And, from that video, you’ll probably understand why I was so jealous that my sister, Tammy, got to see Rick in concert in the early-1980s. How beautiful and sexy and you gotta love those ’80s bright colors!
Rick would go on to score four consecutive platinum albums starting with “Working Class Dog”. That one was followed by 1982’s “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”, “Living In Oz” from 1983, and “Hard To Hold” in 1984.
From that second album, “Success”, the lead off single, “Don’t Talk To Strangers” would be the biggest radio hit making it up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The next two songs, “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (#21) and “I Get Excited” (#32) didn’t fare as well on the charts. However, “What Kind of Fool Am I?” is still one of my favorites today.
And, the lyrics, “But the gods or whatever/Make the world go ’round/Shuffled when they should’ve cut” are some of the best ever written!
His 1983 album, “Living In Oz” generated three hits, but only “Affair Of The Heart” (#9) reached the Top Ten.
After scoring one more Top Ten hit, “Love Somebody” (#5 in 1984), the next six Springfield hits would only reached the 20s on the chart. His last Billboard Hot 100 hit to reach the Top 40 was “Rock of Life” in 1988 (#22).
In all, Springfield charted with 17 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of those, five reached the top ten with “Jessie’s Girl” as his only #1 song.
And, if Rick Springfield wasn’t such a good-looking singer, performer, actor, and family man, you have to love a guy that argued with his record label to feature his dog on the cover of two of his albums. Ronnie (“Lethal Ron”), a bull terrier/great dane mix, who died in 1992, graced the cover of “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”. I know that Ronnie and Miss ABBA are having a blast in puppy heaven right now.
I’m looking forward to seeing Rick in concert in May and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to meet him, so he can sign his “Late, Late At Night” autobiography that I have. I’ll have to read before the show.
Rock on, Rick Springfield.