Posts Tagged ‘General Hospital’

“Me” Personifies Ricky Martin’s Compassionate Life

I grew up listening to country music in Kentucky in the 1970s and switched over to pop, new wave, and dance music in the 1980s.  While I recall hearing about Menudo, I didn’t know much about the Puerto Rican boy band.

Ricky Martin File Photos

I also grew up watching NBC soap operas, especially “Days of Our Lives” and I recall, in the 1980s, how obsessed people at Murray State University were with “General Hospital” on ABC.

Since I wasn’t a fan of Menudo and I didn’t watch “General Hospital” in the mid-1990s when the character Miguel Morez, a bartender and singer, was on there, I missed my first two chances to fall under the spell of Ricky Martin.

Miquel Ricky

That’s okay because when he hit the Grammy Awards stage in February 1999, I took notice, along with the other 187 million people around the world that might not have known Ricky Martin.

Ricky Martin Grammy Performance

Even though “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and the follow-up songs, the hot videos, and the non-stop touring would propel him to super stardom, I really didn’t get to know and really admire Ricky Martin until I recently read his autobiography, “Me”.

ricky-martin-me

The book came out in late 2010,  the same year that he admitted to the world on his website, in March, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

I won’t give away all of the details of “Me” because I highly recommend you reading it.  But, for someone sitting on top of the world and that could have anything they wanted, I’ll say that I was most impressed with Ricky’s down-to-earth attitude and his commitment to making the world a better place for those that he loves and for the people he’ll never meet.

Enrique Martín Morales was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Christmas Eve in 1971.  While his parents divorced when he was young, he remained very close to both of them.

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As a child, he would sing into wooden spoons in kitchen along with popular rock groups Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Led Zepplin.  Even then, he knew he wanted to entertain.  Thanks to the encouragement of his parents, he got into television commercials and it became profitable.

He had multiple auditions to join Menudo, one of the most successful bands in the history of music.  Interesting enough, it wasn’t his lack of talent or his age that kept him from joining the band, it was because he was too short!

menudo

Ricky became a member of Menudo in 1984 and stayed with them until 1989.  Touring the world as a pre-teen and a teenager was grueling, but it taught him the importance of working hard and being committed to his craft.

As a 17-year-old, in the summer of 1989, he left Menudo and headed back to Puerto Rico.  On his 18th birthday, he finished school and then made one of the biggest decisions of his young life less than two weeks later.

He moved to New York City in January 1990 and enjoyed living life out of the spotlight and even considered giving up show business.  While in the “Big Apple”, Ricky visited friends in Mexico City and was drawn back into the entertainment business.

Ricky Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock)

He did theater work that led to a soap opera role that was made into a movie that won him the Mexican equivalent of the Oscar.  That led to a successful tour of the music inspired by the movie, which was about six boys in a band.

This renewed his love for music.  He signed on to Sony Music and released his first two Spanish albums in 1991 and 1993.  Together, those albums sold 1.2 million copies and produced six hits on the Billboard Latin chart with three of them reaching the Top Ten.

As excited as Ricky was to be sing again, he realized he should have checked that music contract out better because he got “robbed” — earning only about a penny from each album sold!

He continued to sing and tour and then moved to Los Angeles to act.  Before landing at “General Hospital” in 1994, he was on a short-lived series called “Getting By”.

A medio vivir

Outside of the United States, Ricky hit it big with the release of his third album, “A Medio Vivir” in late 1995.  Ricky’s book states the album went on to sell more than seven million copies world-wide and it produced one of the biggest hits of his career around the world, “Maria”.

Ricky writes that when a record executive first heard the song, he said, “Are you crazy?  You have ruined your career!  I can’t believe you are showing me this.  You’re finished — this is going to be your last album.”  It goes to show what some record company people know!

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As Ricky’s star continued to rise, so did the scrutiny about his private life.  He was hot, young, Latin, and single.  But, Ricky would not talk about his private life to reporters and so they’d speculate and start rumors.

You didn’t have to get too far into “Me” , (page 5), to learn about the real Ricky Martin, the man he kept hidden from the world because of fear.  Ricky writes that he wanted to “end the secret” and “I accept my homosexuality and celebrate the gift that life has given me.”

One of the things that I admire most about Ricky is that he said the book was about his life and his coming to terms and honestly admitting to the world who he was.  In the book, he’s a perfect gentleman.    While he talked about his affairs and falling in love with both women and men, he didn’t name names!

While he admitted these things in 2010, throughout his career in the 1980s and the 1990s, he didn’t talk about his private life.

Vuelve

In 1998, he released his fourth album, “Vuelve” early in the year and it sold more than seven million copies around the world and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.  Also, he recorded and performed “Copa de La Vida (The Cup of Life)” for the 1998 World Cup.

He would add English lyrics to that song and perform it on the Grammy Awards in February 1999 and the superstar, who had already conquered the Latin world with his music, became a household name in America.

Ricky Martin 1999

That led to his first English album. “Ricky Martin” in 1999 that sold 22 million copies worldwide.  Even in the U.S., it sold an incredible 660,000 copies in its first week out.

The first single, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” topped the charts in America and all over the world.

At more than eight million copies sold, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is one of the best-selling singles of all time!

Ricky was on the cover of “Time” and “People” and was named “Artist of the Year” by “Entertainment Weekly”.  He continued to tour to promote “Ricky Martin” while recording the follow-up album, “Sound Loaded”, and was being pulled in a million directions.

At the 1999 performance at the Grammy Awards, Ricky met Madonna.

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When they were recording “Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón)” for the “Ricky Martin” album, she gave him some good advice, “Ricky, stop doing interviews.  Everybody knows who you are.”  However, he continued saying “yes” to everything that his people and the record company asked.

The scrutiny about his private life continued to mount after a March 26, 2000, interview with Barbara Walters before the Oscars, in which she was relentless in her questioning him about whether he was gay.

Ricky Barbara Walters

In 2010, Barbara told the “The Toronto Star”, “In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” Walters said. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”

The gossip about his personal life and the pressure of a tour of more than 100 dates forced him to lose control.  He finally took Madonna’s advice and put himself and his emotional state first.

While in Australia in late October 2000, he cancelled his next concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was only the second cancellation of his career — the other was because of illness.

Ricky-Martin-closeup

In “Me”, Ricky talks about how he met, by chance, a Puerto Rican, who was living in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1998, that would become a spiritual adviser to him.  That man prompted Ricky to go to India.  He went back to India, to Calcutta, in late 2000, and that trip opened his eyes to world of human child trafficking — selling children, as young as four-years-old, into the sex trade business.

Ricky Martin Foundation

Ricky has always been a  humanitarian and in 2002, he started the Ricky Martin Foundation, and two years later, added “People for Children”, to raise awareness about the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children around the world.

Child Trafficking

Ricky was instrumental in the relief efforts and the rebuilding of Thailand after the December 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed about one-quarter of a million people.  And, he was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after a January 2010 earthquake that killed around 159,000 people.

ricky martin haiti

In the book, Ricky never boasted about Haiti or Thailand, about raising awareness of child trafficking, or his organization just to say, “look at what I’ve done”.  You can definitely tell he is a great person and humanitarian.

If you’d like to know more about The Ricky Martin Foundation, here’s the link to the website:  http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org/en/

Exclusive - Ricky Martin Spends Time With His Partner And Children

Ricky spent the last part of “Me” talking about his beautiful twins boys, Matteo and Valentino, who were born in August 2008, to a surrogate mother.  It was heart-warming to hear how he kept the pregnancy a secret to keep the media away from the boy’s mother during the pregnancy.

And, he just gushes when he talks about how he wants the boys to be free to live their life without fear and with compassion to everyone they meet.

That song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You”, was released in late 2010 and reached #1 on the Billboard Latin chart.

ricky-martin-headshot

Ricky Martin is undeniably hot.  And, once you read “Me”, you’ll know he’s the kind of person any person would be lucky to call a “friend” and someone who any man would be lucky to call “husband”.

After reading “Me”, I know Ricky Martin much better and I wish him and the boys the very best in life.

Anthony

 

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The Ups & Downs of Rick Springfield’s “Rock Star” Lifestyle

“Jessie is a friend/Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of mine/but lately something’s changed/it ain’t hard to define/Jessie’s got himself a girl/and I want to make her mine.”

We know the song by heart.  And, after reading Rick Springfield’s memoir, “Late, Late At Night”, one of the main things I came away with is that he wants you to know that while “Jessie’s Girl” changed his life, he had many other big hits after that signature song from 1982.

Late, Late At Night

His 336-page memoir was released in 2010 and made it all the way up to #13 on The New York Times best seller list and I just got around to reading it.  But, not everyone loved the book.

Here’s the headline from the review in “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW Rick

While that may be a little harsh, to the uninitiated or the prudish, there might be a little truth to it.

I won’t give away all of the juicy details from the book because it’s definitely worth reading.  However, you’ll want to go into it with an open mind.

If you’re a Rick Springfield fan, you know he’s Australian.  While I’ve always wanted to visit “Down Under”, after seeing “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” and reading this book, I would definitely only visit the larger cities and not the outback!

Just hearing Rick talk about all of the poisonous creatures and plants in nature and the sharks, no thanks.

Rick and his family traveled and moved around a lot in his childhood and not just in Australia.  They also moved to England and then back to their home country.

As a child, Rick was awkward with girls and obsessed over losing his virginity.  He also lacked self-confidence and that was a factor that led to his life long struggles with his “Darkness” — depression.

It also led to a suicide attempt when he was 17.  His love for music and pursing it helped bring him past that failed attempt.

Rick joined several band before making it big in the early 1980s.  One of those bands was called Zoot and, early on, pink was their signature color!

Zoot 1

After leaving the band around 1970, it wasn’t too long before he scored his first solo hit, “Speak To The Sky”.  It reached #14 in the U.S. in 1972 after already reaching the Top Ten in Australia and Canada the year before.  But, long-term success wasn’t meant to be this time around.  It would take Rick another ten years for “Jessie’s Girl” to propel him to super stardom.

This was rough on Springfield, who had joined a cover band to make ends meet.  He also pursued his acting career and got many small roles, but his biggest television success came in 1981 on ABC’s “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake.

noahdrake

From his tour of Vietnam in a band as a teenager in the late-1960s through the 1970s and early-1980s, Rick lived up to the “rock star” image of backstage hook-ups and he hides nothing in the book about his numerous sexual conquests — some days he scored with multiple partners.

In early 1981, the album that would propel him to the stratosphere, “Working Class Dog”,  was released and featured his adorable bull terrier, Lethal Ronnie, on the cover.

Working Class Dog

It would sell more than a million copies and earn Rick his first #1 hit and Grammy Award (Best Rock Male Performance) with “Jessie’s Girl”.

“I’ve Done Everything For You” also hit the Top Ten (#8) and “Love Is Alright Tonight” peaked at #20.  It’s still one of my favorite Rick songs.

While making that album, he met a receptionist, Barbara Porter, at the recording studio and she would become his wife in October 1984.

This year, the couple, who are the parents of two sons, Liam and Joshua Springthorpe (Rick’s real last name), will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Rick Family

Before this turns into a greatest hits compilation of my favorite Rick Springfield videos, I want to talk more about the book.

There is a similarity in “Late, Late At Night” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Lips Unsealed” that I read and blogged about earlier this year.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

In that book, Belinda wrote extensively about her drug use and it got to the point where it seemed that she was glorifying the abuse.  However, it sounded that way because she was being brutally honest about using drugs and the repeated setbacks she encountered en route to becoming clean.

While Rick admits in the book to using drugs and abusing alcohol, it was his addiction to sex and infidelity that prompts the reader (and I’m speaking of me right now) to think, “are you really even trying to be faithful?”

Reading the book, I wondered why Barbara put up with his cheating for all of those years.  While I thought that, I never really passed enough judgement to call Rick a “pig” or Barbara “weak” because I’m not in their shoes.

In our past relationships, many of us have been with an unfaithful partner.  Or, we may have been the unfaithful one.

Rick Springfield

While reading the book and thinking of their relationship and the unfaithful incidents, Rick addresses that point-blank on page 277 when he states, “I’d also like to address those perfect souls who are reading this and saying to themselves, ‘Why is this masochistic woman putting up with this asshole?’  I’m happy that your life is so unruptured  that you can make such a distant judgement call , so I’ll address the humans in the audience.”

That personifies who Rick is and says a lot about the tone of the book.

He’s honest, crazy, and funny.  His style of writing made me smile and shake my head many times throughout the book even as he talked about heavy topics like infidelity, depression, love, and whatever else crossed his mind.

I’m glad that he and Barbara are still together and there for each other through everything life has dealt them and I’m glad Rick is still making music and touring.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert last year in the Quad Cities and it was an incredible show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My sister and two cousins saw him in concert back in his musical heyday in the 1980s, but I bet they weren’t this close to him! 🙂

In his career, Rick charted 17 Top 40 songs (all but “Speak To The Sky” were from 1981-1986).

Of those hits, five reached the Top Ten:  the aforementioned “Jessie’s Girl (1981) and “I’ve Done Everything For You” (1981), “Don’t Talk To Strangers” (1982), “Affair of The Heart” (1983), and “Love Somebody” (1984).

That song, “Love Somebody” is from his 1985 motion picture debut, “Hard To Hold”.  From just reading the book, it sounds like he’d like to forget it!  I bought the DVD after I saw him in concert, but I still haven’t watched it.  Maybe I’ll do it this weekend!

Living In Oz 1983 Rick Springfield

As I stated in my blog last year after my first Rick Springfield concert, the “Living In Oz” album cover is still my favorite Rick Springfield picture over the past three decades and trust me, I had many to choose from!

And, since Rick was so honest in the book about drugs, alcohol, depression, infidelity, sex, his penis, and cute guys hitting on him (I’m sure there were ugly ones, too, but I can see why he wouldn’t pontificate too much on that), I admit that I had a super crush on him and after reading the book, I wish that I had been one of those guys back in the 1980s. 🙂

Rick Springfield 6

We all have our faults and Rick laid his out in “Late, Late At Night”.  There is no doubt, whatsoever, how much he loves his wife, Barbara, his two sons, his mother and his late father.

And, it warmed my heart when Rick talked about how much he loves dogs.  From Elvis, his first dog in Australia, to the many that have come and gone afterwards, you have to love a man who thinks the world of his dogs.  “Ronnie” was featured on the covers of his platinum albums, “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”.

Rick+Springfield+-+Success+Hasn't+Spoiled+Me+Yet+-+LP+RECORD-527412

Rick, thank you for sharing your private thoughts about your life in “Late, Late At Night” and most of all, thank you for music over the past 40 years.

While it only reached #21, here’s my favorite Rick Springfield song, “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

And, here’s Rick live from the Quad Cities in 2013 with his signature song, “Jessie’s Girl”.

Rock on, Rick!

His new novel, “Magnificent Vibration” comes out in early May.

If you’re a Rick Springfield fan, here’s my blog from last May after his concert in the Quad Cities:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/i-got-to-celebrate-youth-with-rick-springfield/

Anthony