Posts Tagged ‘Lips Unsealed’

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

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Belinda Carlisle — From The Germs & The Go-Gos To Beating Demons

It’s funny how comparing ages with someone at two different points in your life are so different.

I just finishing “Lips Unsealed” by former Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

This fall, Belinda will turn 56-years-old and I’ll hit the big 5-0!

Back in 1981, I remember dancing around my bedroom to the Go-Go’s first hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, as a 17-year-old beginning my senior year in high school.  At that age, I had no real sense of age and time.  I thought people who were in their 20s were so mature and people who were 30-years-old were over-the-hill and ready for the grave.

I’d watch that video and think that the band was so much fun and so worldly.

What I definitely didn’t know then and I didn’t know until reading “Lips Unsealed” was that Belinda, the self-assured looking young lady in that video that was only six years older than me.  But, she was a scared, insecure singer and performer that didn’t really think she had what it takes to be a real star.  And, that she and the Go-G0s were wasted on drugs and alcohol more often than not.

Go Go' Beauty and the Beat

While helping to usher in “new wave” music in the United States, “Beauty and the Beat”, the Go-Go’s 1981 debut album, spent six weeks at #1 and sold more two million copies here at home.  At the time, it became the most successful debut of all time.

In addition to the #20 hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which reached the Top 5 in Canada and Australia and in 2000 was named one of the greatest pop songs of all time by “Rolling Stone” magazine, the album produced the biggest hit of the Go-Go’s career, the #2 smash, “We Got The Beat”.

It’s so interesting to watch these videos now thirty years later and know from reading Belinda’s book how she and the Go-Go’s partied so hard at night and just went through the motions for some promotional events and concerts.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

When I started reading the book about Belinda’s childhood and her being weight-conscious and being called fat, her parents’ divorce, and her abusive and alcoholic stepfather, I thought about my own struggles with eating disorders and how, no matter how much weight you lost, you still thought you could lose more.

I also thought about the abuse that my father brought upon my mother, my sister, and myself and how he was an okay person on the days he wasn’t drinking.

And, while I’ve never done a recreational drug in my life, as I was reading the book, it took me back to the 1970s when Belinda was deep into the growing Hollywood punk rock scene and I thought about how much fun hanging out in that seedy environment would have been.

Punk Belinda Punks

To hang out the parking lots of the clubs and see the pop, rock, and punk music stars walk by would have been incredible.  With all the people musicians have working for them these days, that could never happen now.

The-Go-Gos

While reading “Lips Unsealed”, at times, I felt she was boasting about how much cocaine and other drugs she did, along with the alcohol.  However, without that honesty, how could one really know how detrimental she was to herself, the band, and those that she cared most about, including her husband, Morgan Mason, that she married in 1986.

Belinda Morgan Mason 1986

After their successful breakthrough with their first album, the Go-Go’s follow-up, “Vacation” in 1982 reached the Top Ten and moved 500,000+ copies.  The title track was the only hit from the album reaching #8.

vacation

Their third album, in 1984, produced two hits that reached #11 and #32 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was time for a change for the band.  Between drugs, alcohol, less success at radio, and infighting, the band called it quits, except for concerts here and there to make money and just to play music.

Belinda was ready to become a solo star.

Belinda Carlisle Belinda

Her first solo album, Belinda, went gold, in 1986 and produced her first hit without the Go-Go’s, “Mad About You”.

While the song reached #3 in the U.S. and #1 in Canada, it would be the only hit from the album.  Belinda did score a Top 30 dance hit with the remake of Freda Payne smash, “Band of Gold”.  I used to play it all the time when I was a disc jockey at the gay bar in Paducah, Kentucky.

Belinda Carlisle Heaven On Earth

Belinda’s solo career would sky-rocket with the release of her second album, “Heaven On Earth” in 1987.

It would produce three Top Ten hits, including the #1 smash, “Heaven Is A Place on Earth”, “I Get Weak”, which peaked at #2, and “Circle In The Sand”, which reached #7.

While she was on top of the world as a solo singer, her personal life was in shambles.  Her drug use and insecurities about her weight, her singing, and her performances were out of control.  She was also hiding her drug and alcohol addiction from her husband, who appeared in her “Mad About You” and “Heaven” videoes.

Good Heavens Tour

That was made easier since he was busy with his movie production career and she was touring.

Belinda’s third album, “Runaway Horses” produced only two modest hits in the U.S. with the biggest, “Leave A Light On”, reaching only #11.

While her career cooled because of the changing music scene in the early 1990s, Belinda was still a drug addict that would not admit that she had a problem.  In 1991, she found out she was pregnant and in April 1992 gave birth to her son, James Duke Mason.

Belinda and family

In a very touching story, Belinda talks about how one of her doctors spread lies about her alleged drug use during her pregnancy and how the trash tabloids picked up on  it.

Sadly, Belinda struggled to be a good mother and a good wife.  She spent the rest of the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s as a drug addict and alcoholic fearing that every talk or intervention with her husband would lead to him saying that was leaving her.

In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.

In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.

That was March 14, 2005.  Nine years later, she is still drug free.

belinda_carlisle

Weeks later, she was ready to give up her other addiction — alcohol.  She bought her favorite wine, Corbiere, and went home and drank it and passed out on April 3, 2005.  She is still on the wagon.

Belinda

In the past nine years of living healthy, Belinda starred in “Hairspray” in London’s East End, released her French album, “Viola”, in 2007, performs occasionally, and is getting ready to release her latest collection of songs, “The Anthology” and “The Collection” later this month.

Last year, Belinda released the incredible song, “Sun”.  She still looks and sounds amazing.

Belinda & SonBelinda Duke

Belinda and her husband, Morgan, call Los Angeles and France home, while her son, Duke, soon to be 22-years-old, is an actor and LGBT activist and he was named as one of the “100 most influential LGBT people in the world” in 2011 for “Out” magazine.

Belinda, Morgan, and Duke, I wish you all happiness and love.  And, my friends, you have to check out Belinda’s memoir, “Lips Unsealed”.

Anthony