Every year my piano endevours are focused around my top-30 project, but there’s always a distraction. Most are related to the minor inconveniences of work, sleep and children, but other piano projects often get in the way. A few years back it was my need to shove pop songs into Christmas classics. Other distractions were Teen Beach Movie, Teen Beach Movie II, and the classic Dennis the Menace cartoon theme. It is moot to ask the question of why. I do not have a good answer. As I write this I have recorded 28 of the necessary 30 songs for my yearly project for 2015, but Rick Springfield has gotten in the way.
Apple Music makes it easy to pick music to play while cooking dinner. I see what’s in the “For You” section and pick an appropriate album or playlist, often letting it run on repeat as I cook and clean for hours. On the evening of April 29th, Apple Music recommended that I listen to Rick Springfield’s album “Mission Magic!” from 1973. At the time my knowledge of Rick’s career was limited to Jesse’s Girl which I knew to be from the 1980s, but I was surprised to see something from a decade prior. Those details alone peeked my interest and the album ran on repeat throughout the evening’s chores.
The album was fun, which is the best review I could give it. It immediately reminded me of something from The Partridge Family, which was fitting since on further research I learned that this album is a collection of songs featured on the kid’s cartoon show of the same name that ran from 1973 – 1975. I have no idea its level of obscurity. So far no one I know has heard of it, but I don’t know a lot of people who were kids in the early 70s. It’s a generation between my parents and mine. The album itself is one of the only albums in Rick’s discography on Wikipedia without its own page, which tells me the interest in the album today is quite limited.
That night I spent a few hours playing along to the album. I do not believe my wife and kids shared my new-found affinity to that album but for an evening I was smitten by a teenybopper for whom I was too young to know in his prime, and far too old to proclaim my attraction for today. For an evening we had a moment. I knew I had to record some of the songs and picked my favorite 7 songs from the album. It has no competition on YouTube, which also means it has no audience. It’s the best-of selection of piano covers from the best-of album of songs sung by a Cartoon Rick Springfield in the early 70s. Here is the recording:
But the Rick Springfield distraction didn’t end. I then learned that Rick had an album that just came out in February of 2016, just a few months ago! It was the cooking and cleaning soundtrack a few nights later, and of course, I played along with the album for an evening. It had elements of modern pop-country, but for some reason less nausiating. It often sounded like 3rd Eye Blind or Foo Fighters, or modern Christian rock (Matt Redman came to mind). While shorter, here’s that recording:
While I’m a new Rick Springfield fan, I’m one that is supplemental to what I imagine the typical fan to be. Rick has been making music for over 40 years, though I’m only familiar with his newest album, and a collection of bubble-gum pop songs he made in his early 20s. I know Jesse’s Girl, but can’t name a single other song from his prime. I also now understand he’s been on General Hospital too.
He’s currently touring but not coming to Boston. He’s coming relatively close (to Rhode Island), but unless he only plays songs from Mission Magic and the new album, I’m not going to make the drive.