Like any number of kids around my age, I watched The Partridge Family on TV for some period of time in the early 70s (and likely caught reruns in syndication later). While the eight-year-old in me thinks the most memorable characters were Rueben Kincaid and Danny Partridge, the show was a star-maker for the guy who played Keith Partridge.
I certainly didn’t idolize David Cassidy in his heyday, nor did I particularly follow his fits and starts over the ensuing decades. In reading about him last night and today, I see the chafing over the image created for him and the short- and long-term toll that substance abuse took. He wanted his own musical (rock?) career, but it seems odd to me that the path he chose toward that included covers of easy-listening hits like “Cherish” and “How Can I Be Sure” (great as the originals are). I remember “Lyin’ To Myself” from 90; even though I only heard it a few times, it’s a pretty solid number. But I wonder if that mini-comeback came about in large part because of Donny Osmond’s success the previous year with “Soldier of Love.”
I concede that the Partridge Family was mostly a vehicle for great session musicians to do their thing behind David’s vocals (while not a strong voice, it’s a lot better than that of other 70s teen idols, including his half-brother Shaun, Leif Garrett, and—shudder—John Travolta). But there is some great bubblegum stuff here. “I Think I Love You” is legit awesome, totally deserving to be a #1 hit. I like “I Woke Up in Love This Morning” quite a bit; my favorite, though, is “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted,” perhaps due to its presence on side 1 of a certain K-Tel album.
When Martha and I were cleaning out the basement of her parents’ house five years ago, we came across a few PF albums—she and her sister had been among Cassidy’s legion of fans. One of the LPs was At Home with Their Greatest Hits, which was also in my house back in the day (making it one of the very few points of intersection in Martha’s and my respective album collections). My suspicion is that Dad bought it because Amy and I regularly watched the show. I know I played it some in the first years we had it, but there aren’t many songs outside of their four biggest hits whose titles stir any memories. The exception is “Echo Valley 2-6809”—I guess I was a numbers guy even back then? It’s the outro that I really remember—a repeated recitation of the song title followed by, “I shoulda called that number”—although it sounds different when I listen to it today from what I thought I heard forty-plus years ago. (Edited to add: I meant to mention that in looking things up today that I discovered Rupert Holmes co-wrote “Echo Valley.”)
I’m certainly sorry for the demons that he couldn’t conquer. I hope that ultimately he was able to appreciate his contributions to some really enjoyable tunes. RIP, Mr. Cassidy.
I know I won’t be the only one to post about him in the next few days; I’ll include links to others as I come across them.
–Here’s Len from 45 Ruminations Per Megabyte.