I’m sad to hear the news that David Cassidy has left this mortal coil.
It took me a while to get into Cassidy’s music. As a kid, I was a punker, and so I hated all that 70’s cornball shit.
I even found a record by Shaun Cassidy, David’s brother, in my sister’s old record collection and scratched out the eyes and wrote I hate above it, and hung it in my bedroom.
Later, of course, as a record collector I got way into bubblegum music. But I much preferred bands like the Archies and the Ohio Express to the Partridge Family. I mean, the Partridge Family may have been a fictitious band, but the actors were real people, and David Cassidy and Shirley Jones were the band’s real singers. David even sounded like a real man!
It was probably only through my friendship with Don Bolles, who was in a band called the Partridge Family Temple at the time (check it out, they still have an amazing web presence!), that I started to learn how cool those old songs were, songs like “One Night Stand.” I mean this with no irony–this song is a chilling portrayal of life on the road, perhaps even more than Big Star’s take on Loudon Wainwright’s “Motel Blues.”Big Star’s take on Loudon Wainwright’s “Motel Blues.”
Just play this video, close your eyes, don’t think about a multi-colored school bus or Danny Bonaduce’s freckles:
It’s rare you can say this about a sunshine pop song, but this is pure heartbreak! Hear the tragedy in those harmonies, those kettle drums, and that fucking balls-to-the-wall surprise reprise. Goddam.
Wait, sorry, an aside…
I just have to take a break for a second and share how amazing it is that the Partridge Family Temple was on the Jon Stewart Show:
… and here’s them on an amazing Swedish show, albeit with the nudity blurred out:
Where was I? Oh yes, David Cassidy not only sang amazing songs, but he also wrote some songs that were just killer, even though they hardly let him play any on the Partridge Family albums.
But just listen to this rocker he wrote, “Lay It on the Line” (no relation to the song “Lay It on the Line” by the Archies.
This Cassidy composition sounds like the Rolling Stones met the Who at a Sly & the Family Stone recording session!
I mean Jesus God in HEAVEN, listen to that fucking conga rhythm and that electric piano! David Cassidy was the shit!
David Cassidy also did a bitchin’ version of “Please Please Me.”
With that kind of a growly, manly voice, who knows what might have happened had he not gotten quite so famous, in quite such a pop way?
If you scour YouTube, you can find tons of amazing footage of David rockin’ like a motherfucker in live shows from his heyday, usually because he’s got a real band behind him, far from the typical studio orchestra types you’d see behind him on those TV specials.
Later on, his solo stuff kind of went the same way as did the solo stuff of Donny Osmond or even the Monkees, i.e. it got all serious, to try and shake off those teenybopper cobwebs. Needless to say, it didn’t have the same punch as his 70s stuff, and IMHO opinion, he never recovered as a singer of popular music, even if his Broadway stuff was supposedly killer!
But I guess I’ll never see him on Broadway now, because he’s dead. And this blog is basically a long-winded, meandering way of me saying that the world is a little bit weaker without him. Whether as an inspiration for 90s cult bands, or a character on a TV show, he deserves to a proper sendoff. We’ll miss ya, man.