I *heart* Rick Springfield

05 June 2006 · 9 comments

Tiffany is the best sister-in-law ever.

When she met us for dinner last night, she slipped a CD across the table to me. “What’s this?” I asked. The label read 80s Hits Stripped.

“I think you’ll like it,” she said. “It’s eighties songs done acoustic by the original artists.”

I do like it. Or most of it. We listened to it in the car on the way home. The first two songs didn’t impress me, but Men at Work (“Down Under”) and Asia (“Heat of the Moment”) were pretty good. And when Rick Springfield started strumming “Jessie’s Girl”, I squealed like a little girl.

I kid you not.

I took my hands off the steering wheel, squeezed them into fists, closed my eyes, and jiggled, squealing the whole time. I loved Rick Springfield (a.k.a. Richard Lewis Springthorpe) as a teenager. I am completely in earnest when I declare that he’s the most under-rated recording artist of the 1980s. His concert was the best I’ve ever seen.

Here, for your edification, until I am forced to remove it (please do not link directly to this file from your own web page), is a clip of Springfield’s acoustic “Jessie’s Girl”:

Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl (acoustic)

My favorite Springfield album was always Tao (five stars at Amazon, and containing songs like “Celebrate Youth”, “State of the Heart”, “Written in Rock”, and “My Father’s Chair”), but you might be more interested in his hits Working class Dog (with “Jessie’s Girl”, “I’ve Done Everything For You”, and “Love is Alright Tonight”), Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me yet (with “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “I Get Excited”, and “What Kind of Fool Am I”), or Living in Oz (which gets five stars at Amazon and includes “Human Touch”, “Affair of the Heart”, and “Souls”).

Of course, there are always greatest hits collections:

While researching this entry, I discovered the Springfield is still making music. The Day After Yesterday, released in 2005, is an album of covers. Rick Springfield says, “[These] have been favorites of mine for a long time. They are songs I wish I’d written.” Tracks include I’m Not In Love (10cc), Under The Milky Way (The Church), Life In A Northern Town (Dream Academy), Broken Wings (Mister Mister), Human (Human League), Holding On To Yesterday (Ambrosia), Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty), Waiting For A Girl Like You (Foreigner), Let’s Go Out Tonight (Blue Nile), For No One (Beatles), Miss You Nights (Westlife), Blue Rose (Lizz Wright), Cry (Rick Springfield) and Imagine (John Lennon).

Rick Springfield covering The Blue Nile? I’m so there!

For more about my never-ending nostalgia for eighties music, check out:

Tune in next time when I’ll rave about Styx.

1 GreyDuck June 5, 2006 at 11:46

I have a confession to make. I’m a healthy heterosexual American man with intact mental faculties, and I like Rick Springfield. “Tao” and “Living In Oz” are great collections of pop music, and in fact “Tao” is one of my all-time favorite albums. Bear in mind that I have some odd “all-time favorites”, such as Roger Waters’ “Radio K.A.O.S.” and Toy Matinee’s lone self-titled work.

I’ll have to hunt down that covers album, as several of those tracks seem like interesting selections. (Under The Milky Way? Hmmm.)

2 alan June 5, 2006 at 12:44

This is disappointing. And Styx, oy? I’m much more excited about this: http://bibbly-o-tek.com/category/albums/white-bread-black-beer/

3 Michael Rawdon June 5, 2006 at 13:45

Have I mentioned before that I hate 80s music? :-D

I was a teenager in the 80s, so you’d think I’d love 80s music, be filled with nostalgia for it, etc. Actually other than the comic books, I mostly have no nostalgia for the 80s at all. Musically, while watching MTV through high school I always had the sense that 80s music was some loudy prank being pulled on my generation: Dance music, synth-pop, drum machines, “alternative” rock, industrial rock… I always felt we deserved better than The Human League and Madonna and Depeche Mode.

Eventually I discovered the music of the 60s and early 70s, and realized that there was better out there, and that 80s music was just a sort of the evolution of the worst of 70s music – disco and punk, which are both banal art forms at different ends of the music spectrum (all this IMO, of course).

Most of the music from the 80s I regard fondly is basically warmed-over 70s music. Pete Townshend’s solo albums, for instance. Good stuff, but not great stuff.

There are a few genuine 80s artists I like, but they are pretty fringe-y: Men Without Hats, The Box, Marillion, IQ, Howard Jones (first two albums only). The one artist I can find in my iTunes library who is to my mind an unambiguously great, mainstream 80s artist is Bruce Hornsby. Although his star faded quickly in the 90s when he moved away from doing pop music.

As you might guess, I can’t stand U2. (Almost) all their music sounds the same to me. Although I like them a little better than REM, since Michael Stipe’s vocals render their music almost unlistenable to me.

Anyway.

I look forward to your raving about Styx, who I count among my guilty pleasures. But I made the leap from Styx to The Who and Yes pretty quickly and kind of left them behind.

4 Nikchick June 5, 2006 at 19:43

Ah, Rick Springfield. His was the first concert I went to, and I was crazy about him back in the day. So much so that when Greg Hoffart looked me up a couple of years ago, he brought me a gift: a Rick Springfield CD.

My guilty admission: I listened to it, remembered all the words, and still liked most of the songs. :)

I have a large catalog of 80s music on my Must Avoid list, but I do still have my fond memories.

5 Maysa June 6, 2006 at 02:42

I am a music lover and can listen to songs of any type and any time. Be it 60’s,70’s or 80’s.
Looking forward for rave about Styx!!

6 tim June 6, 2006 at 06:43

Okay, I do cling to a good deal of 80s music myself, so I certainly can’t dump on that habit. I (too) still enjoy Asia from time-to-time, along with all those other art house rock bands (Yes, GTR, ELP, et al).

But Rick Springfield? Seriously?

Sure, I’ll admit that my younger sisters were all about Springfield, and part of my hatred thereof undoubtedly comes from some sort of hold-over sibling rivalry thing; but honestly, it’s just way too pop-y for me.

And even though I’ve never seen one of his concerts, I’m fairly certain he would never de-thrown The Man In Black’s shows.

7 Lynn June 6, 2006 at 08:46

Whenever someone says to me “the point is mute” I cite Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl as an example of properly saying “the point is moot.”

Styx is the best! Can’t wait to hear that rave.

8 Andrew Parker June 6, 2006 at 21:34

Come quickly, John: Rick Springfield is playing the Marin County Fair!

Just when you thought the poor guy had washed out. Huh.

9 Lisa Cloward June 11, 2006 at 22:00

I loved Rick Springfield back then and I love the man even more now. I have been to several of his concerts in the past few years and was able to meet him back in March. Attended the sound check before the show. He spent about 5 minutes with each of the 20 or so of us that were there. Very sweet, honest, funny, down to earth and I loved every minute of it! Seeing him in concert again the end of the summer. Looking forward to it. This guy puts on such a high energy show, interacting with the audience and singing old as well as new songs. What can I say, the guy is just, well, almost perfect!!

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