Rock and Redemption – Rick Springfield

I’m fairly sure Rick Springfield ruined my life.

Back in the day, a teen dream.

See, at the grand old age of 7 years old, I swore my undying love to him and only him. I’d watch “Tom and Jerry” cartoons with my babysitter after school and would wait in anticipation for the K-Tel album commercials which would show snippets of their highlighted hits, with very, very brief videos (MTV literally started that summer and videos were just beginning to take off).

Remember K-Tel records and albums?

We would wait to hear those unforgettable chords to “Jessie’s Girl” and swoon over Rick and that picture-perfect teen idol face of his. To me he was the walking definition of tall, dark and handsome. I would literally just stop whatever I was doing to just look at him.(He’s 63 now and still looking fierce. Talk about great genes…)
Springfield dominated the Top 40 charts in the early 1980s, that weird musical period where disco and punk had died in the late 1970s, a new decade had barely started and music was still trying to figure itself out. New Wave had yet to start and the later British invasion with bands like Duran Duran was still a few years off.

The Fab Five had yet to still conquer America

Springfield ended up with a Grammy for best male rock vocal AND he also had a the virtue of being a working actor at the same time as having a #1 hit. His day job? He worked on a popular soap opera, “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake.

On popular soap opera, “General Hospital”

Winning his Grammy

You know when you see someone who seems to have it all and you just assume they’re happy and later on you find out the whole thing was a ruse? You meet someone and they seem to have found the secret formula to happiness, they seem to have it all effortlessly come to them, without the taint of suffering? That people who have everything must be the happiest people on Earth? You would think that by being a popular actor, a teen heart throb, a string of number one hits on the Billboard charts, an adoring fan base of millions, a Grammy, more money than you know what to do with coming in from all directions and finding the love of your life, that someone in that position would be at the top of their game and be happier than anyone else on God’s good Earth, right?
Wrong.
Behind the hits, behind the dreamy face and public facade, Rick was sinking. There was debilitating depression, something he had suffered from his whole life and then exacerbated by the sudden death of his father on the eve of his success. There was the sex addiction, a means to get out of the depression, the incessant cheating on his wife Barbara. There were constant suicidal thoughts. Finally after the birth of his son, Springfield went missing in action from the music business. His musical career completely disappeared and by the time he tried to get back into the industry, public tastes had completely changed.
That put him into an even deeper hole. With sporadic acting gigs, he was pretty much forgotten as some 1980s relic, like the Rubix Cube or the suits Crockett and Tubbs wore on “Miami Vice”.

Remember when this was considered cool?

Rick credits Buddhism and meditation in bringing him back from the edge of the cliff. He went into therapy, he worked on his marriage, he came clean on his numerous infidelities, he deepened his spiritual life. He wrote a book about it about 2 years ago, called “Late, Late at Night”. He went public on everything (and I mean everything, the book is an uncomfortable read in certain parts). The book hit the New York Times best-sellers list.

Buddhism and meditation helped

 These days, there is a documentary about to come out on him called  “An Affair of the Heart: Rick Springfield and his Devoted Fans”. He does the 80s nostalgia tours and he has a returning role as a warped version of himself on that excellent TV show “Californication”. He’s still recording and putting on an average of about 100 shows a year. He’s also been “Glee”ed, with the cast of Glee doing a cover of “Jessie’s Girl” on the show recently. He doesn’t take himself to seriously at all anymore and doesn’t expect his fans to either.
I finally saw him last year when he came through Montreal, his first time. It was a charity show and the tiny theatre was far from sold out. In fact, I’d say only half the seats were sold. Most of the audience members were ladies of a certain age who were clearly reliving their teen memories and crushes.

From my vantage point.

I remember hearing stories about Alice Cooper about when he failed to sell out the Montreal Forum, he sang one song and was so pissed off, left the stage after that in a giant huff. I think Rick could probably teach him a lesson or two on manners.
Rick came out and gave it his all. He could have been playing a stadium, it made no difference. It was an amazing, energetic show. Dude still has it, it’s his love of music and the love of his fans and it shows. A female fan in the front row had her 2 small pre-school kids with her (I’m guessing she couldn’t find a babysitter that night). Rick brought them on stage with him. At one point, he was holding the little girl in his arms and got her singing with him which then led to the entire theatre singing along with them. As I watched him, the only thing that kept coming to me was his incredible warmth and the sense of gratitude he gave off.
Rick had it all and then nearly threw it all away. Maybe the lesson here is that sometimes you nearly have to lose everything before you realize what you really have, that gratitude is a constant state of mind.
And the richest one.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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Categories: Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Rock and redemption, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Rock and Redemption – Rick Springfield

  1. Deb

    WOW, great read. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome Deb! Nice to see some Rick fans!

      • Connie

        great article. he is sooo nice and like you said–doesn’t take things too seriously. A friend of mine and I saw him in Cape Girardeau and happened to stay at the same motel. we left early and happened to see his band leaving so we needed more coffee. he came down carrying his own luggage and stopped to give us a hug. special moment for us but he did it so naturally. that’s how he keeps his fanbase–such a nice man!!!

  2. patricia gurley

    You summed it all up ..sounds just like MY LIFE!! LOL ROCK ON RICK!

  3. I drove all the way from NJ to attend that Montreal show…..and Rick was fabulous, as usual. I love your city and hope DaMan plays there again, so my hubby and I can take another nice little RickTrip to the “Great White North”. Nice blog…..I only have one small correction. Rick’s grammy was for “Best Male Rock Vocal”, not new artist.

  4. This is a GrEaT~~ Love It..Thanks..xo

  5. Loved your blog …. just posted it on http://www.facebook.com/yellowrickroad … we are the filmmakers who produced the new Rick Springfield documentary. Thanks for the mention. : )

  6. Joanne

    I was at that show too. Travelled from Toronto to see it. I was surprised that the theatre seats weren’t sold out. Most of his US shows sell out. He did a show here in Ontario in 2009 just 2 hrs north of Toronto at Casino Rama, and there was about 3000 people there. A fantastic turn out! I thought maybe the Olympia theatre was just a strange venue for the show in Montreal. He still put on a great show though, and I too hope he returns to Ontario or Quebec soon for another one. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Truly.

    • I haven’t had the chance to meet him, but just watching him interact with his fans, it’s so obvious he’s genuine towards them. It’s a rare quality in this day and age.

  7. Karen Sumner

    Thanks for such a great article. I also was “ruined” by Rick years ago. My walls were covered with posters of so many great entertainers, but one wall was completely dedicated to Rick, and ONLY Rick. I had to wait 26 yrs to see him in concert, and it was the best! He is so young at heart, getting out into the audience, letting them sing along with him, calling AppleBees from a fan’s phone…and they hung up on him!! So, he called them back! His personality in his shows makes you feel like you are all just old friends hanging out, listening to great music together! Although I hated waiting 26 yrs to see him, I will never forget that night! He came out into the audience, stood on the chair arms next to me, and hollered out for us to put our hands on him so he didn’t fall! So, after yrs of feeling like he was my confident growing up, I got to lay my hands on him!!!

    • I had an entire wall devoted to Rick as well! More like a temple! He also came into the Montreal audience, walking over chairs, some ladies were squeezing his tush and one woman came up to him to squeeze him and then put a $10 bill into his pocket! Rick took in stride and laughed with everyone.

  8. Cheryleen

    I just saw him in concert last week–awesome show!! I loved Rick in the 80s and I still love him 30 years later!!

  9. This is a wonderful post about an amazing writer and musician. Thank you for a great insight but of course us fans have known this all along.

  10. Sheila

    What a great story. None of it surprising. Rick is amazing. I am so excited that ONE month from today, I will finally get to see him in concert! My love affair continues:)

  11. Thank you for this. RS had a huge impact on my life, too.

  12. Lori Garot

    Rick was my first crush and continues to hold my heart. I have seen him many times in concert, got to meet him briefly after one show, and have all his albums. His music got through many rough times and keeps me feeling good when I am on top of the world. He is a true inspiration, and I only continue to wish the best for him. He continues to Rock- and never disappoints. Thanks Rick!

  13. Good music will do that to you, it has incredible healing power. Rick strikes me as someone with a very big heart, it’s in the right place and he means well. Naturally it comes out in his music and persona.

  14. Loved this. Puts it in a nutshell why I have been an always will be a fan. Thanks for putting it into words for us.

  15. Sandi

    Rick came into my life in 1984,I won concert tickets off the radio. My life has not been the same since. I try to see him once a year since 2000. His shows get better with age. I have had the opertunity to meet him multiple times. He is so down to earth, So happy he came into my life…

  16. THANK YOU RICK!!!!!

  17. Lara Schalburg

    Were probably the same age. I too would swooned over Rick in my young life & kicked myself for being born later. He was bouncing from England to Oz when I was still a wee one. I had childhood illness that prevented me from going to his shows. Again Kicking myself ! I had to admire from a far. I still love him to this day. He and his music got me through my own dark spots. We have that in common. Only my depression is paired with anxiety. If he only knew the impact he had on so many lives. To this day he gets me trough tough spots. Anxiety still haunts me. And when I pop his CD’s in they have calming effects. So Thank you to Rick for touching my life and not even knowing it. He has inspired and made me stronger and helped me ward off the “Big D”.
    Thank you Earth Energy Reader for your post! BTW…I was born on the first “EARTH DAY” 🙂

  18. Pingback: Rock and Redemption – David Bowie | The Shift Has Hit The Fan

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