The image above of David and I almost didn’t happen. It was taken back in 1990 at a meet-n-greet in Toronto. If you look closely, you’ll notice his “handler” behind my head motioning with his finger to say “last one”. I came “this” close to never meeting my idol. A night I’ll never forget.
My heart is broken today, as my childhood idol (teen heartthrob), David Cassidy has passed away at the age of 67. He might be a little perturbed at me referring to him as a “heartthrob,” as his greatest desire was to be taken seriously as a Singer/Songwriter.
Every week, I’d lie on my belly, hands resting on cheeks, dreamy-eyed while watching him play “Keith Partridge,” eldest brother on “The Partridge Family”. I had all The Partridge Family albums, and his pin-ups were all over my bedroom wall. In fact, as I’d played the first record (“Partridge Family, Sound Magazine”) so much, it developed a scratch.
My dad drove me over to BELL Records distribution plant on Birchmount Road, in Scarborough (on a Saturday, no less) to find another copy. Needless to say, that was futile. He had a voice that could melt butter, and of course that hair, those eyes…and that smile!!
He was my first concert experience at about eight years old, where he’d performed at The CNE Grandstand, here in Toronto. I was so embarrassed when all my mom could say about him, was that he “shook his bum a lot!”
“Cherish,” was his first solo recording, which went to No.15 on the US record charts, and No.2 on the UK charts. To put his success into perspective, in an article written back in the 1970s, rollingstone.com stated that: “Madison Square Garden was filled, five balconies full an hour before the matinee with 20,650 excited females – the same girls who more than 20 years ago would have wept for Sinatra and 10 years ago, for Elvis.”
As with most teen idols, fame was a double-edged sword for David Cassidy. He had all the success, fame and money, but what he’d wanted more, was to be taken seriously as a musician. In an interview he’d done on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” back in the 1990s, he’d referred to himself playing Keith Partridge as an “airhead,” though his personal musical heroes were really in the vein of Jimi Hendrix and the band Cream.
At the same time, once the teenyboppers grew up, and the screaming stopped, he’d talked about staying in his room for nine months, not knowing what to do. He really did have to reinvent himself. He was nominated for an Emmy as “outstanding lead actor,” for his one time appearance in the television drama “Police Story.”
He’d also written songs for Cher and the 1990’s super-group “Asia,” as well as having George Michael sing back-up on “The Last Kiss,” co-written by David himself. He was very simply put, a talented man who never really accepted how he’d risen to fame.
He had many demons, as he’d battled with alcohol addiction, which contributed to his recent failing health. Last year he’d also discovered he was suffering with Dementia (the same illness his mother, actress Evelyn Ward also succumbed to).
Last night, I shed a few tears, sang along to his music and reminisced on how much David Cassidy had meant to me. He brought a lot of joy to millions of people, and his smile will forever be etched in celluloid dreams.
Rest in Peace David, I will always “Cherish” you. (1950-2017)