Alyson’s Archive #4 – David Cassidy, The Partridge Family and “I Think I Love You”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there lived a handsome prince called David. All the young ladies of the land collected pictures of the prince and adorned their walls with them. 

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The humble author’s teenage collection of David Cassidy pin-ups

Many of you will have heard that one of the 1970’s biggest teen idols died earlier this week at the age of 67. Not a massive shock this time as it had been announced earlier this year that he was suffering from dementia and then last weekend, from multiple organ failure – A transplant was not deemed possible so the life-support machines were switched off on Tuesday at noon. Still sad news however for those of us of a certain age who remember him at his shiniest best.

Of course when I heard the news I had to refer to my box of teenage memorabilia and in the folder of pin-ups and posters from the early ’70s, it turned out that most were of David Cassidy. There were also a fair few of those Osmond Brothers, The Jackson 5, David Essex, Bjorn Borg, Marty Kristian from the New Seekers and Ben Murphy of Alias Smith and Jones fame, but no, by far the biggest number were of Mr Cassidy as he was omnipresent within the pages of teen mags from 1970 to 1974.

I have written about David Cassidy in this blog before (link here) as my first three posts ended up being about artists called David – Bowie, Davy Jones of the Monkees and David Cassidy. Sadly, not one of that triumvirate of Davids is still with us, which is a sobering thought. This revisitation of the artists of my youth is a constant reminder that we are all journeying along that conveyer belt of life apace, and with this latest departure it does give us another “mortality reality check”.

I was just at the right age for David Cassidy to come into my life – As a pre-teen I had watched him play the character Keith Partridge in the kid’s musical sit-com The Partridge Family and then as I reached my teenage years he had become the world’s biggest pop idol, selling out concerts in every corner of the globe. But was it his music we adored or was it the idol himself? As I mentioned last time he appeared on these pages, his song Could It Be Forever was the first one that made me cry, and I didn’t even know why! The teenage hormones were starting to kick in and we girls lose our sanity a bit when it comes to our idols, behaving in a totally irrational and frenzied manner. We buy all the magazines with their pictures and create scrapbooks/fanzines. We cover our bedroom walls with their posters and even iron picture transfers onto our pillowcases. Of course we also dream of them being our fantasy boyfriends, without really understanding what having a real boyfriend would mean.

I have another few things in the archive folder that refer to David Cassidy and think they are worth sharing here as a lasting reminder of just how big he was in the early ’70s. These wordy pages are often to be found on the back of the aforementioned pin-ups but are proving to be the most interesting when looking back – A little bit of pop history. (By the way in case anyone thinks it’s a bit weird that I still have all this stuff – No, I don’t sit around of an evening dressed in flares and platform shoes pouring over pictures of my teen idols, it’s just that if you’ve ever had to clear out your parents’ loft so they can downsize, you end up finding all this childhood ephemera and are somewhat loathe to get rid of it just in case you ever start writing a music blog!)

Poor David’s time in the sun was short-lived as seems to be the case with most teen idols – As soon as your fan base comes of age and finds love with real-life boys, the career is over. Some manage to reinvent themselves but sadly David didn’t really ever manage to negotiate that cross-over success although he did record a new album in the mid ’80s and continued to tour until earlier this year.

But I can’t leave it there. Many of us who were fans back in the early ’70s probably didn’t give David and his Partridge Family pals much thought in the intervening years, but when the Richard Curtis film Four Weddings and a Funeral was released in 1994 there was a great scene where slightly awkward, upper-class Englishman Charles (played by Hugh Grant) attempted to declare his love for Carrie (played by Andie MacDowell). After much procrastination he finally got round to uttering those most difficult of words, “I think I love you” but of course they were attributed first to David Cassidy, when he was still with The Partridge Family – Très amusant and because of that scene (at 0:30) it has become my favourite Cassidy song.

I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family:

So, “What’s It All About?” – Poor old David Cassidy had a bit of a difficult life after his early ’70s heyday as a teen idol but that seems to be the norm for anyone who has experienced that level of idolatry. I can confirm however that having his picture on my bedroom wall back then was a real joy, and as I drifted off to sleep at night I probably whispered those five little words, “I think I love you”.

Until next time…. RIP David

I Think I Love You Lyrics
(Song by Tony Romeo)

I was sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream
Like all at once I wake up from something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed screaming out the words I dread
I think I love you (I think I love you)

This morning I woke up with this feeling
I didn’t know how to deal with and so I just decided to myself
I’d
hide it to myself and never talk about it
And did not go and shout it when you walked into the room
I think I love you (I think I love you)

I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I’m afraid that I’m not sure of a love there is no cure for

I think I love you isn’t that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way

I don’t know what I’m up against
I don’t know what it’s all about
I got so much to think about

Hey, I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I’m afraid that I’m not sure of a love there is no cure for

I think I love you isn’t that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say I never felt this way

Believe me you really don’t have to worry
I only wanna make you happy and if you say “hey go away” I will
But I think better still I’d better stay around and love you
Do you think I have a case let me ask you to your face
Do you think you love me?

I think I love you
I think I love you…

Postscript:

I now realise I was remiss in not sharing any video footage of David Cassidy in today’s post – Here he is as Keith Partridge singing Walking In The Rain, the Phil Spector song that was first a hit for The Ronettes in 1964. This song has actually featured in the blog before (link here) when I wrote about radio, and the chart-run down shows of my early teenage years. Shirley Jones who played his mother in The Partridge Family television series was actually his step-mother in real life and has also appeared on these pages before (link here) when I wrote about the song You’ll Never Walk Alone. As I often say, we keep going in circles around here. Oh and more thing, the eagle-eyed amongst you might just spot a young Jodie Foster in the front row of the audience in this clip as she played the daughter of Shirley Jones love interest in this episode!

Radio, Chart Shows and The Music of 1973

Last time I wrote about Jackie Magazine and although it ran for 30 years, its heyday was definitely the early 1970s. Its sales figures would make any newspaper boss of today green with envy. Although full of great features on fashion and make-up, a problem page, a Dear Doctor column and “dreamy” love stories, for many of us the main attraction was lots of behind the scenes gossip on the everyday lives of our favourite pop stars. This remember, was an era long before the advent of the internet and one of only three TV channels so information was very limited indeed.

For me at that time, the highlight of the week was Thursday night’s Top Of The Pops but we also had BBC Radio One whose stars were DJs like Tony Blackburn, Noel Edmonds and Kid Jenson and if we were really lucky a crackly, late-night signal from Radio Luxembourg giving us the voice of Tony Prince or Emperor (please) Rosko. So, we heard all the music but were desperate to find out more about the artists and that is where Jackie Magazine was happy to oblige. I remember there once being a free flexi-disc with the voice of a very bored-sounding David Cassidy recording a message for his fans in the UK. I found it recently after buying my new turntable and after playing it, now realise that the strain of being a pop idol in 1973 was definitely telling on him by this time.

But back to the music. As well as Jackie magazine, Radio One and Radio Luxembourg we had Sunday night’s Top 20 Chart Show (only an hour so had to really rattle through) which culminated in finding out who had either made it to the No. 1 spot or who had held on to it. If like me you were a fervent pop music fan, you decanted to your room at 5.55pm with your cassette recorder at the ready. The key was to press record/play, at just the right time to avoid any annoying voice-over, but also not to miss out on any of the song. Although I had a little tranny (short for transistor radio of course) at the time, my parents had moved their old GEC “wireless” (lots of wires actually) to my room after updating their own sound system and although very old-fashioned to look at, it had a great sound quality. The front of this monster of a device had words like Hilversum (where the Philips radio factory was based), Hamburg, Light, Scottish, but the only thing that mattered was that I knew how to tune into the station which would give me the new chart (and funnily enough it wasn’t 247 on MW, it was indeed on LW which really helped with the quality of my recordings).

Another embarrassing admission is that not only did I record my favourite songs on C90 Philips cassette tapes (such a furore nowadays about illegal downloading but we were all party to criminal activity on a vast scale in those days) but I also listed and carefully dated the new chart in a notebook. My best friend at school was similarly afflicted and we both went on to study accountancy in later life so something about that kind of mind-set obviously.

So, after a lot of preambling, here comes a Top 10 chart listing from the week I became a teenager in June 1973 and when my anorak tendencies were obviously at their height. An eclectic mix indeed.

Tum…, tum…, tum…, tum……, tum, tum, tum…, tum, tum, tum…, (surely you remember the music).

At No. 10 – Walking In The Rain by The Partridge Family. (A David Cassidy vehicle essentially but a song originally recorded by The Ronettes – excuse his very girly blouse!)

At No. 9 – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn. (That ribbon still in circulation today.)

At No. 8 – Hell Raiser by Sweet. (The beautiful Brian Connelly with his long blond hair and half-brother of Taggart as it turned out – Somehow he manages to look both macho but also not dissimilar to Tammy Wynette.)

At No. 7 – You Are The Sunshine Of My Life by Stevie Wonder. (A slightly more svelte Stevie in those days but still a wonderful song.)

At No. 6 – Albatross (1973) by Fleetwood Mac. (Re-issued. Why?)

At No. 5 – Rubber Bullets by 10cc. (Excellent band and about the only one from this list whose material has stood the test of time. Followed this up with other big hits like I’m Mandy Fly Me and I’m Not In Love.)

At No. 4 – And I Love You So by Perry Como. (One for the Mums and Dads.)

At No. 3 – One And One Is One by Medicine Head. (Had forgotten all about them – Not quite a one-hit wonder but their only record of note.)

At No. 2 – Can The Can by Suzi Quatro. (The Amercian rock chick.)

And finally at No. 1 – See My Baby Jive by Wizzard. (With the unforgettable Roy Wood ex of The Move whose “Flowers In The Rain” was of course the first song ever to be played on Radio One.)

Before I move on, yet another reference to my old friend Joe Strummer (his name keeps popping up in this blog) – Despite the fact that young teenagers like myself adored Radio 1 in the 1970s, the older, wiser Joe came out in protest at what had happened to radio at this time – The “establishment” he felt, had in effect outlawed the pirate stations but then didn’t cater for the market they had created. He stated, “There is no music station for young people any more, only for housewives and trendies in Islington”. My older self can now see that this was the case but at the time I was just a teenage girl, so what did I know. The Clash famously refused to appear on TOTP but had to suffer the ignominy of having Legs and Co perform one of their very literal dance routines to Bankrobber. Watch it and weep!

See My Baby Jive Lyrics
(Song by Roy Wood)

Look out! look out! your Momma will shout
You might as well go home
She said my bed get’s into your hair
So give me back my comb
But you
You make things that get along
Turn out so wrong
Doo ron, doo ron
You’d better rock on
The band might play our song

See my baby jive
See my baby jive
She hangs onto me and she really goes
Whoa (whoa) whoa
See my baby jive
Such a lazy jive
Well every one you meet coming down the street
Just to see my baby jive

That tenor horn is turning me on
He’s dropped down to his knees
Oh boy that sax is calling me back
This dog ain’t got no fleas
But you
You dance all the guys up town
Into the ground
Doo ron, doo ron
You gotta rock on
Your Daddy ain’t coming home

See my baby jive
See my baby jive
She hangs on to me and she really goes
Whoa (whoa) whoa
See my baby jive
Such a lazy jive
Well every one you meet coming down the street
Just to see my baby jive

Too bad,So long,it’s driving me mad
The top down on my car
I don’t suppose that everyone knows
Exactly who you are
But you
You make things that get along
Turn out so wrong
Doo ron, doo ron
You gotta rock on
The band might play our song

The Partridge Family, David Cassidy and “Could It Be Forever?”

Thinking yesterday about my first crush (Davy Jones) inevitably led me to think of my second big crush, David Cassidy. Thankfully this David is still alive and well although now 65 which would have made him around 21 when he first came into my life in the early ’70s. He starred in The Partridge Family which was shown midweek in the kid’s TV slot just before the early evening news.

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It was inevitable because of his amazing good looks and great singing voice that he would become a teen idol. There had been chart hits already with The Partridge Family but in April 1972 David had his first solo hit as himself, and not as Keith Partridge. Could It Be Forever was the perfect vehicle to cement David’s place as one of the two biggest “pop stars” of the day (the other being Donny Osmond but we’ll leave him for another time).

Looking back at the dates now, I realise that this song must have been around during the last few weeks spent at my Scottish primary school. It is also the first song that made me cry – I still remember those tears welling up as I listened to it being played on the radio. Young girls are highly emotional beings and at around 12, just when the hormones are kicking in, we have to leave the familiar surroundings and friendships of our junior school and enter the serious, scary world of secondary school. We end up losing our sanity a bit when it comes to our pop idols and behave in a totally irrational and frenzied manner. We buy all the magazines that have their pictures and create scrapbooks and fanzines. We cover our bedroom walls with their posters. We even iron picture transfers onto our pillowcases. (Yes guilty of all the above.) Of course we dream of them being our fantasy boyfriends, without really understanding what having a real boyfriend would mean.

The really frenzied behaviour however happens if we are ever lucky enough to see them in concert, or in the flesh, and whenever David came to Britain there were hordes of girls at the airport to greet him. It always amazes me when we see old footage of these scenes, that young girls simply headed off to Heathrow en masse unsupervised. We have become a nation who heavily supervises its young people until they are practically at the stage of leaving home – Wasn’t so in the early ’70s obviously. Also, the girls are practically on the tarmac and hanging off every balcony/rooftop vantage point. Compare that to the massive security operation nowadays of getting people shoeless, belt-less and scissor-less through to their plane of choice.

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As with most teen idols, David’s time in the sun didn’t last and it was practically all over by 1974. He had become disillusioned with it all by then anyway and who could blame him. It can be a curse to be that good-looking as you are going to have a stratospheric rise to fame but then lose all control of your life in the process. Unless you are incredibly grounded, realistic and well-managed you will find it very hard to cope with life when it’s over. He also suffered the double-whammy of having a fan die in the crush at one of his concerts which he never quite got over. He did attempt a bit of a comeback in the ’80s but it was short-lived. Young girls are very fickle and grow up fast – Once they’ve moved on to “real boys” the career is over.

As for me I will enjoy listening once more to the first song that really made me weep. His second solo single How Can I Be Sure didn’t just make me weep but sob. Yes the hormones and move to “big school” were really kicking in by then. Thank goodness for DC Thomson of Dundee who could be relied upon weekly, to provide plenty of reasonably priced centrefold posters of our idol in Jackie magazine. Hope this David lives a long and healthy life.

Could It Be Forever Lyrics
(Song by Wes Farrell/Danny Janssen)

Could it be forever or is my mind just rambling on
Well I touched you once and I kissed you once
And I feel like you’re mine
Well I feel like you’re mine and I see in your face
I’m not wrong to have these feelings
Well I feel like you’re mine and I’ve never known a time before
That’s had so many meanings

Could it be forever or is my mind just wasting time
Well I don’t think so because you let me know
You make me feel like you’re mine
Well I feel like you’re mine and I can’t remember
When the feelings have been stronger
And all I know is I can’t let go of you
Or be with you just a little while longer

All my feelings come together
All of me is here
Never known when I felt better
Cause I know this won’t disappear

But could it be forever
Or is my mind just rambling on
Maybe it is, if it is
Then I’ll be moving on

Well, I feel like you’re mine
And I see in your face
I’m not wrong to have these feelings
Well, I feel like you’re mine
I’ve never known a time before
That’s had so many meanings