Monday, March 19, 2018

Rick Springfield

Origin: Guildford, New South Wales (Australia)

Rick Springfield
Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield [Tao - 1985] aor melodic rock music blogspot full albums bands lyricsTao - 1985 (with lyrics)


- To the uninitiated, the name Rick Springfield conjures up everything 1980s: Jessie’s Girl, General Hospital , Polo shirts and Converse tennis shoes. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Rick Springfield is much more than the mistakenly categorized “actor turned musician”. A songwriter and guitar player to rival the greats, Rick Springfield is a musician that has stood the test of time and the decades since his surge of fame starting in 1981.

Rick Springfield was born Richard Lewis Springthorpe on August 23, 1949.  He grew up in various locations, spending most of his childhood in Melbourne, Australia.  An army brat (his father was a colonel in the Australian Army), Rick found that he was often the new kid in town.   His teen years landed him in England, just in time for, as he recalls, "girls and music".  Returning back to Australia, Rick eventually dropped out of high school to pursue his music.  His first band, Rock House, landed a gig in Vietnam during the height of the conflict there, and Rick found himself dodging bombs and throwing grenades.  While the band didn't last long, this lead him to the wildly popular Australian teen band, Zoot.  In Zoot, Rick honed his songwriting and performance tactics, so much so that he was plucked out of the group to try his hand at solo music.

By 1971, Rick had top hit in Australia, "Speak to the Sky".  Record companies in the US were courting him.  It left Rick with some difficult personal decisions:  leave his homeland for the unknown of the US?  His father, with whom he credits his passion for music, had recently suffered a debilitating stroke, and needed a great deal of care.  Though Rick hesitated to leave him, Rick finally made the decision to try his luck in Hollywood.

Steve Binder and Robie Porter helped produce Rick's first US album, "Beginnings", which included a re-recorded version of "Speak to the Sky".  Seeming success was quick quick for the newly named Rick Springfield:  "Speak to the Sky" landed in the US Top Ten and "Beginnings" found it's way into the top twenty.  Unfortunately, most of Rick's press was coming from teen magazines, who were selling him right along with David Cassidy and Donny Osmond.  The radio stations suspected foul play:  a teen sensation who had no real following.  They refused to play the song and it quickly dropped off the charts.

Binder and Porter were not deterred by this, though Rick calls this time "a real heavy time."   They signed Rick to a new deal at Columbia Records, and soon Rick released his second stateside album, "Comic Book Heroes".  Recorded in London, this album tried to fight the critics with serious songs such as "The Photograph".  Unfortunately, with most of his publicity again coming from the teen mags, the album was never taken seriously by radio.   Again Rick was left without a record deal.

In 1974, Rick was asked to create music and star in an animated series called "Mission Magic".  Rick was excited about the idea of showcasing his songs on a weekly TV show.  The show aired on ABC's Saturday morning line up.  While Rick still continued to record and write serious music of his own (much of which ended up on the never released "Springfield" LP of 1974), most of the music from Mission Magic was necessarily fluff.  The show was cancelled after the second season.

Personally for Rick, a bright spot during 1974 was his live in relationship with Linda Blair ("The Exorcist").  Rick calls it his first "grown up relationship,"  though at the time Linda Blair was only fifteen.  The relationship lasted a year, and both still recall the time fondly.  "He's someone I'll always love," said Linda in VH-1's Behind the Music.  Rick says that of all his former girlfriends, Linda is the only one he remains friends with.

By 1975, Rick was in  "the worst time of my life," he says.  He had no job and no prospects.  He'd had two record deals that had fallen through.  He had records that released and did poorly, he had records that never had been released.  Despite fan letters that asked to see his mansion in Hollywood, Rick was scraping by on almost nothing.  He felt like a failure.  The depression that had haunted him since fifteen reared it's head again and Rick had thoughts of suicide.

Eventually, he dropped Binder and Porter and decided to strike out on his own.  He began acting classes to support his music career.  "Most guys were out there waiting tables while they waited for acting jobs.  I was acting while I was waiting for a music job."  He recorded his 1976 album, "Wait for Night" during this time.  While the album was strong musically, recorded with Elton John's rhythm section of Nigel Olson and Dee Murray, the Chelsea label it was recorded on folded soon after the album's release.

Rick spent the next few years earning acting paychecks and writing tunes for the next album.  He had a new management team which included Tom Skeeter, and they were determined to land their artist a deal.  In 1980 he recorded "Working Class Dog" on a shoestring budget, recording on off hours when the studio time was cheaper.  It was there that he met his future wife, Barbara Porter.   She was working as a receptionist there at the time, and later people would jokingly ask her if she indeed was "Jessie's Girl."  "She had a lot of energy," recalls drummer Jack White of that time.

Though his managers were negotiating a deal with RCA to release "Working Class Dog,"  Rick auditioned for the soap opera, "General Hospital."  He was used to album deals folding, or records not doing well, and the steady paycheck of the soap was enticing.  He signed to the soap as Dr. Noah Drake in early 1981, and RCA released his album very shortly after.

Almost overnight, Rick's star shone brightly:  his album was being played on the radio, he was recognized from his work on TV, and Rick was suddenly famous.  Rick was ready.  He'd waited for ten years for this moment, and he was excited to see the faces turn when he walked by.  "It was so fast," he recalls, "Just a few weeks."  The soap opera made Rick's face recognizable to millions, the radio made his music so.

"I've heard that sometimes, especially from others who have experienced fame, that when what you want most is given to you, inevitably something else is taken away,"  Rick said on TNN's "Life and Times of Rick Springfield."  Within a few months of fulfilling his dreams of success, Rick's father took a turn for the worse and passed away.  For Rick, it was a cruel blow.  He always felt that his father was his champion, giving him the support he needed to get through the tough times and stick to his goal of being a successful musician.  His father would be right there along with him with every success and failure.  The pain struck Rick deeply, though he didn't have time to indulge in his grief;  with only a three day hiatus from General Hospital to fly to Australia for the funeral, Rick threw himself into making his success last.  Rick can still be seen in interviews today, eighteen years later, getting choked up and shedding tears when his father is brought up.  "It hits me where I live," he has said.  "I still have a lot of pain about it."  The musical thread his father gave him continues to be seen in his music...references to his father can be found on every album he made after his father's death.

Rick recorded his next album, "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet" during his off hours on General Hospital and toured in the same way.  "I have never seen anyone work that hard," recalled drummer Jack White on VH-1's Behind the Music.  While critics still didn't quite trust a rocker with such a pretty face and huge teen following, many were beginning to come around to see Rick's talent as a rocker.  In 1982, Rick was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal.  MTV played his videos in heavy rotation, and Showtime aired a live special, "Live and Kicking."  Rick Springfield was here to stay.

But the hard work was burning Rick's candle at both ends.  By 1983, he was ready to be released from his contract at General Hospital and concentrate on his music.  His release that year, "Living In Oz," heralded a new Rick.  His look was tougher, harder, and so were his songs.  Gone were the pink suits and purple Converse; Rick wore torn leather and armbands to prove his point.  Fans loved it; the album went multi platinum and spawned three top twenty songs.

With more free time on his hands, movies were the next logical step for Rick in terms of his acting.  A true multimedia success story, he jumped in with both feet.  While he was offered many supporting roles such as one in "A Few Good Men", Rick chose one which would showcase him.  More an ego choice than anything, Rick released the movie "Hard to Hold" in which he was the sole star.  "I thought I could make anything work," he said.  Unfortunately, "Hard to Hold," with it's nude scenes and screaming teens, brought Rick's movie career to a screeching halt.  But the soundtrack was solid and it still flew off the shelves.   Rick turned back to his music.

In 1984, after years of dating, Rick and Barbara Porter decided it was time to get married.  They wed in October of that year, after Rick's summer tour was completed.  They were married in his family's church in Australia, and kept the marriage quite low key.  Most fans did not realize until much later that Rick had in fact married.  Keeping with a tradition that continues to this day, Barbara maintained a very low profile and protected the privacy of her new family.  She soon became pregnant with their first son.

During Barbara's pregnancy, Rick released his eighth (counting only released solo albums) album, "Tao".  Full of strife and questions about life, this album heralds a time when Rick moved away from "girl songs" and into questions about "la raison d'etre".  1985 saw Rick tour with this album, touting songs such as "Celebrate Youth" and "State of the Heart".  After the tour ended, Rick returned home for the birth of his first son, Liam, in October.  Most fans remember this as the time they found out about Rick's marriage:  when he announced the birth of his son.

The birth of Liam brought about some huge emotional issues for Rick.  Having lost his father and dealing with fatherhood without him was a difficult time.  He was used to being a rock star, a musician, an actor...he wasn't sure that all that he'd worked for made one bit of a difference in terms of fatherhood.  It was another difficult time for Rick as he entered psychoanalysis to find the source of his depression.

As the six month break he'd planned turned into two years of off time, Rick searched for meaning.  His search is documented in his 1988 release, "Rock of Life".  It tells of the difficulty of marriage, of not being ready to be a father, of finding his reason for living in being a father...heavy, deep, emotional songs.  While most of Rick's fans weren't quite old enough to understand the depth of these songs, they appreciated the raw emotion shared in them.  Rick looked forward to touring to promote the album, but it never happened.  Rick suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident just prior to the start of the tour.  The entire tour had to be cancelled.

For many fans, this is where they all thought the story ended.  Rick dropped out of sight as he recovered from his injuries, staying at home for the birth of his second son, Joshua, in March of 1989.  Rick slowly began to take on acting jobs for TV movies and shows.  This allowed him to stay at home and make family a priority.  Fans often remember the pilot of "Nick Knight" in which Rick played a vampire, or "Human Target" where Rick morphed into different people to solve mysteries.  Several TV movies followed into the early nineties.

Rick toured a brief summer tour in 1993 to test the waters for a comeback.  Touring again was a great rush for Rick as he realized that a great many fans were still out there and waiting for him to stage a comeback.  He began to start writing a new album that would provide just that.  Fans were teased with news of this new album, but it would turn out to be many years in the offing.

In 1994, Rick was offered a role in the syndicated show, "High Tide".   The show centered around two brothers who run a surf shop but endlessly get caught up in solving mysteries that happen all around them.  First shot in New Zealand, then San Diego, and finally in Santa Barbara, the steady show took up much of Rick's time for the three seasons it ran.  A mixture of comedy and detective work, "High Tide" earned favorable reviews and allowed fans to see that Rick was still busy in Hollywood.

When "High Tide" was not renewed in 1997, loyal fans breathed a sigh mixed with sadness and relief.  Finally now Rick was able to concentrate on his new music promised to them years ago.  He teased them with the release of "Sahara Snow" in July of 1997, a collaboration between Bob Marlette, Tim Pierce and Rick.  Excited fans bought up so many copies of the first new music in nine years that online outlets sold out of this import.

In 1998, Rick began to tour, promoting his new album, "Karma", which was supposed to be released later that year.  Though the album was delayed until April of 1999, that didn't matter to the thousands who flocked to see him live.  Stories of fans who traveled by plane great distances began to circulate as the press began to realize that Rick Springfield was back in the game.  The hype around "Karma" was so great that when the Japanese Import was released prior to the US release, fans snatched it up online and created a need for a second pressing.

The Karma Tour surpassed everyone's, including Rick's, expectations, and allowed Rick to play to over 2,000,000 fans from it's beginning in June of 1998 until it's close on New Year's Eve, 2000. The success was so great that it prompted Rick to record and release his latest CD, "The Greatest Hits Alive." Now currently available in stores all over the US, this special disc was released in a special collectible limited release in September of 2000.

But the success of reconnecting with fans and releasing a new live disc weren't enough for Rick Springfield. In December of 2000 he announced that he would take over the lead role in the Vegas spectacular, EFX Alive. The show was retooled to fit Rick's style and now includes two original tunes Rick penned just for the show, "The Rhythm of the Beat" and "Forever". The show, known for it's wonderful special effects, opened on January 30, 2001, the same day "Alive" hit the stores. The reviews of both of Rick's newest projects have been favorable.

Rick spent the next several years starring in the Vegas hit, "EFX Alive" (renamed and retolled just for Rick's rockstar angle in the show). The two and a half year stint living away from his family provided just enough solitude and stress to give Rick material for a new record. The 2004 release "shock/denial/anger/acceptance" chronicles this time period of anger and struggle.  The critically acclaimed disc showed a much harder edge to Springfield. Rough and raw in parts, disarmingly sad and simple in others, "shock/denial/anger/acceptance" is a highly personal romp through Rick's darker side. While the two singles from the record failed to gain Billboard chart status, the ensuing tour brought in thousands of newly minted Rick Springfield fans who gained a deeper admiration for his musical skills.  The tour gained Rick popular recognition from coast to coast as his tour schedule filled with sold out venues.

2005 brought Rick new management, a live DVD recorded for high definition TV, and a new record to promote. "The Day After Yesterday" gave fans a break from Rick's angry, angst filled tunes from the previous record. The record was filled with cover tunes from the Adult Contemporary mold, and was released in July, 2005. While the record did yield lackluster sales, it got the attention of his old friends at General Hospital. Talks ensued, and in December 2005, Rick returned to his old haunts in Port Charles as an older, drunker and more disheveled Dr. Noah Drake.

Rick continues to record and appear on General Hospital, and the "Human Touch Tour" "07" seems an appropriate way to showcase Rick's unique mix of old and new, of energy and appreciation for his past.  The weekend tour that began nine years ago with questions as to whether fans remembered him has turned into full blown hysteria at times, with fans flying from coast to coast to find their next "Rick Fix".

It makes one wonder what Rick's got up his sleeve next. Well into his 50s, Rick just seems to be getting better with age, and certainly more energetic.

"You’ve got to be committed," Springfield says of overcoming life’s obstacles, whether it’s winning back your life or winning over skeptics. "You’ve got to love to do it just on your own, sitting in your own room or in your own studio or playing to 30 people instead of 30,000. You’ve got to get the joy out of doing that, and I do."

"My sole [and soul] point in writing is, first of all, the  process," he continues, "and also to connect with people through what I write. The greatest thrill is when someone comes back to me about a song I’ve written that mirrored an event in their life."

And that simplicity of what Rick does and what he stands for, despite all the complexities of his life, is what keeps his loyal fan base coming back for more, every time.  What goes around truly does come around for Rick Springfield. -


- Although Rick Springfield's music was frequently dismissed as vapid teen idol fare, his best moments have actually withstood the test of time far better than most critics would ever have imagined, emerging as some of the most well-crafted mainstream power pop of the 1980s. A singer-turned soap opera star-turned singer, Springfield was born Richard Springthorpe on August 23, 1949, in Sydney, Australia, to a military man; the family moved around Australia and England a great deal during Rick's childhood, and he sought his escape from the difficulty of making friends in books and music. He formed a band in high school and eventually joined a '50s revival group called Rock House, moving on from there to join the teenybopper band Zoot in 1968. Zoot became one of the most popular groups in Australia until 1971, scoring several hits. Springfield went solo after the breakup and garnered his first U.S. success the following year with a re-recording of his Australian hit "Speak to the Sky"; the song reached number 14 in the U.S., but would prove to be his last major success for quite some time. Subsequent '70s albums stiffed, and record company difficulties prevented Springfield from recording after 1976.

In the meantime, Springfield had begun taking acting classes; he signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1980 and appeared on several television programs. Although Universal dropped him shortly thereafter, he was able to secure a recording contract with RCA on the strength of his demos; in the midst of recording his debut for the label, he was signed to play the young, eligible Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital in 1981. Springfield's popularity skyrocketed, setting the stage for the release of Working Class Dog later that year. Powered by the classic single "Jessie's Girl," which eventually hit the top of the charts, and the Top Ten follow-up "I've Done Everything for You," Working Class Dog was a smash success, and Springfield eventually returned to his first love of music when concerts conflicted with his television career. The follow-up, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet, was released in 1982, spawning the Top Ten smash "Don't Talk to Strangers"; 1983's Living in Oz offered more of the same, including the Top Ten "Affair of the Heart," although it betrayed signs that the gears were beginning to wear down on the Springfield machine.

Springfield made the leap to the big screen in 1984 with Hard to Hold, which was much more successful at the box office than with critics; the soundtrack spawned his last Top Ten hit to date, "Love Somebody." His career seemed to bottom out afterward, although he recorded several more albums over the rest of the '80s, and continued to land television roles into the '90s. In 1999, Springfield returned with a new album, Karma. Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance and Day After Yesterday followed in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In 2007, Springfield released the holiday-themed Christmas with You, along with the Early Sound City Sessions collection. The following year, a live DVD documenting his ultra-popular '80s concerts (Beat of the Live Drum) was issued, as well as an album of all new material, Venus in Overdrive. A year later, he released the children's album My Precious Little One: Lullabies for a New Generation. In 2012, he returned to major labels, signing with Universal's Hip-O for a new album called Songs for the End of the World.

In early 2013, Springfield's profile got a boost when he appeared in Dave Grohl's documentary Sound City, in which Springfield spoke of his experiences recording at the California studio that gave the film its name. Springfield also appeared on the film's companion album, Sound City: Real to Reel, performing the song "The Man That Never Was" with members of Grohl's band the Foo Fighters. Springfield took a look back at his career on an album of songs and stories, 2015's Stripped Down but the record was overshadowed by his acclaimed performances in the second season of True Detective and, especially, his role in Jonathan Demme's Ricki & the Flash, where he held his own with Meryl Streep. Next up was the February 2016 release of Rocket Science, a studio album that featured songwriting collaborations with Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and Tad Kubler of the Hold Steady. -


- Background
Springfield grew up in a military family, and moved as his father, who was in the army, was posted to various military bases throughout Australia and Great Britain. Springfield started playing piano at age 9. He began playing the guitar at age 13, and writing songs at 14.

Musical career
In 1967, Springfield dropped out of high school to begin his professional music career. His first appearance in a band was as a singer/guitarist in the band Rock House. In 1968, the band changed the name to MPD, Ltd, then embarked on a tour of Vietnam to entertain the troops stationed there.

In 1969, when Springfield returned to Australia, he formed a band named Wickedy Wak with MPD bandmates Danny Finley and Paul Shannon, along with a keyboardist who went by the name of Ray Wight. Later that year, he joined the band Zoot. Zoot became one of the most popular Australian groups of the late 1960s. Another notable member of Zoot was Beeb Birtles, who in 1975 went on to form the Little River Band. In May 1971, when Zoot broke up, Springfield began a solo career. He had a #1 hit single in Australia, “Speak to the Sky.”

After his success in Australia, the 22-year-old Springfield relocated to Hollywood, California in 1972. Capitol Records signed him, and he recorded his first album Beginnings. “Speak to the Sky” was re-released as a single in the US, and reached #14 in the Billboard Top 100. Exposure on American Bandstand, as well as being regularly featured in teen fan magazines such as 16 magazine and Tiger Beat, sparked interest amongst teenage girls. In 1973 a Saturday morning cartoon called Mission: Magic! was centered around Springfield and ran for one year, with a soundtrack album also released.

According to the 2005 A&E Documentary Rick Springfield: Behind The Image, radio stations became suspicious of the album “Beginnings” and refused to play it, because of rumors that the record company, Capitol Records, was paying people to purchase it. Capitol denied the rumor, but Springfield was subsequently dropped from the label. However, in 1973 he was signed by Columbia Records, who released his second album Comic Book Heroes (1974). It received very good reviews from Rolling Stone Magazine, but it failed to chart. Springfield was dropped from that label as well, and plans to release an album entitled Springfield were also scrapped.

In 1976, Springfield released a third album Wait for Night under the Chelsea Records label. But while he was out touring to promote the album, the record company went bankrupt. Despite one single, “Take A Hand”, grazing the Top 40, the album still fell off the charts. Throughout the rest of the 1970s, Springfield performed in various clubs on the Sunset Strip and throughout Los Angeles, but was unable to maintain a career at the top of the charts.

After a break of several years to do some acting (see section below), Springfield returned to music in 1981 with the album Working Class Dog. Most notable on this album were the singles “Jessie’s Girl”, which went to #1 on the Billboard charts, and “I’ve Done Everything for You” which was written by Sammy Hagar. Springfield won a Grammy in 1982 for “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance” for “Jessie’s Girl”. Springfield was also nominated for a second Grammy in 1982 and a third Grammy in 1983. His subsequent release in 1982, the album Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet, also contained a string of top 40 hits including the #2 hit “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and the ballad “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

His 1983 album Living in Oz contained more serious subject matter, and more of a hard-rock sound. The album went platinum on the strength of the hits “Human Touch”, “Souls”, and “Affair of the Heart”. That same year he won an American Music Award for “Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist” along with John Cougar Mellencamp.

His 1984 single “Love Somebody” (from the soundtrack album to the Hard to Hold movie he starred in that year) was his last top ten hit in the U.S. to date. He stopped touring in 1985, for the birth of his first son, Liam.

Springfield was one of several performers who participated in the Live Aid charity concert. After releasing the album Tao in 1985, Springfield chose to take a break from recording to spend more time with his family, and to deal with the depression that had affected him since his adolescence.

In 1987, Springfield returned to the studio and released the album Rock of Life. The next year, he was seriously injured in an ATV accident. Since he was unable to play the guitar for six months, the planned tour to promote his album was canceled. It would be nearly a decade before Springfield would return to the studio to record the albums Sahara Snow (1997) and Karma(1999).

From 1999 onward, he has held several concert tours throughout North America. In February 2004, he released the critically acclaimed album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” (in short S/D/A/A) on his own “Gomer Record” label. It went up to #8 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and #22 on Top Internet Album Sales chart.

In 2005, Springfield released his latest album, The Day After Yesterday - a collection of his covers of “songs [he] wish[es] [he] had written.”

On April 28, 2006, Springfield performed a medley of his hits at the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards, and received an enthusiastic response, which included a standing ovation from his acting peers. Springfield’s latest release is a live concert DVD entitled Live in Rockford.

In late-August 2007, Rick took part in the Countdown Spectacular 2 concert series in Australia. It was the first time Rick had performed live in Australia for some 35 years. -


- Born Richard Springthorpe, August 23, 1949, in Sydney, Australia; son of Norman James (a career officer in the Australian Army); immigrated to U.S., 1972; married; children: Liam. Addresses: Agent-- Triad Artists, Inc., 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., 16th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Management-- Ron Weisner Entertainment, 9200 Sunset Blvd., Penthouse 15, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

In 1981 Rick Springfield gained a large audience in two mediums; he watched his smash hit single "Jessie's Girl" race up the charts from the vantage point of his newly landed spot as a regular on the popular television soap opera General Hospital. The pull of Springfield's musical success proved stronger than that of his soap career, however, and he left the show to follow up "Jessie's Girl" with spirited hits like "Don't Talk to Strangers" and "Affair of the Heart." As David Wild summed up in a Rolling Stone review, "Over the years [Springfield has] come up with some delectable ear candy."
Springfield was born August 23, 1949, in Sydney, Australia. His father was a career officer in the Australian Army, and the family moved around a great deal throughout Rick's childhood. Because of this, he had difficulty making friends and hated school, especially during the years his father was stationed in England. He told Edwin Miller of Seventeen, "In England, I was the Australian pig, the new kid with the funny accent. It was really traumatic. Because of the country schooling I had, I knew less than the English kids my age in the same class, and I got cut to pieces." Springfield's dislike of school, however, did not prevent him from becoming an avid reader; in fact, he would often stay home from school to read, favoring science fiction and humor. Eventually Springfield began writing stories like the ones he read.
Springfield also enjoyed listening to music and used it as a conscious form of rebellion against his parents. He tried to make his own guitars until his parents bought him one when he was 15 years old. While still in high school he formed a band called the Jordy Boys; the youngest member, he was also the least worldly. Springfield recollected in Irwin Stambler's Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul: "The other members had been in jail for things like armed robbery. They were 25 and I was 16. One time we were parked near a milk bar and they ran into it and held it up. I stayed out in the car. Lucky we didn't get caught or it might have started me on the wrong foot."
Eventually Springfield made his way into better bands, including Rock House, which even played for U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam, and Zoot, which became the most popular musical act in Australia during his tenure with the group. When Zoot split up, Springfield went solo, scoring an Australian hit in 1971 with "Speak to the Sky." As he had hoped, this recording received the attention of U.S. record companies; he was signed by Capitol Records in 1972, prompting his move to the United States.
Many of Springfield's other Australian efforts were included on his American debut album, Beginnings. "Speak to the Sky" became a minor hit in the United States, but much to Springfield's distress, he was pegged by fans and critics as a teen idol like singers David Cassidy and Donny Osmond. The following year, in hopes of circumventing Capitol's encouragement of his bubble gum rocker status, Springfield switched to Columbia Records and released Comic Book Heroes. The album failed miserably, and Columbia did not renew his contract.
Springfield's problems mounted as he became entangled in various legal disputes with his management and was forced to withdraw from the music business for a few years. When he returned, none of the major labels were interested in his demos, so he opted to record Wait for the Night on the smaller Chelsea label. Before the album could gain much exposure, however, Chelsea declared bankruptcy, dashing Springfield's plans. Still able to live off his Australian royalties, he continued to write material and record demos, convinced that the right record deal would come along.
In the meantime, Springfield followed a friend to acting class and rapidly gained enthusiasm for dramatic performance. Soon he and a girlfriend decided to produce and direct themselves in a one-act play, and, as Springfield told Seventeen' s Miller, "We invited every casting director and agent in Hollywood" to see it. Fortunately, the only one who accepted, a representative of Universal Studios, recognized the Australian's talent. Springfield was signed to a contract, which meant he got paid even when he didn't work, and soon began appearing in television programs such as Battlestar Galactica, The Rockford Files, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and The Six-Million Dollar Man.
Though eventually dropped by Universal, Springfield was adequately consoled when RCA records, after listening to his demos, signed him to a contract in 1980. While he was recording what would become Working Class Dog, a casting director for General Hospital signed Springfield to play the role of Dr. Noah Drake, a young, eligible physician, and he began appearing on the show in 1981. The soap's audience found Springfield very appealing; he quickly became one of its most popular cast members. Then "Jessie's Girl," a song based on Springfield's experience of coveting a friend's love interest, was released as Working Class Dog' s first single. The song won him a Grammy for best male rock vocal. Another cut from the album, "I've Done Everything for You," also became a smash. Suddenly, Springfield had to balance filming with concert appearances.
Springfield's follow-up album, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet, featuring "Don't Talk to Strangers," also proved popular; his 1983 effort, Living in Oz, which included the hits "Human Touch" and "Affair of the Heart," was favorably received as well.
Not forgetting his acting career, though, Springfield made his 1984 big-screen debut in Hard to Hold. The film portrayed a rock star, played by Springfield, who survives an automobile accident and falls in love with a children's counselor. The woman, in turn, is torn between returning the musician's love and rejecting him because of his excessive lifestyle. Critics gave Springfield lukewarm acceptance at best; the romantic tale did relatively well at the box office, however, many female fans perhaps drawn by the promise of seeing Springfield's naked buttocks for a fleeting moment as his character loses his towel in one scene.
Despite his successes, which counted fans from many age groups, Springfield continued to be most popular with young girls--a curse that had always undermined his credibility with music critics. Perhaps to combat the teen idol image, he released a more ambitious album in 1985. But Tao was dismissed by Rolling Stone' s Wild as "an overwrought, misguided bid for respectability." Voicing similar concerns, Stereo Review contributor Steve Simels explained what he viewed as "production overkill" by suggesting that Springfield may have had "lingering suspicions that he's a pretty face rather than a musician." Still, Simel did note that "when he's dealing with relationships, Springfield is capable of writing with a fair amount of verbal facility and genuine feeling." Springfield's 1988 album, Rock of Life, fared much better with critics; Wild praised the cut "Honeymoon in Beirut," and People reviewer Ralph Novak pointed out that "even [Springfield's] standard romantic tunes get away from romantic cliches."
Springfield continued to act, landing roles in various short-lived television series, including Nick Knight and in 1992, ABC's The Human Target. The latter was based on a DC comic book and starred Springfield as Christopher Chance, the "target"--a hero who aids crime victims by physically assuming the identity of whomever he's helping. Chance's sidekicks are a special-effects expert, a research assistant, and a chauffeur/bodyguard; all travel in Chance's rocket ship. Said Entertainment Weekly' s Ken Tucker of the program, "If I were a kid, I guess I'd like all the nifty disguises, but to a grown-up, The Human Target seems campy in a dumb way, with stilted dialogue and stiff action scenes." Tucker gave the show a C-. People also coughed up a C-, complaining about the "truly dopey" dialogue, and exclaiming, "The summer wouldn't be complete without one really ludicrous, entirely implausible action series. Here it is!"
Objections to The Human Target seemed geared mostly toward the program itself, rather than Springfield's acting ability. In fact, Springfield has also found occasion to appear in made-for-television movies--a venue in which he has garnered a modicum of respect. For example, in 1990 he had a hefty part in the USA network's Dead Reckoning, which focused on a love triangle. David Hiltbrand commented in People that "all hands turn in good performances--particularly Springfield as the snake in the saw grass." Of particular interest has been Springfield's choice of characters; he's played good guys, bad guys, and even the in-between, as in Lifetime's Silent Motive, which cast him, in the words of New York' s John Leonard, as "a hairy nut."
As for Springfield's music career, he has never indicated that his recording hiatus is permanent. Given his versatile talent, Springfield is bound to please his fans wherever and whenever he pops up; for them, the adoration is truly an "Affair of the Heart." -

by Elizabeth Wenning and Lorna Mabunda


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