Repost: “Jessie’s Girl”

Standard

It should be apparent to any regular readers I might have that I have a deep and abiding love for really cheesy music.  I believe this stems directly from being raised during the 70s, King God Decade of Cheesy Music.  Of course, this extended to the 80s, when Rick Springfield finally made it big with both hit singles and a gig on General Hospital (that was back when soap operas were still relevant).  Now to be fair, Springfield was a decent musician; he could sing and play guitar nicely.  He was also a pretty fair songwriter and wrote some nice hooks.  Top Forty all the way.  It also didn’t hurt that this was the dawning of MTV and the commercial viability of music videos.  Rick Springfield was, in a word, hot.

Flowing raven locks, pouty lips, and a nice bod.  What’s not to love?  He even had the cojones to rock white pants and white shoes.

“Jessie’s Girl” is a good song, despite its lack of depth.  Unrequited love always sells really well to teenagers.  Although, I’ll be honest, I have no idea why he’s pining away for Jessie’s girl.  She looks like a shallow mouth-breather to me.

Gone to the Movies: Sound City

Standard

So last Sunday I got out of the house and saw a movie with my BFF.  We’re both huge music fans, and have an intense interest in the stories of how the music got made, so it seemed logical for us to go to the Art Theatre in Long Beach and see the one and only showing of Sound City.  What’s Sound City, you ask?  Just one of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen, about one of the great lost music landmarks of SoCal.

Sound City was a dumpy little industrial building in a dumpy little industrial section of Van Nuys, which is might as well not be on a cultural map of Southern California.  But inside those unassuming walls, Rock & Roll history was made.  From 1969 until 2011, Sound City was the birthplace of some of the greatest albums of all time.  Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.  Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.  Nevermind by Nirvana.  Music that shook the world and shaped the lives of entire generations.  When the studio closed down a couple of years ago, Dave Grohl purchased the sound board from studio A, and installed it in his home studio.  The board was one of the very few built by Rupert Neve, who is apparently a genius (I can’t be entirely sure about that, because I don’t know that much about technical stuff, but I’ll trust the sounds I hear that were recorded on his board).  Grohl was so in love with the studio that helped make him a star, he decided not only to keep the sound alive, but to also tell the story of a time and place that is vanishing.

Thus was born the documentary, which is awesome and funny and heartbreaking.  Grohl gets many of Sound City’s biggest recording stars and long time employees to talk about the place they called home for so many years.  Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham owe their careers to Sound City.  If they hadn’t recorded their unsuccessful debut there, they might never have come to the attention of Mick Fleetwood.  Rick Springfield became a superstar because Joe Gottfried, one of the building’s owners, managed his career in the early 80s (they had a not-so-nice split, but made up before Gottfried’s death).  In addition to the movie, Dave Grohl and friends made an album of new music called Real to Reel.  There’s some great songs on there, so I highly recommend tracking down a copy.  See the movie, too.  It only had a limited release in theaters, but it’s available on video on demand from a lot of providers (we can get it from FIOS).  It’s worth spending a couple of hours to see how many people loved that dumpy little building in Van Nuys, one that most people only heard of if they bothered to read the liner notes on . . . a pretty sizeable number of albums, it turns out.

Gone to the Movies: “Love Somebody”

Standard

In 1984, Rick Springfield was at the height of his popularity.  Fresh off his two-year stint on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake, flush off the success of  a trio of albums (led by 1981’s Working Class Dog), Springfield took the next logical step in his quest for world domination: He made a movie.

Hard to Hold was not an especially good movie.  The plot revolved around the romance between an immensely popular pop-rock star and a child psychologist in San Francisco (featuring real-life rock star wife Patti Hansen as his ex).  It was typical boy-meets-girl stuff.  Springfield wasn’t a bad actor, although he was a much better pop star.  The soundtrack was mostly Springfield, but had a track by Graham Parker and another by Peter Gabriel–all in all, it was pretty good music.

“Love Somebody” was the hit single, and it’s long been one of my favorite Springfield tunes.  It was power pop at its best; you could easily imagine it being a hit for Cheap Trick or The Knack or . . . Rick Springfield.  I think Springfield gets a bad rap sometimes, but he was a more than competent songwriter, performer, and musician.  His music was always catchy and fun.  Some of the dismissal of him as an artist comes from the fact that he wrote accessible, popular music; the rest is probably blowback from his soap opera fame and incredible popularity.  You literally could not throw a rock without hitting something with Rick Springfield’s face on it.

His fame eventually faded, and he became something of a has-been, even though he still records and tours regularly.  He’s had his problems–alcohol, depression, infidelity–but seems to have leveled out these days.  Oh yeah, and he’s still really, really good-looking.

“Jessie’s Girl”

Standard

It should be apparent to any regular readers I might have that I have a deep and abiding love for really cheesy music.  I believe this stems directly from being raised during the 70s, King God Decade of Cheesy Music.  Of course, this extended to the 80s, when Rick Springfield finally made it big with both hit singles and a gig on General Hospital (that was back when soap operas were still relevant).  Now to be fair, Springfield was a decent musician; he could sing and play guitar nicely.  He was also a pretty fair songwriter and wrote some nice hooks.  Top Forty all the way.  It also didn’t hurt that this was the dawning of MTV and the commercial viability of music videos.  Rick Springfield was, in a word, hot.

Flowing raven locks, pouty lips, and a nice bod.  What’s not to love?  He even had the cojones to rock white pants and white shoes.

“Jessie’s Girl” is a good song, despite its lack of depth.  Unrequited love always sells really well to teenagers.  Although, I’ll be honest, I have no idea why he’s pining away for Jessie’s girl.  She looks like a shallow mouth-breather to me.