There have been teen idols throughout the history of rock and roll, dating back to the young Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson, and continuing up through Miley Cyrus (in her pre-twerking days, at least) and One Direction.
One of the most popular teen idols of all time is David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on the 1970’s TV show The Partridge Family, and at the same time also enjoyed a successful pop music career including the smash No. 1 hit “I Think I Love You”. Since that time, he has continued to record music and act on television and in musical theater.
The following interview was for a preview article for The World’s Greatest Teen Idols show at the Chumash Casino on 10/3/13, featuring Cassidy and fellow idols Mickey Dolenz from The Monkees and Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits, who together have sold over 250 million records. It was done by email, with answers received on 9/30/13.
Jeff Moehlis: What can we look forward to at the upcoming Teen Idols show at the Chumash Casino?
David Cassidy: We’re going to have a lot of fun. Each of us sings our hits and then we have some surprises we perform together. We’re having a blast.
JM: Back in the day, did you cross paths with either of the other guys who are now part of the Teen Idols tour, Micky Dolenz and Peter Noone?
DC: I knew Micky, but not well. I became very good friends with Davy (Jones) about the last 5 years of his life and after he passed, I organically started to do some of his material in my show as a personal tribute to him. When it was suggested that Micky and I work together, I was thrilled. I’ve always admired Peter’s talent but never had the pleasure of working with him until now.
JM: Have you met any of the members of The Cowsills, who helped inspire The Partridge Family?
JM: You had a huge hit with the song “I Think I Love You”. What are your memories of how this song came together and took off?
DC: It was the first hit I ever had. When the show went on the air, it was an instant success. The song was written by Tony Romeo, one of the finest songwriters in my opinion. It is the consummate pop song.
JM: Of the various guest stars that appeared on The Partridge Family, who was the most fun to meet and work with?
DC: Richard Pryor, by far. We bonded and I was a young 20 year old kid and loved him before he became really successful and I spent all of my down time in his dressing room listening to incredible African music. He was the sweetest, kindest, most genuine artist I had met at that time and I loved him from then on.
JM: To you, what was the strangest of the Partridge Family merchandise that was marketed?
DC: Girls’ clothing! What was that about??
JM: Can you tell me a bit about working with George Michael back when he was just starting his solo career?
DC: I was in the studio when we met and he told me he was a fan and I told him I had a great song and track that I’d love for him to hear. He told me he thought it was brilliant and asked if he could sing background on it – “Last Kiss” – the rest is history – it was a big hit and went platinum. He’s one of the biggest talents I’ve had the good fortune to work with.
JM: I loved the show 8-Track Flashback that you hosted on VH-1. Why is it that we still love the 1970’s so much?
DC: Probably because the stars from that era were not as accessible as stars today. There were no VCRs, TiVos or DVDs. What you saw was what you got. Everything was live, no Memorex! That is why fans got so excited at concerts and wanted to touch their favorite stars – it was their only opportunity to see them in person. Otherwise, TV was live – the family sat around the TV Friday nights and enjoyed the family programming, kids bought records because there was no downloading. It was truly a different world. And the music reflected that – simpler times, simpler lyrics and pleasant fun melodies.
JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
DC: Practice, practice, practice and be prepared to work very hard and get a lot of rejection. You have to learn to take it if you want to succeed. Perseverance and integrity are king but talent will pay off ultimately.
JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?
DC: I’m on the road quite a bit these days and still enjoying it.
JM: Where are you responding from?
DC: My home in Florida.