Rick Springfield’s family home in Australia was one of the six stops of a “Six Moments in Kingston,” a public art bus tour in Parkdale, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
The tour took place over the past two weekends (May 18-19 and May 25-26) and included community bands and choirs singing “Jessie’s Girl.” In pictures posted on Facebook, one group of singers wore oversized white dress shirts with black ties with RS’s black & white pic clipped over the pocket (as in the cover of “Working Class Dog.”) Plus there were lots of bull terriers present in honor of RS’s love for dogs.
The tour celebrated Kingston’s history and featured performances, music, street parades, broadcasts, sculptures and videos and a bus tour of the locations where each story occured, according to the website, smik.melbourne. The other five stories included on the tour were:
- Julie Cooper, who was elected in 1976 as the first female councillor of Moorabbin (a suburb in Melbourne), and the city’s first female mayor. A stadium bears her name and marks her role in creating opportunities for women in local politics.
- The Grange, a prominent redevelopment site
- Fred Valentich, a pilot who was 19 when his plane disappeared shortly after taking off in 1978
- Sites of protests about the movement for equal pay at an old Phillip Morris cigarette factory and a protest against homelessness
- Phil Carmon, a former Australian rules footballer who played in the VFL (Victorian Football league)
Here’s what it says on RS’s bio page:
Kingston has produced many famous sons and daughters but none quite like Rick Springfield who, in a little known fact, spent his teenage years in Parkdale. First a heart-throb and actor in American soap General Hospital, Springfield became internationally famous for his world-wide smash hit single, Jessie’s Girl, released in 1981. The song climbed to no.1 and went platinum in the USA and Australia. Artist Shane McGrath and local musicians honour Springfield’s place in the rock pantheon, creating their own renditions of Jessie’s Girl in the streets of Parkdale, headed up by a phalanx of bull terriers, after Rick Springfield’s love for the breed.
On the artist’s website, the public art exhibit is called “Jessie’s Girl – Last Home.”
Did you know Rick Springfield was a local boy?
That he spent 10 years trying to break into the USA music scene? That he released a Grammy award winning, #1 HIT the same time he became an overnight soap-opera sex symbol?
It all began in one quiet street in Parkdale, Victoria and we want to invite you down to celebrate a unique moment in 1981 in a very unique fashion.
According to an article in a local publication, The Age, artist Shane McGrath’s exhibit included “members of Parkdale Secondary College, singers from the Unified Filipino Elderly Association, the Bull Terrier Club of Victoria and Lukes, the Voices Pop Choir of Moorabbin and the Longbeach Ukulele Club.”
On the Kingston Arts Facebook page, a video shows the Moorabbin chapter of Pop Choir’s first attempt at singing “Jessie’s Girl” and notes that artist Shane McGrath “orchestrated an extravagant musical parade down Springfield’s old street in Parkdale.”
The Springthorpe family home, where his lovely mom, Eileen Springthorpe, lived until her death in December 2016, was sold in February 2017.
Here was RS’s response to news of this tour:
Yikes. There is a historical tour in thw town I grew up in back in Australia that ends up in my old neighborhood at my Mums house where they play “Jessie’s Girl” in the driveway. Not sure how my awesome Mum would handle it were she still alive. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/QxNvUp5KaY
— Rick Springfield (@rickspringfield) May 28, 2019
My guess is that she would have felt very proud! I wonder what teenage Ricky would have thought about it?
(The top pic is from Shane McGrath’s Instagram page, mcgrathstudio.)