April 24, 1981: His Last Words

This month marked the 20th anniversary of Rick Springfield’s “Karma” CD so I revisited it a few days ago. I admit it’s been awhile since I’ve listened to it so when I saw the title “His Last Words,” it didn’t come to me right away what it was. Of course when I listened to it, I remembered it, but it’s not a song that you can sing to so the lyrics didn’t come to mind. Instead it is read to haunting sounds by RS, his sons and his brother.

When I read the lyrics, I found them so powerful and poignant, and was moved by the poetry of it. Especially the last few lines:

And so it went
There were no proud and profound last words
No bright ringing final moment of clarity
He just died

We kissed his still warm face
And strangers came and took him from us forever

The cold wind blew through the tree in my father’s yard
And I looked for meaning.

The words kind of took my breath away and made me feel like sobbing, although I didn’t. My mom died just over 20 years ago on April 20, so I suppose this time of year I’m already feeling melancholy when the date April 24 comes up.

RS’s new album, “Orchestrating My Life,” which officially is released in a few days – April 26 – is dedicated to his parents. Here is a recent video posted by rsandus of “April 24, 1981” and “My Father’s Chair” with the Portland Symphony.

So beautiful and the orchestra adds another depth to it. You may want to grab a tissue before you watch it.

To many RS fans, April 24 is a very meaningful date as today we remember Norman Springthorpe. He continues to live on through his sons and the impact they make in the world.

April 24, 1981

I remember reading an interview with Rick Springfield once saying that he named the first song he wrote about his father’s death with the date because he wanted to always note the significance of that date.

That date lives on in his fan’s minds, too, and I’m sure many RS fans are thinking of him and his family today.

This last song on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” brought a whole different level of depth to the album, which is otherwise all about relationships and sex (“Calling All Girls,” “I Get Excited,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “What Kind of Fool Am I”). I received the album for my 13th birthday. That year, 1982, sparked my connection to RS, and this song was a big part of it because it showed his deeper side and another dimension to him, rather than just the cute rock ‘n’ roller.

Here’s the song from his “Live and Kickin” video, which features an Aug. 13, 1982 concert (a few days after my 13th birthday). The song starts at about 1:30 mark:

 

And a video from a 2016 “Stripped Down” show 34 years later:

Thinking of Norman Springthorpe on this day and sending warm and comforting thoughts to RS and his brother, Michael.

April 24, 1981

April 24

Here’s an example of turningĀ a painful experience into something beautiful and the power that music has to connect people and bring solace to those in their time of need. Wishing strength to everyone who is missing a loved one today.

Big hug

Dear RS,

I’m sure you are feeling lots of love at the Club Med fan getaway this weekend, but I just wanted to join the collective hug from all your fans across the world on this significant day in your life. The songs you wrote for your father are a beautiful tribute to him and I’m sure he is incredibly proud of all the lives you’ve touched through the years. XO