Rick Springfield, General Hospital & Elvis

Throughout his career, Rick Springfield has attracted fans at multiple times. His earliest fans came at the beginning of his career back in Australia (those fans are probably thrilled about the new Zoot album “Archaeology” that was released yesterday – check out zootband.com.au for all the details, including notes by RS about the different songs, videos of band performances and the details about how this all came together. The story behind “Life in a Northern Town” is especially cool).

Then there were those fans who fell in love with the long-haired RS after he moved to the U.S., after “Beginnings” and “Comic Book Heroes,” and those who regularly tuned into the “Mission Magic!” cartoon.

Next was all those fans that came along in the ’80s (including me, at age 12) with “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” and those who also fell in love with Dr. Noah Drake at the same time.

(There were more fans in later years, those recaptured in ’99 with “Karma” and continuing with all those albums that have come out since then, most recently this past January with “The Snake King.”)

Getting to know RS in the ’80s

I would guess that the ’80s presented the strongest force of the melding of the rock star/fan connection. After all, his songs were playing on the radio, his videos were on MTV, he was touring in concert, we received new pictures to pin on our walls each month (Teen Beat, 16, Bop! magazines, etc.) And we could watch him on TV on a regular basis on “General Hospital.” He was a part of our life and even if he didn’t know us, we sure knew a lot about him (thanks to the fan club and “How well do you know Rick Springfield?” quizzes in the teen magazines).

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Rick Springfield & ‘General Hospital’

A few years ago, RS once said in an interview that he was asked almost daily whether or not he would consider ever returning to “General Hospital” again. He did return as Dr. Noah Drake for many episodes between December 2005-September 2008. (The Rick Springfield & Us site has lots more details, it’s a great resource!) He also returned in March 2012 and April 2013.

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Although there’s no indication that he’s planning on returning to the show, there will be a reunion of sorts, as RS will be performing at the upcoming General Hospital Fan Celebration Weekend, to be held at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis in January.

The Elvis connection

Since I haven’t watched “General Hospital” in a few decades, I’m more excited about RS playing at Graceland then there being a connection with GH. RS playing at Graceland, the home of THE KING! How cool is that?

RS told Harry Connick, Jr. earlier this year about meeting Elvis Presley back in 1972:

He also talked about it in an 2016 AV Club interview:

RS: Yeah, I met Elvis on a plane, in 1972. My manager, actually, at the time, was Steve Binder, who directed the Elvis comeback special for NBC. So I was going back and forth from Australia because I didn’t have a permanent visa, so I had to fly back and get another visitor’s visa and fly back to America. I was doing that for a while. I got on the plane one time and I was in the back of the bus but I walked past the first-class section—it was stopping in Hawaii because he was going to Hawaii—and there was Elvis, and he looked amazing. You know, jet black hair, and he was thin and had this powder-blue leisure suit on, and he came back [to coach] before the plane landed and went up and down the aisle signing autographs. I wasn’t a big fan at the time then—I am now but I wasn’t much then, I was more a fan of The Beatles—but I had a girlfriend named Allison and I said, “Hey, would you sign this for my girlfriend Allison?” And I said, “You know, Steve Binder manages me,” and he said, “Oh, I love Steve, Steve’s great,” and had a little conversation with him. It was pretty cool.

According to an article on the Memphis Commercial Appeal website, the Jan. 19 concert at Graceland will be the first-ever non-Elvis-related concert at the venue, which opened in 2017. Pretty cool, RS making his own history at Graceland.

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Introducing Dr. Noah Drake… 36 years ago today

Thirty-six years ago today, Dr. Noah Drake walked into General Hospital in Port Charles and the wonderful RS fan(s) that post on the rsandus YouTube page (and put together the Rick Springfield and US fan site), have worked to present those days of “General Hospital” in real time (only 36 years later). The clips only include the RS scenes.

He’s so cute. I was 11 when this first aired. He was 31. Sixteen years younger than I am today. That’s so weird, can’t think about that too much so I’ll just watch and enjoy.

Music, TV, movies and more

Rick Springfield in “The Incredible Hulk”

What do the following shows have in common? “Six Million Dollar Man,” “Wonder Woman,” “Rockford Files,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Suddenly Susan,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Californication,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “True Detective” and “Supernatural.”

Answer: Rick Springfield was a guest star in all of them. (Thank you rickspringfield.us for the reference details.) I usually know when the repeats of these shows are shown because of all the tweets of exclamation in the Twittersphere: “Is that Rick Springfield on ‘The Incredible Hulk’?!!!!!”

From his first role in 1977 on “Six Million Dollar Man” (if you don’t count his animated character in “Mission Magic” from 1973-1974) to next month’s role as Lucifer in “Supernatural,” RS has been acting for nearly four decades. So although acting was initially more of a way to make money during slow times in his musical career – he has always said that music comes first for him – he still has quite an impressive IMDb profile.

He’s also acted in three films – “Hard to Hold” in 1984, last year’s “Ricki and the Flash” and the not-yet-released “Traces.”

Plus there’s TV movies, TV series, ( “Human Target” in 1992 and “High Tide” from 1994 to 1997), two years of a Las Vegas show (“EFX,” 2001-2002) and even a stint on Broadway (“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” in 1999). He’s also featured in two documentaries: “Affair of the Heart,” made by fans about his impact on his fans’ lives, and “Sound City,” produced and directed by Dave Grohl.

Whoops, I’m already on the sixth paragraph of this post and I haven’t even mentioned “General Hospital” yet. Can’t forget Dr. Noah Drake, his most popular character and the role that catapulted his career along with the release of “Working Class Dog” in 1981.

Then there’s those 18 studio albums, too, with one Grammy award and eight songs charting in the Top 20 on the Billboard charts. And a bestselling memoir and a bestselling novel. Plus he’s still touring and producing new music.

And yet in many people’s minds, he’s a one-hit wonder soap opera star.

I just don’t get it.

A devilish rock star role

About a year ago at this time, we were waiting for the premiere of “Ricki of the Flash,” in which Rick Springfield played Greg, a nice aging rocker who played in a bar band with his girlfriend (played by Meryl Streep). Yesterday, it was announced that RS is filming another aging rocker role – but one very different from Greg.

In the TV series “Supernatural,” he is going to be Vince Vincente, an aging rock star trying to make a comeback and whose body provides a vessel for Lucifer. I’ve never watched “Supernatural” and hadn’t even heard of it until last week, so I can’t explain what that means, but I’m sure RS will do a great job. He also played an out-of-control aging rock star in “Drop Dead Diva” in 2014;  in 2009, he played a narcissistic rock star version of himself on “Californication”; and in 2007 he played rock star Eli Love on “General Hospital.” And of course, his role of Jamie Roberts in his 1984 film debut, “Hard to Hold.” Sometime this year, the film “Traces” is supposed to come out, where he’ll play Carl, a record store owner. Not sure if Carl was a rock star before he opened the record store. (He also played a very creepy non-rock star, Dr. Irving Pitlor on “True Detective” in 2015.)

In the tweets following the announcement of this “Supernatural” role, some tweeters tweeted about whether RS would now sing “Jessie’s Girl” at future comic-cons.

There always seems to be a “Jessie’s Girl” comment no matter what RS does. But it did make me realize that RS would actually be a great guest at a comic-con because if that was something he’d be interested in, he certainly would be qualified. His 1970s credits include “Wonder Woman,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Battlestar Galactica.” He was even a cartoon in “Mission Magic!” and “Family Guy.”

The list of his acting credits is long (check out his IMDb credits to see for yourself, if you’re not aware of all his acting work; there are many non-rocker roles and he has also done musical theater.)

So just as he’s much more than “Jessie’s Girl” in his musical career, he’s more than Dr. Noah Drake in his acting career. And in addition to his musical and acting accomplishments, there’s also his bestselling books – his memoir “Late, Late at Night” and his novel, “Magnificent Vibration.”

In real life, RS is more of an ageless rock star. With a new album that came out earlier this year (“Rocket Science”), the new film scheduled to come out sometime this year (“Traces”), a national tour (with both full-band shows and solo shows) and now this TV show (“Supernatural”), this rock star sure has a lot going on.

Here are other sources that highlight his acting roles:

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‘Hard to Hold’: 32 years ago

Rick Springfield’s film debut “Hard to Hold” came out 32 years ago today. I’m pretty sure I know what was on my 14-year-old mind that day.

Today we have access to so many interviews via the Internet, but in those days, it was all about the teen magazines. So it was fun to watch this video from 1984:

At that time, it wasn’t surprising that one of the interview questions was whether he would return to “General Hospital.” After all, his 18 months as Dr. Noah Drake propelled him to fame and not much time had passed since he’d left the show in 1983. He probably had no idea that he’d still regularly be asked to answer that same question 30 years later. (Perhaps his return to the show at different times from 2005 to 2013 reignited the question?)

A question that you probably wouldn’t hear today is whether he envisions the music video as he’s writing a song.

Even then he was gracious during an interview; he looks a little bewildered by a couple of the questions.

One question that was noticeably missing was whether there is really a “Jessie’s Girl.” I guess because although the song had reached No. 1 and won a Grammy Award, it hadn’t yet reached the status that it has today. How many times has he been asked THAT question over the years? (5 million and 4 times, according to a recent Talk Stoop interview.)

Although he often still apologizes for the film, there’s no need – he made many 220px-Hard_to_Hold_coverteenage girls very happy. And it had a great soundtrack! (My favorites are “Love Somebody,” “Taxi Dancing,” “Don’t Walk Away” and “Great Lost Art of Conversation.”)

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