Returning to 1980-something in a much different role

Most Rick Springfield fans have probably already seen his guest appearance as the owner of “Gary-okes” on “The Goldbergs,” which aired on Oct. 10 on ABC. (If not, it’s on Hulu.)

In the show, he played Erica’s new boss and sang “Jessie’s Girl” with Beverly Goldberg.

Here are a few photos I took while watching the show on the night it aired.

The image showing “Gary” talking to “Erica” reminded me of the photo below from “Ricki and the Flash,” although in RATF, he was a boyfriend talking to his girlfriend about their children and during “The Goldbergs,” he was a boss talking to his employee about her mom.

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I liked his Gary character and it would be nice if it was a recurring role. I wonder if the name was intentional or a coincidence. (The real name of “Jessie” in “Jessie’s Girl” was a guy named Gary, in case you weren’t aware.)

Besides the duet of “Jessie’s Girl” between Gary and Beverly, the majority of the song played in the background during part of the show, which is probably a nice royalty hit for RS.

In the future, when I think of Rick Springfield’s appearance on “The Goldbergs,” I’m pretty sure I’ll remember that I saw him in concert the night before he filmed it.

Here’s the real songwriter of “Jessie’s Girl” playing his song at a real concert the night before he played the owner of a karaoke bar singing a karaoke version of the song at a karaoke bar on a TV show.

I prefer the real thing rather than the ’80s TV version (although I loved the authentic ’80s version when it was the ’80s), but it was a fun show to watch and my kids have gotten hooked on “The Goldbergs” so we’ve been catching up on the past three seasons.

According to an Instagram post,the jacket RS wore during part of the show was a replica of the jacket he wore in the “Jessie’s Girl” video back in 1981.

Rachel J Leathers said in her post:

The highlight of my week is to finally show the jacket I made for Rick Springfield for “The Goldbergs”. It was a replication of a jacket he wore in his video, “Jessie’s Girl” (remember that?). I used to drool over Rick in the 70’s, so this was a fun one! The snaps had to be done at the studio as my tools failed me. (Time for a kick press!) Thank you @jennifmarl and the crew!

Pretty cool, eh? In interviews about the JG video, RS has said that they filmed it quickly without a permit and weren’t even sure why they were filming it (it was before MTV). Fun fact: “Jessie’s Girl” was the #1 song when MTV started. So it’s pretty funny that 30-something years later somebody is recreating the jacket he wore.

It’s also cool to think that the guy in the “Jessie’s Girl” video who was feeling a bit discouraged that he hadn’t hit it big yet would have his jacket recreated 30-something years later by a designer for a TV show where he would be playing a character named after the guy who became a character in his #1 hit song that he didn’t know would be a hit song when he recorded the demo in his living room using his ottoman as a drum. I know that’s a really long sentence, bur hopefully you get my point. #followyourdreams

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Same songs, different medium

In a recent interview on The Eddie Trunk Podcast, RS mentioned that he’ll be putting together a new album of his hits recorded with a symphony – and writing a new song for that. How cool is that?! Fans in Australia will be happy to hear that he’s also talking about a tour in Australia.

Another interesting tidbit mentioned in the interview is that he recently recorded a Spanish version of “Jessie’s Girl” for a musician in Mexico who is putting a “Legends” type of album with musicians who inspired him.

Listen to the podcast here.

For those who are following the songwriting track of this blog, here’s a video I put together that includes two of the songs that I previously wrote. One was inspired after seeing Rick Springfield in a hotel lobby and the other one, “In the Fifth Row,”  was written in advance of a concert that I ended up not being able to attend.

They were written at different times – the first in March 2016 and the second in October 2017 – but they have similar melodies and the same chords and my tickets for the March show were also in the fifth row so it worked to combine the two. (I’m happy to report that I’ve learned several new chords since then so my newer songs don’t all sound the same.)

Making wishes come true

Although I enjoy Rick Springfield’s songwriting and music, that alone is not what makes him my favorite rock star. I like lots of music by many different artists, but stories like the one that happened last night make him my #1.

Last night, he invited one of his longtime fans, an 18-year-old with autism, onstage to sing “Jessie’s Girl” – the teen’s favorite song – with him. After an eight-hour trek from  Princeville, Illinois to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan on Wednesday with family members, Gavin Sibley attended RS’s Thursday show at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. The trip, planned through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, included the concert, a meet-and-greet and a chance to play around with one of RS’s guitars. They found out the day of the show that Gavin would also be given a chance to perform his favorite song with RS.

This kind of gesture of kindness is what makes RS so special.

For the story, pics and video, check out this story from the Oakland Press: “Rick Springfield rocks Mt. Pleasant with special Make-A-Wish guest.”

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February milestones

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February seems to be a big month for Rick Springfield milestones.

One day in particular stands out:
Feb. 24, 1981: “Working Class Dog” is released
Feb. 24, 1982: RS wins a Grammy for “Jessie’s Girl”
Feb. 24, 2004: “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” is released
Feb. 24, 2015: “Stripped Down” is released

Last night Rowdy Ron had an online radio show where he played the full albums of WCD and SDAA, including bonus tracks, in celebration of the milestone. Unfortunately I only caught a few minutes of it, but I’m sure it was a great show!

Other notable dates (courtesy of rickspringfield.us):

Feb. 14, 1945: RS’s parents are married
Feb. 19, 2016: “Rocket Science” is released
Feb. 20, 2016: “iHeart80s Party” at the Forum, which gave him great exposure
Feb. 23, 1981: “Jessie’s Girl” is released as a single

This year also marked the 10th anniversary of his Valentine’s Day weekend show at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, which was covered this month in a great interview in Center Stage Magazine and this nice review in National Rock Review. In the Center Stage interview, he talks about his desire to do more acting and mentions his upcoming tour in Germany with Rock Meets Classic and the review mentions some highlights from the Nashville show:

“Since this is live music, anything can and usually happens. Tonight, mid-way through the opening song, the music suddenly stops, and the faint ring of the fire alarm is heard. Not to be outdone, Rick is out among the fans, shaking hands and fist bumping those around him while the guys break into a jig on stage entertaining fans while the power and fire alarm issues are sorted out.”

After a brief delay, Rick and the guys launching into “Light this Party Up” for the second time and the crowd jumps in on the fun, raising their glasses, dancing, and singing along.”

And this is sweet:

“Slowing down the pace, Rick takes center stage with his green dobro guitar on his knee. He takes a moment to tell a quick story about long-time guitar tech, Ruben Velasco, who died last year. Velasco, who’s birthday was this day, had repeatedly said that Rick needed a light-up guitar. Springfield now plays a light-up guitar on tour which he appropriately named “Ruben.” It was a touching moment and a class move by Rick Springfield.”

Liked this line, too:

“Springfield exudes energy and positive vibes.”

Speaking of articles – and energy- there was some interesting information in a recent one in the Orlando Sentinel in advance of Sunday’s night’s show in Orlando.

“He is working on another novel to follow “Magnificent Vibration,” a 2014 bestseller, but laughs when asked when it will come out.

“It’s like a song. When it’s done, it’s done. You can’t really push it,” he said. “There’s been a lot of stuff that’s come up and gets in the way of it, but I like to do it all.” 

And this is a cool possibility:

He is writing a new record and screenplays. Another possibility is a memoir to follow 2010’s “Late, Late at Night.” “Certainly enough has happened. I was actually thinking about that —  the stuff I didn’t tell you,” he said.

Jessie’s Girl spoofs

In an intro video at Rick Springfield concerts before he plays “Jessie’s Girl,” there are clips from shows or movies where the song has been used, such as on “Glee” and “Boogie Knights.” It’s also been said that it’s the most popular karaoke song.

This past week I saw two other uses – in recent spoofs, one about a remote control and a commentary about the Iran deal. Thirty-five years after its release, the song is still going strong.

I wasn’t able to post the Iran deal video, which was on the Secure America Now Facebook page, but here are some of the lyrics:

“Iran is no friend, yeah I know they’ve been no friend of mine,
But lately they’re in charge though they’ve done a lotta crimes
Iran’s got themselves a deal and now all they do is lie
And they’re watching us with their spies
And they’re cheating on that new deal, I just know it
And they’re taking advantage of literally everything
You know I wish there was no Iran deal
I wish there was no Iran deal
How could we make a decision like that?
They played along with the charade
Because $150 isn’t pocket change
You know I feel so worried when they start talking nukes
I want to tell Congress to stop but the point is probably moot…”

You get the idea. I bet when RS was recording his “Jessie’s Girl” demo back in his Hollywood living room back in 1979, expressing sexual angst about a girl in his stained glass class, it never crossed his mind that his tune would be used 35 years later to make a political commentary about a country in the Middle East.

There’s also this one from last year was pretty funny and obviously this one was approved by RS:

And there is also the Studio C take on “Rick Springfield’s First Hit Song” here.

If the real “Jessie’s Girl” is still alive, she should be aware of this song by now and, with all the publicity out there about it these days, maybe we’ll soon solve this great mystery of the modern world!

35 years after ‘Jessie’s Girl’ hit #1

Hey RS, remember that time a few months ago when we stayed in the same hotel?

You probably don’t remember because when I saw you, you were standing in the lobby and your back was toward me and with all the lobbies you’ve stood in, you can’t possibly remember everyone who walks behind you.

And even though I briefly saw most of the members of your band walking around the hotel during our visit, I never saw you again after the lobby – except during that night’s show of course.

And so because my husband is opposed to stalking – which in most cases is a good thing but not really in this case – we checked out of the hotel in the morning and headed home.

I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed on the way home because I had gotten a little spoiled by the chance encounters – albeit very brief ones, enough for a quick photo – after prior shows. So in the days that followed, I wrote a little song about it to get it out of my system.

On a whim a few weeks ago, I decided to submit a couple of my song/poems to a local literary magazine  – “In the lobby” being one of them – and they got accepted! The magazine is scheduled to come out in the fall.

So why am I writing about this here? 1. To say, hey thanks for not turning around in the lobby because that inspired a song and this is the first time I’ve had a song/poem published in a literary magazine since high school and 2. Because I found out about it exactly 35 years – minus one day – after “Jessie’s Girl” hit #1 on the Billboard chart (which was Aug. 1, 1981).

OK, I know there’s a big difference between an acceptance email from a local literacy magazine and a #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, but whatever, I thought the timing was cool anyway since they were both inspired  (sort of) by similar experiences. 

Reliving the ’80s in 2016

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Rick Springfield rocked on the new ABC series “Greatest Hits” last night! For anyone who has seen him live in concert lately, that was no surprise. What a great idea for a show, it was lots of fun to watch. (In case you missed it, you can see it here.)

In addition to the nostalgic feeling of the show – hearing all those familiar tunes and the intro with all the 1980s clips from TV shows and movies – it was also nostalgic to have that feeling of watching something fun along with so many people from across the country. I rarely watch live TV and seeing the tweets and Facebook posts about a show I was also watching reminded me of the days when you went to school the next day and everyone was talking about the same show. Back in the days before hashtags, when there were only a few channels to choose from so the chances of that happening were much more likely.

It also reminded me how much technology has changed since the 1980s – in addition to the tweeting and Facebook posts. I tried to turn on the TV downstairs, but the TV is hooked up through the Xbox and I couldn’t figure out how to switch it to live TV. Then I couldn’t find the remote control upstairs and for some reason the TV was on a Spanish station and I couldn’t change the channel without the remote so I was frantically looking for the remote as the clocked ticked closer to 8 p.m.

But in the end, it all worked out and I got to watch it along with all those other ’80s fans out there.

And it was cool to know that my favorite rock star from the ’80s is still making music today and I get to see him perform live next week!

’80s heartthrob to release new CD

Have you heard that Rick Springfield has a new CD coming out next week? Yes, that Rick Springfield, the ’80s heartthrob soap star best known for his Grammy-winning “Jessie’s Girl.”

OK, I’m just amusing myself in preparation for those kind of statements to make an appearance, as they did last year in articles about “True Detective,””Ricki and the Flash” and concert previews.

Or maybe something’s changed over the past year? Maybe his transformation from Dr. Noah Drake to Dr. Irving Pitlor made people take notice that he has done other things over the past 30 years? Maybe he can break free from that ’80s icon label? (Well, OK, maybe the I Heart80s Party later this month doesn’t help that. But that does sound like an AMAZING concert and I wish I could go because I heart ’80s music, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, I’m feeling a little antsy because the “Rocket Science” release is still a week away (on Feb. 19) and there hasn’t been any songs released from it for seven days. (Man, are we getting spoiled or what?!) And some fans have already received their Japanese imports of the album and have gotten to hear all the songs already. Fortunately there’s a Live Nation Yahoo live stream of the Feb.12 show at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville planned this week, so that’s something a little closer than Feb. 19.

Oh, and if articles still refer to RS as a “heartthrob,” that is still accurate.

 

A matter of time

Everyone is given the same amount of hours in each day, yet the various ways people choose to spend them is fascinating.

For instance, if your workdays kept you busy from the afternoon until late at night with people constantly demanding things from you the whole time and as soon as you finished, you had to travel somewhere else for the next day’s work, I imagine you’d be pretty exhausted after a few days of this and ready to take a few days off to unwind, even if you love your job.

RS in Venice, Italy

Rick Springfield attends the Jury And Jonathan Demme Cocktail Party during the 72nd Venice Film Festival at Albergo Quattro Fontane on Sept. 8, 2015 in Venice, Italy. (Source: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images Europe)

That’s why I was amazed to find out that when RS had three days off during a two-month concert tour, he left from his Sunday night concert in Charlotte, North Carolina to travel to Venice, Italy to spend a day and a half promoting “Ricki and the Flash” then turned right back around for a Thursday night show in Chicago. And this is at an age when many people his age are welcoming their retirement years. But I imagine that many people half his age aren’t even half as productive as he is.

(During interviews, when reporters inquire about his intense work schedule, he has attributed it to being a result of having ADHD and has said that he likes to keep busy because it helps ward off his depression.)

Next week is the Jewish New Year, a time that involves a great deal of introspection, as one reflects upon the past year and thinks about what changes they’d like to make in their lives in the upcoming year. Although it’s a joyous time, spent with family and friends and eating lots of good food, it’s also a somber time. So this is the frame of mind I’ve been in the past few days and pondering how one spends one’s precious time fits right in.

OK, but before I go off in a totally different direction, I will try to focus here, as it’s getting late. I just wanted to mention another way that RS is so inspiring. In his memoir, “Late, Late at Night,” he writes about his time in “the burbs” in Glendale, California in the late 1970s when his fourth attempt to make a record falls through and he decides to sculpt figures of aliens and tries to sell them at swap meets, contemplates becoming a priest and hangs out with chickens in his Glendale backyard. And his breakthrough song “Jessie’s Girl” came about when he had decided that if his musical career wouldn’t work out, maybe he’d become a stained glass artist (and then wrote “Jessie’s Girl” about a girl in the class).

And then, finally, when he became extremely successful, he realized that the success hadn’t made him happy and he walked away from it all in the late 1980s. In his book, he writes about all the highs and lows during his career and although it probably never occurred to him as he was going through all these challenges that someday he would share them with others and, as a result, it would help them get through their own challenging times, it’s fortunate he chose to be so honest. By sharing all these highs and lows, he provided hope to those who are on the low end, by showing that paths can shift direction at any moment.

‘True story’ behind ‘Jessie’s Girl’

When MTV debuted 34 years ago – on Aug. 1, 1981 – “Jessie’s Girl” was the No. 1 song in the country. And for 34 years, music fans everywhere have wondered – “Was there really a Jessie’s girl?”

This week, Jimmy Kimmel unearthed never-before-seen footage that revealed the “true story” behind the song.

Of course it’s not actually the “true story,” but it was hilarious and included RS with an 80s-style hairdo and that crazy jacket.

During the interview, RS talked about the real true story about “Jessie’s Girl,” which is just such a cool example of how one small decision you make can turn your life around. In this case, RS thinks his musical career is over – in 1979 – so he decides to pursue a career as a stained-glass maker. In a stained glass-making class, he’s attracted to a girl in the class who has a boyfriend and that scenario inspired “Jessie’s Girl,” which helped catapult his musical career.

Here’s part of the interview:

One question for Jimmy: Why did he call Rick Springfield fans crazed?

OK, the Marriott story qualifies, but Jimmy probably didn’t know about that before the interview. Are RS fans really any more crazed than fans of other musicians? Don’t other rock stars have fans who travel around the country to see their shows, attend fan events, hang out in alleys and hotel lobbies after shows, follow their musician’s every cyber move? Is that any crazier than sports fans who memorize players’ statistics, watch multiple instant replays and then have another sports show right afterward dissecting every play? Who is he calling crazed?

[Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the fact that I’ve spent nearly the whole past year blogging about my crush on Rick Springfield and have already seen him twice in concert this year (meeting him  briefly both times), have tickets for one more that I’m going out of state to attend and then just found out this week that he’s going to be performing a free concert at a fair a few miles away from my house four days earlier so of course I have to go to that one, too.]

OK, maybe call it slightly obsessed, but I prefer devoted.