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

Here’s an example of turning 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

Rick Springfield stripped down

Last weekend, our local PBS affiliate ran Rick Springfield’s “Stripped Down” concert film, which I was so happy about because ever since I heard that he does this sort of concert, I’ve been wanting to see one. I’m sure they must be pretty amazing in person, but it was still pretty cool to watch one at home, too. The plus is that I could rewind it if I missed anything or wanted an instant replay. And of course I now have it in my DVR library so I can watch it again.

Anyway, here are my three favorite parts, in order of appearance:

1. Painted Girl – RS played the first song he wrote and shared the story behind it – or at least his interpretation of what he thought was going through his mind at age 15. His self-deprecating sense of humor adds to his stories about his colorful life. I suppose this particularly struck a chord with me (pun intended) since I’ve been going through my own journals from my teenage years and appreciate the reflective nature of this segment of the concert.

2. April 24, 1981/My Father’s Chair – This was incredibly touching, seeing his response to singing it all these years later and the way others in the audience responded to it. Nearly everyone has lost someone they love at some point and these songs always bring tears to my eyes, as well.

3. Although I’m not sure if the songs he played/sang that he didn’t write had specific meaning to him (not sure how much of the concert was actually shown since a great deal of it was interrupted with pledge solicitation), but he sure did rock!

(Note: If anyone had the means to do so, I hope they made a pledge to PBS, which provides wonderful programming to our community. And if anyone who gave the $150 pledge because they appreciate PBS’s work but don’t really care about the March 7 VIP concert ticket/meet-and-greet pass and wine tasting that comes with it – or even if those tickets are too close to the stage and you’d rather sit in Row 30 so it’s not so loud – you know where to find me.)