Last week I was idly wandering around YouTube (as you do) and I stumbled on a clip (I think it may have been from MTV) where mothers and their teen daughters rated teen idols from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Some of them caused surprise, embarrassment and derision (Bay City Rollers and Donny Osmond, for example) but top of the list for moms AND their teen daughters was David Cassidy. He won hands down with both generations. I was really surprised that teenagers today think he is as gorgeous as their mothers did in the 1970s.
I think I developed my giant crush on David Cassidy from him being on The Partridge Family in 1970, when I was 9. David Bowie came a few years later – 1973 or so. Interestingly, all the men I have loved in my life have been slight and androgynous with crooked incisors beside their two front teeth. Every single one of them! I wonder if the two Davids are the reason why? Or maybe that love was in me already.
David Bowie managed to grow and change with his audience and even attract new fans as he got older, ending up with global fame that lasted over 50 years and is still going strong. Cassidy on the other hand, did not manage to translate well across the ages, and is now rather an unfortunate example of what happens when you get fame so young. Recent interviews are desperately sad more than anything. So many huge acts from those days were exploited terribly by the big music companies who worked them to the bone and made millions on merchandise. Nowadays with YouTube and social media as platforms for artists to break through, the traditional music companies have to work harder for their money, which I think is a good thing.
When young though, Cassidy did have a very underrated voice. We teenyboppers used to love his quiet, shy manner and his breathy, powdery voice, whether he was speaking or singing. He was so pretty. And he could actually sing. He had a great voice. One forgets now, because he has not been a huge name for so long, how huge his fame actually was in the early 1970s. The pressure of the workload, the fame and the adoration of the fans must have been even greater because he was a solo artist. Most other teen idols are in bands. Watching him at the press conference after a fan died at one of his concerts, you can see how desperately young he was, how numb from shock. I wouldn’t have that kind of fame if you paid me millions. It isolates you, stunts you emotionally.
Looking at these photos, I realised I had totally forgotten how beautiful he actually was. We used to love his shiny,bouncy feathery hair, his white, slightly crooked teeth, his enormous smile, his gorgeous eyes, and his breathy voice. And they actually are as attractive today as they were then. Unlike BCR when you look at them and think ‘oh my goodness, what was I thinking?’
There are also always lots of Partridge Family videos on YouTube (though I bought the whole series on DVD very cheap from Amazon a few years ago). Despite his status as a sex symbol with half the world in love with him, David as Keith Partridge was a bit of a klutz who didn’t have any luck with girls, was bullied, and failed Sex Education, which I still think is great. Even Farrah Fawcett and Jodie Foster were guests on the show. Looking at it now, it was not very good, but then many of the series and films we loved when we were young do not fare well when viewed as an adult. They bring back so many memories that I really do enjoy rewatching them! Oh to be young again! We all used to wear little knitted tank tops and puka shell necklaces, just like Keith Partridge did!
I used to wait for Jackie magazine (above) every week, so that I could complete my posters. One quarter of the poster used to be in the midddle of Jackie each week, so that after a month you’d have this HUGE picture for your wall. My wall was so full you could not see paint anywhere. David Bowie, David Cassidy, Donny Osmond and The Jackson Five.
I guess things are different now as you can follow them on social media and just download and save your own pictures whenever you want. I used to like the wait though – more exciting that way!
The video clip below gives a small insight into how crazy things were for him in the early 70s.