Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rick Springfield - Beginnings - 1972

Before seeing this record I really didn't know anything about pre-Jessie's Girl/Pre General Hospital Rick Springfield. I knew he had some sort of a singing career before 1980, but that was the extent of it.

This record is Rick's solo debut from 1972. I listened to this record before I did any research about the record or Rick's past. I'm glad I did because I like the record. I think there are some strong pop songs on the record. However most of the reviews of the record aren't very complimentary. It seems there is more focus on what was happening with Rick's career than on the music itself. I'm glad I didn't read any of that to taint my experience.

I did however learn some interesting things in researching the record. It seems that at the time the record company was pushing Rick as a teen heartthrob. He was doing Tiger beat photo shoots and such. He did have a hit with "Speak To The Sky", which I'm assuming is a bit of a forgotten hit, because I had never heard of it before. It reached something like 14 on the billboard charts I believe is what I read. While this was a hit, there was controversy surrounding the record. Radio DJ's boycotted the record because of the rumor that the record company was buying up the record to inflate sales. It turned out that the accusation was unfounded, but it caused enough problems that the label dropped Rick. Wikipedia has all the details here.

Another interesting tidbit of pop culture history I learned was that Rick starred in a cartoon based on him called "Mission Magic" that aired on ABC Saturday mornings. It ran for two years. I've got to see that some day. Read more here.

But what about the music? That's why you're reading right? Right? Is anyone actually reading? Well, if someone is, this is for you. The music is good. Not mindblowingly great, but definitely good. For a first record you can already see that he's got a knack for song craft. One review pointed out in a negative way that the record feels like an artist being forced into and trying to fit into the singer songwriter mold, which was so popular at the time. This may be true, but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. Sure, Rick's strength is writing pop tunes and 8 years later he help lay the blueprint for 80's power pop. So what does that mean for this record? It means that Rick is riffing off of a lot of influence of the time. You can hear The Beatles in some songs. McCartney especially is prevalent as an influence. I mean "What Would The Children Think" is just the Rick Springfield version of "A Day In The Life".

You can also hear T-Rex and Sweet in "Hooky Jo" which is just a straight up pop rock song.

One of the big highlights for me, though, on this record is Rick trying to fit into that serious singer songwriter mold. The song "The Unhappy Ending (Lean On Me)" is a song about a guy shooting himself in the head. This song sounds like a funeral march. it also goes into moment by moment detail of the suicide. It is so incredibly dark, that it makes me giddy. That alone made the song great to me, but then after reading about Rick's career and the history on the record, the song is really funny. It is funny because what was the record company thinking putting this song on a record that is being aimed at young teenage girls. It just seems like a bit of a disconnect as a formula for teen pop success. I wish I knew the rational here.

Another good song is "Come On Everybody" which points toward Rick's power pop strengths. Overall the album is upbeat and well written. The only real downer it the suicide song, but it is a good dramatic downer so I love it. So if you only know Rick from the 80's hits, I recommend listening to this record to hear a completely different side of Rick. I think you'll like what you hear.

Enjoy!

01 Mother Can You Carry Me.m4a
02 Speak To The Sky.m4a
03 What Would The Children Think.m4a
04 1000 Years.m4a
05 The Unhappy Ending (Lead Me On).m4a
06 Hooky Jo.m4a
07 I Didn't Mean To Love You.m4a
08 Come On Everybody.m4a
09 Why_.m4a
10 The Ballad Of Annie Goodbody.m4a

Get the whole thing here Rick Springfield.zip

5 comments:

Jon said...

Great post! Your review was sincere and informative. I've always been a fan of the albums that Rick recorded prior to his breakthrough with Working Class Dog. In fact, his second album "Comic Book Heroes" is my personal favorite. That album was briefly released on Capitol before Rick made the switch to Columbia records the following year when the album was rereleased. I was lucky to find both pressings of that album. I have a vinyl copy of "Beginnings" but have had no luck finding a digital version of the album. In fact it's the only album of his that I don' t have digitally so I was happy to see someone had posted it. Unfortunately, the link does not seem to work anymore. Is there any chance it could be reposted?

Spencer said...

Can't remember if I ever sent you the link to this or not, but I reactivated the link. I'll leave it up for a while. Hope you like it.

marah1115 said...

Thanks a million for the link I have always loved this LP recorded it from a friend who had it and never could find it on CD so this is wonderful--Thanks again

Impatient Bastards said...

THANK YOU! I had the capitol reissue edition back in 1984 to 1986 and have been looking for another copy ever since. This NEEDS a CD release!

Anonymous said...

I had gotten Rick Springfield's 'beginnings' album as a gift when I was a kid, back then ..I love the record because it helped represent how great my childhood was. Beginnings' definitely sounds like the time it was released. it's a shame it was so overlooked. Rick Springfield was and still is to this day a song writing genius. Dean 2013.