November 27, 2018
For teenage girls in the early 1970’s, he was the heart-throbiest of heartthrobs. His female fans cried, screamed and swooned. The guys of the era attempted to imitate his hair and his clothes. And on November 27, 1970, his group’s song “I Think I Love You” sat atop the pop charts. The idol: David Cassidy.
His was a meteoric rise fueled, no doubt, by a combination of connections, classic good looks, and the ability to sing. Born in 1950 to actor parents Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward, his childhood was unusual in that he was mostly raised by his maternal grandparents while his parents traveled for work.
It was in 1956, at the age of six, two years after his parents’ divorce that he learned of the event! His father remarried that year and it was his father’s second marriage, to Broadway musical phenom Shirley Jones, which became Cassidy’s ticket to worldwide fame.
From the Infallible Wikipedia:
“On January 2, 1969, Cassidy made his professional debut in the Broadway musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling. It closed after four performances, but a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles. After signing with Universal Studios in 1969, Cassidy was featured in episodes of the television series Ironside, Marcus Welby, M.D., Adam-12 Medical Center and Bonanza.
“In 1970, Cassidy took the role of Keith Partridge, son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Cassidy’s real stepmother and series lead Shirley Jones. The Partridge Family series creator Bernard Slade and producers Paul Junger Witt and Bob Claver did not care whether Cassidy could sing, knowing only that his androgynous good looks would guarantee success. Shortly after production began, though, Cassidy convinced music producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough, and he was promoted to lead singer for the series’ recordings.”
The fever which gripped his fans was dubbed “Cassidymania.” Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:
“Ten albums by The Partridge Family and five solo albums were produced during the series, with most selling more than a million copies each. Internationally, Cassidy’s solo career eclipsed the already phenomenal success of The Partridge Family. He became an instant drawing card, with sellout concert successes in major arenas around the world. These concerts produced mass hysteria, resulting in the media coining the term ‘Cassidymania’.
For example, he played to two sellout crowds of 56,000 each at the Houston Astrodome in Texas over one weekend in 1972. His concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden sold out in one day and resulted in riots after the show. His concert tours of the United Kingdom included sellout concerts at Wembley Stadium in 1973. In Australia in 1974, the mass hysteria was such that calls were made to have him deported from the country, especially after the madness at his 33,000-person audience concert at Melbourne Cricket Ground.”
As is always the case, the mania eventually ends, and an aging idol is soon replaced with someone younger. Cassidy, however, continued as a singer/songwriter/actor, with a solid career well into the early 2000’s.
Sadly, he battled a lifelong alcohol addiction and it was this which destroyed his liver. He died on November 21, 2017, awaiting a liver transplant.
As a 13 year old girl in 1970, I was precisely the demographic which was all agog over David Cassidy. I never put up posters on my walls, however, but I did watch the Partridge Family almost every Friday night. And I might have had a teeny bit of a crush on Keith Partridge.
I Think I Love You is one of ‘those’ songs, instantly recognizable from the first chord and the compelling lyrics… Baa-baa-baa-baa, baa baa baa, baaaa… and one that I will forever associate with those awkward teenage years. In a good way.
For those who have forgotten or never seen any of the 1970’s sitcom or heard the song, enjoy! For the rest of us, it’s a trip down memory lane.
About David Cassidy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Cassidy
About The Partridge Family: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Partridge_Family