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David Cassidy — Fame Kills

Photo by Ellidge/Express/Getty Images)
Photo by Ellidge/Express/Getty Images)

When David Cassidy was enjoying his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, I was a touring musician. In other words, when ‘The Partridge Family” was on TV, I was out seeing the country from the comfort of a Dodge Maxi-Van stuffed with 5 musicians. Like many “real musicians” we were all very dismissive of the new teen star and immediately dismissed Cassidy as all looks and no talent. That sentiment was shared by many people for various reasons.

Well, many years have passed since those days and, over the years, those who cared enough to pay attention started to take Cassidy seriously. Not Bob Dylan seriously, but it soon became apparent that Cassidy was thrust into a fame he didn’t want. Playing the part of Keith Partridge was tantamount to being one of the Monkees. I don’t care what you do, you’re always going to be classified as a lightweight. Cassidy knew that he wasn’t a lightweight, but only his hardcore teen fans paid much attention to his new music. See what I mean? Nobody ever took him seriously.

Can you imagine living under all that pressure? You’re barely out of your teens and suddenly everybody knows who you are. Cassidy wasn’t making much money playing Keith Partridge, but the fame alone is more than enough to do the damage it always seems to do. So few stars recover from being Teen Idols.

David Cassidy reminded me of an actor who gets type-cast. I had a friend that was a pretty well known young actor in the 60s. After the show he was on got cancelled, every single casting director he tried to see told him they didn’t need any smart-mouth typed kid. He never got a chance to show that he could really act.

The same was true of Cassidy. the poor guy spent his entire adult live partly in world-wide fame and partly trying to live down the fact that he played a musician on a TV show. Like many Teen Idols before him, he could have written the greatest song ever heard and the producers would have been figuring out how to market the song to 12 year-old girls.

I don’t know if this rambling diatribe has any particular point. It’s just that, recently, with all the scandals going on in Hollywood and Washington, the one thing that the never ending litany of names has in common is that, in one way or another, they have all achieved a measure of fame. It just seems that fame always has a victim.

I’m not going to slam the man or his music. David Cassidy made more people happy than many “serious” musicians ever did. Perhaps you outgrew the man and his music, but if you were part of that generation, every time you hear, “C’mon Get Happy”, you turn it up.





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