Rick Springfield (nee Richard Lewis Springthorpe) was born in South Wentworthville, a suburb of Sydney, Australia to a career Australian army officer and his wife. He grew up in Australia and England and was bitten by the music bug early on.
He learned guitar at age 13, saw the Beatles at age 14, and his decision to perform was cemented. After playing with various bands in both the United Kingdom and Australia, Springfield decided to go solo in 1972. The singer signed with Sparmac Records and issued his debut solo single, Speak to the Sky, in October, which peaked at No. 5 on the Go-Set singles chart. Sparmac label owner, Robie Porter, was also Springfield’s producer and manager. After recording his debut album, Beginnings, in London, Springfield moved to the United States in mid-1972. Speak to the Sky, was released in October 1972 in the U.S. under the Capitol Records label. Springfield provided all the songwriting, lead vocals, guitar, keyboard, and banjo for the album.
However, follow-up success was hampered by rumors that Capitol Records paid people to purchase Springfield’s albums, which led to some radio stations boycotting his music.
Undaunted, Springfield wrote and released an additional album, but teen magazines had started promoting him as a teen idol, much to his dismay. Springfield wryly stated, “They were marketing me as a teen idol, when the stuff on the record was not what teen idols were doing at the time.” Tagged with the unwanted “teeny bopper” label, he focused on acting, and guest-starred in several primetime TV dramas through the 70s. Springfield made his acting debut on The Six Million Dollar Man on October 30, 1977, in an episode entitled “Rollback”.
In 1981, Springfield returned to music, and released the album Working Class Dog, which spawned the massive hit single Jessie’s Girl. However, he didn’t expect the album to do well, so he’d agreed to a role in General Hospital as Dr Noah Drake. Both the album, and the show were a huge success, and Springfield ended up playing the role on GH from 1981 to 1983, while simultaneously going on tour with his band. The success of the song boosted the ratings of the show which, according to Springfield, “became the biggest show on TV for that summer”. The fame from the show also boosted the sale of the song, which was a win/win for Springfield.
In 1984, Springfield wrote the soundtrack for his upcoming movie, Hard To Hold, and it seemed his future was secure. While the movie was mediocre, at best, the album did much better, producing the single Love Somebody. Springfield released another album before taking a musical hiatus to concentrate on acting, and also deal with his depression issues.
His life has not been without its dark moments, however, even attempting suicide at age 17. He later said of the attempt, “I hang suspended for fifteen or twenty seconds and am just sliding into unconsciousness when the knot tying the rope to the beam somehow unravels. I’m slammed hard to the concrete floor, rather the worse for wear.” He has also dealt with depression on and off for several decades, again contemplating suicide in 2017. Speaking candidly about his depression issues, he said in a recent interview, “I’m thankful for serendipitous moments in my life, where things could’ve gone the other way.”
Springfield married his wife Barbara in 1984, producing 2 sons, Liam and Joshua. He continues to write, record, and perform, and will be playing festivals with Richard Marx in summer 2021.
Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected]