On November 21, we lost David Cassidy, the lead singer of the Partridge Family. We look back on the hit singles for the group, his solo singles and flip sides, including one co-written by Renee Armand, who shares her emotions.
By Warren Kurtz
“The Partridge Family” television show, based on the Cowsills, premiered on ABC in September of 1970. The following month, the group’s first single debuted in the Top 40. The song was “I Think I Love You,” written by Tony Romeo, who wrote “Indian Lake” for the Cowsills. As we saw with NBC’s “The Monkees” show in the ‘60s with the “Last Train to Clarksville” single, this TV music act’s debut single also became a number one million seller. On the song, David Cassidy sang about a fear of love and uncertainty. He and his stepmother Shirley Jones were the only television cast members who sang on the group’s albums on Bell records. Background singers included John and Tom Bahler from the Love Generation, who had ‘60s Top 100 singles “Groovy Summertime” and “Montage from ‘How Sweet It Is’ (I Knew That You Knew),” Robin Ward who had the Top 40 hit in the early ‘60s, “Wonderful Summer,” and Ron Hicklin. The musicians were studio musicians known as part of the Wrecking Crew.
In February of 1971, as “I Think I Love You” was leaving the Top 40, “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” entered the Top 40, and like its predecessor, would also become a million selling single. In addition to being included on the group’s second album, “Up to Date,” along with their next Top 10 single “I’ll Meet You Halfway,” it was also included on the K-Tel compilation “20 Power Hits Volume 2.”
Bottom right corner of the K-Tel album
When their second television season began, the Partridge Family’s fourth single, “I Woke Up in Love This Morning,” was in the Top 40, from their third album, “Sound Magazine,” with an album cover that was a parody of the teen magazine covers which featured David Cassidy and other members of the group.
In November of 1971, the group released their Christmas album, “A Partridge Family Christmas Card,” which opened with the Tony Romeo composition, “My Christmas Card to You.” That same month David Cassidy released his first solo single, his cover version of the Association’s “Cherish,” and like the original, also became a Top 10 gold single.
The second single from David Cassidy’s debut album “Cherish” was “Could It Be Forever,” co-written by Wes Ferrell, who also produced the album, as he did for the Partridge Family. David Cassidy brought beauty, power, and a controlled vocal vibrato to this second Top 40 hit for him in early 1972. The flip side, “Blind Hope,” one of three songs from the album written by Adam Miller, was equally powerful and beautiful. Mike Melvoin’s piano and orchestral arrangements provided a great backdrop.
Flip side: Blind Hope
A side: Could It Be Forever
Top 100 debut: February 19, 1972
Peak position: 37
The “Cherish” album also included David Cassidy’s version of “My First Night Alone Without You” written by the First Edition’s Kin Vassy, which would go on to be recorded by others including Jane Olivor as the featured song on her 1976 debut album, “First Night.”
Five more studio albums followed in the ‘70s for David Cassidy with his final album for the decade being “Gettin’ It in the Street” in 1976. David Cassidy co-produced the album with Gerry Beckley from the group America, who wrote that group’s hits “I Need You,” “Sister Golden Hair” and “Daisy Jane” in the first half of the decade. David Cassidy wrote or co-wrote most of the album including the title song and single “Getting’ It in the Street” with Gerry Beckley. Guitarist Mick Ronson, known for his work on David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album and collaborations with Ian Hunter, was featured on the recording.
German picture sleeve 1976
Flip side: I’ll Have to Go Away (Saying Goodbye)
A side: Gettin’ It in The Street
Top 100 debut: December 4, 1976
Peak position: 105
The flip side, also from the album, was “I'll Have to Go Away (Saying Goodbye),” originally heard in 1973 as a single by Canada’s Skylark, as their follow-up to their Top 10 hit single “Wildflower.” David Cassidy’s voice exuded mature depth and warmth on this composition from Renee Armand and former Union Gap member Kerry Charter. Renee Armand shared with Goldmine her emotional reaction in listening to David Cassidy’s version of her very first composition, after his passing. She stated, “When I heard this a few days ago I cried. I cried for the frightened, at the end of my rope girl I was when I was asked to bring some lyrics into A&M to be put with a writer, Kerry Chater, because I had never written a song, only sung a million of them since I was two and put on stages by my parents. Then I cried for him. As a singer, I can hear things in other’s voices. I cried for him because I could hear his age. His time. He wasn’t a kid anymore. He was a man, and I could hear his live, un-fixed vocal. He was singing from his heart. Like any really good singer, he was telling the truth. His truth. It hurt to hear it, and still, I am so completely, overwhelmingly proud of this beautiful man’s record of my first song. You have given me back my beginning as a songwriter, David. Thank you.”
At Goldmine, we have three more David Cassidy tributes to share:
Warren Kurtz is a Contributing Editor at Goldmine, known for “Fabulous Flip Sides” along with interviews, CD, DVD and book reviews. “Warren’s Fabulous Flip Sides” can be heard most Saturday mornings, in the 9 a.m. hour, Eastern time, on WVCR radio as part of “Moments to Remember.”