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Fabulous Flip Sides remembers David Cassidy with author Louise Poynton

Louise Poynton, author of new book "Cherish: David Cassidy a Legacy of Love," shares stories of the impact of David Cassidy and The Partridge Family on fans worldwide through their stories, photos, and sketches.
Poynton book cover

GOLDMINE: Congratulations on your new Unicorn Publishing Group book Cherish: David Cassidy A Legacy of Love. It is a wonderful looking book and bound so nicely. It is so colorful, but mainly thank you for the content. It is so entertaining.

LOUISE POYNTON: Oh well, thank you so much. That is really nice to hear. The response in the UK has been really wonderful and now I am excited about it coming out in America. I think it is time for this, with things we are facing in the world. People need something to lift their spirits. I am very humbled to be able to entertain people with this book and learn how much everybody loved and appreciated what David did.

GM: You heard from some key musicians and songwriters on David’s impact. Richie Furay talked about how David took a piece of a song from Souther Hillman Furay’s second album, “For Someone I Love,” and put it into his “Love in Bloom” song and gave Richie credit on this slow country rock song, which recalls Richie’s Buffalo Springfield and Poco days. Neil Sedaka co-wrote “Let the Good Times In” with Carol Bayer Sager, sounding like a Cowsills song, which was recorded by The Partridge Family, and he said he was honored.

LP: I contacted Richie through his website and he said he was very interested in speaking about David. I approached Neil’s wife and she passed it on to his manager and he sent me a lovely email saying that he was very happy to be included in the book and I was blown away. This was just so generous of both Richie and Neil.

Album cover of Wild Life by Wings on Apple, December 1971

Album cover of Wild Life by Wings on Apple, December 1971

GM: The song “Tomorrow” from Wings’ first album Wild Life is one that I had forgotten about, where they are sitting on a tree branch in a creek. I had Wild Life on reel to reel tape. This song was was mentioned by a U.S. fan Regina Chapman, who wrote that the song title was among her four tattoos of David Cassidy songs.

LP: That was from David’s album Home is Where the Heart Is. He had come over here to the UK to do a television show called Tiswas and he sang it live and it just blew people out of the water. His vocal range was just astonishing. Paul McCartney actually did say that David had taken his song to its full potential, which was incredible considering that The Beatles were David’s inspiration to pick up a guitar in the first place after seeing them on The Ed Sullivan Show. The following day, in 1964, his mom bought him an electric guitar. To think that your heroes praise you for doing their work all those years later is just a wonderful compliment. On the eve of the Wings Over America tour in the 1970s, David met Wings in Paris and jammed with them, playing “Long Tall Sally” and from the Let It Be album, “One After 909.”

GM: I love that song. In 1980, at work I was given a choice for an employee number in the 900 range. 909 was taken, so I took 910 as that is truly 1 after 909. About ten years ago I was in Canada and my friends Stewart, Ken and I saw Honeymoon Suite at an outdoor concert in Edmonton. Among their songs, I enjoy Rob Pruess’ keyboards on “Cold Look.” In your book, I learn of his inspiration from The Partridge Family and how he would listen to their music in the early 1970s on CKOC in Hamilton. I also listened to that station online often in the prior decade when they had an oldies format including Canadian oldies.

LP: It is amazing on how many people want to talk about David and his influence on their music careers.

GM: Around the same time as the Wings Over America tour was happening, David’s album The Higher They Climb, The Harder They Fall was released on RCA including the song “Get It Up for Love.” I just love that version. I first heard the song through the Canadian band Déjà Vu, which was the title tune of their second album, and I felt it was just too disco. I feel that David’s version is the right mix of a power pop and dance recording.

LP: “Get It Up For Love” did receive some banning due to the suggestive title and lyrics. That whole album that he produced with Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys is one of his best works and it is yet so unrecognized.

GM: I learned about the 1992 song “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” in the book from New Zealand fan Gail Mercer and also learned that the song was recorded by Heart and was unreleased, and also by Cher. I enjoy the blend he has with the female singer.

LP: She is singer-songwriter Treana Morris who did a lot of vocals on that CD called Didn’t You Used to Be. David co-wrote this one with his wife Sue Shiffrin along with John Wetton, who was in the band Asia. They also wrote the song “Prayin’ 4 a Miracle,” which Asia recorded.

GM: I have a fun Sue Shiffrin single, “All I Wanna Do” on the Motown Canada label, and I wrote a memorial on John Wetton when he passed recently. What a voice! In the book, people share their concert experiences and one that caught my eye was from the Ohio fan Scott Kalchert, who at the age of seven, around 1973, saw David at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I know that outdoor summer venue very well. My friends, my future wife at the time Donna, and I would go there often. It was the summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra, plus we saw Harry Chapin, Jackson Browne, Crosby & Nash, Wet Willie and Meat Loaf there. Another U.S. fan in the book, Yasmin Wendling, highlights the song “Ricky’s Tune” from David’s Cherish album which also became the flip side of David’s version of “How Can I Be Sure.” I like the photo she shared, too, with her story.

LP: David always said that he wrote “Ricky’s Tune” when his dog died, who was named Ricky, but there was an indication that the song was even more personal than that. He had recorded an acoustic version of it in his early years but it has never been released and is one of the songs that the fans would love to get their hands on.

David with Yasmin Wendling in Las Vegas, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

David with Yasmin Wendling in Las Vegas, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: His song “Crazy Over You” is another unreleased gem that someone has fortunately posted on YouTube.

LP: That’s a superb song and should have been released as a single. It was played as a demo on a radio station in Los Angeles in 1990 and the saxophone on it is out of this world. He actually found the saxophone player on a trip here busking in the London Underground. He gave him a few pounds and asked, “Can you come to this place where I am recording a song and play your saxophone?” He turned up, played what he was asked, and gave him a few quid for it and there you go.

GM: On February 2, in the U.S. we had a big football game known as the Super Bowl on television. Our daughter Brianna and I were watching it, but muted it at 7 p.m. to listen to The Goldmine Radio Hour online on Cygnus Radio where our magazine editor Pat Prince and his DJ friend Ron Webb highlight songs from our current issue. In our February issue, our pop writer John Borack reviewed the new collection of David’s music from his years on the Bell label. Ron chose the song “All I Wanna Do Is Touch You,” the flip side of “Cherish,” which was not included on the Cherish album, to play for the show. That was our favorite song in the hour. What a fun and catchy song.

LP: It is a great song. It sounds more like a Patridge Family song. We consider it as possibly one of the unreleased songs that The Partridge Family might have recorded and there are around 200 tracks that fans would love to have which include alternate versions or demos. It was the flip side of the “Cherish” single throughout most of the world, but in the UK, we had “Could It Be Forever” as the flip side.

Poynton 45

David Cassidy

Flip side: All I Wanna Do is Touch You

A side: Cherish

Top 100 debut: November 6, 1971

Peak position: No. 9

Bell 45, 150

GM: What a double sided single “Cherish” and “Could It Be Forever” must have been in the UK. In the U.S. “Could It Be Forever” was David’s next Top 40 single with “Blind Hope” as its flip side which I featured in my Goldmine Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam piece on David. U.S. fan Kaity Floyd wrote a special memorial based on “Could It Be Forever” for the book.

LP: Yes, so touching. In the UK, we regarded “Cherish” and “Could It Be Forever” as double A side single.

Kaity Floyd, U.S., courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

Kaity Floyd, U.S., courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: UK fan Karen Byrom wrote about getting the Cherish album as a Christmas gift from her parents, growing up. What a wonderful first side that album has with “Could It Be Forever” and “Blind Hope” back to back and the final song “My First Night Alone Without You,” which I didn’t learn until 1976 through the singer Jane Olivor on her debut album and it became my favorite song of that year. I had no idea that David had recorded it four years prior, and I just love that song.

LP: He delivered it with so much emotion.

David with Karen Byrom in Glascow, 2002, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

David with Karen Byrom in Glascow, 2002, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: A song that David delivers from 1976 with such emotion is “I’ll Have to Go Away (Saying Goodbye)” which I first learned by the Canadian band Skylark as their next single after their hit “Wildflower.” This was another of David’s flip sides that you know I featured in my In Memoriam piece.

LP: The wider public have no conception, outside of a strong fan base, on how deep his musical talent went. People think of him as a teen idol and a good looking lad. He could actually sing really, really well. He was also such a talented guitarist, drummer, and pianist. We are missing a lot of live music from him where you would hear his drum solos on tracks like “I’m a Man,” which were astonishing.

Photo by Ed Caraeff, Iconic Images, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

Photo by Ed Caraeff, Iconic Images, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: The band Chicago’s version of “I’m a Man” is so powerful and on that one and “Beginnings” the drums are key. I can imagine David live capturing that essence.

LP: Yes and on guitar he would perform Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck songs, too. His talent went a lot deeper than that all American boy image.

Live in the UK, photo by Barry Plummer, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

Live in the UK, photo by Barry Plummer, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: The memorial billboard of the crying partridge is a perfect and beautiful tribute.

LP: It is quite a story in the book from Randy Fung and I was so pleased to also get his original drawings published. I had a long telephone interview with Randy where he told me that he still had those drawings. It illustrates how he was thinking and how one simple idea could evolve. When you look at the billboard you know exactly what the message is. I heard from people who were driving along the highway in the U.S. and weren’t aware of what happened and went, “Oh my God! Does that mean that David’s died?”

Billboard photo by Randy Fung, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

Billboard photo by Randy Fung, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: I also enjoy the sketches and artwork from the fans included in the book.

LP: Thank you. I had the idea in 2014 and started to collect all these stories, but with other commitments I had to back off from it, but I always came back to it. In early 2016, I started to do it in earnest and it was coming together really well and then David got ill and then he died. I took six months off at that point. During that time I noticed this tsunami of love coming through and this really deep hurt that people were feeling. It just changed the whole dynamics of what I was doing. The fans were starting to send me things that were so more profound and deeper about their own lives and were being so honest. For many it turned out to be a healing process. I found it to be so moving on the role this man had in their lives. A number of guys who came forward said they couldn’t talk about David Cassidy in their teens because they would have been beaten up in school, but have always loved his music, and because of him became songwriters and because of him decided to play guitar and have a career in music. In a way it is a standing ovation to David’s life and it is a huge thank you from every fan.

Sketches by Edi La Rosa Saliba, Australia, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

Sketches by Edi La Rosa Saliba, Australia, courtesy of Louise Poynton and Unicorn

GM: There is a common theme throughout the book of the impact of David on people’s lives.

LP: Yes there is. My mother who is 88 has read the book. I can’t see her in person now because of all this coronavirus business, but she told me on the telephone, “I am hearing their voices when I am reading the book and can hear their emotion.” It is all written in the first person with an overall theme on how much they loved him and how underappreciated he seemed to be.

GM: Each December do you play The Partridge Family’s song “My Christmas Card to You?”

LP: I certainly do. When the album came out in 1971, it had a Christmas card on the cover in a slot. I took the card out and put it on the mantle. For quite a few years that Christmas card would have its place among all the other Christmas cards that would come. That is one of the greatest songs never released as a single. It was a masterpiece on that album. It was the best selling Christmas album in 1971 and was No. 1 for multiple weeks. Tony Romeo, who wrote that song, was such a master of storytelling and he also wrote “I Think I Love You,” which started it all for The Partridge Family and David Cassidy. Here in the UK, we never thought of him as Keith Partridge but as David Cassidy, the pop star. So many people here wanted to record him. David Bowie, Elton John and others expressed their interest. Mick Ronson and David were going to form a band in the late 1970s but that never happened. I remember interviews with Elton John having such an appreciation for his talent and stating that he wanted to record him. They did jam together on stage in New Zealand in 1974 on David’s world tour. Elton John was in town at the same time and they played a whole selection of songs together. David’s work as a live artist was at its peak in that era. Whenever he would peform Partridge Family songs on stage, he would perform them the way he wanted to sing them, not the way they were originally recorded. Some of the songs would be given a full Chicago band-type treatment with a backing filled with brass. I saw him first in 1973, then 1974 and didn’t see him in concert again until 2002 and then for a final time in 2004, all in the UK. It was interesting on the long gap between 1974 and 2002, as soon as he was on the stage, I was a teenager again. He didn’t have his long hair or skin tight suit but he ran onto the stage and for one more night I could be fifteen years old again. People want to remember the good days. Photographers went into their attics and shared photos of David they hadn’t seen in over forty years for the book. There are so many fan magazine covers in the book too that people may remember. Thank you so much for your time and interest and I hope people in America will enjoy the book.

Related links:

Goldmine Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam-David Cassidy

Goldmine album review David Cassidy-The Bell Years 1972-1974

Goldmine feature David Cassidy April 12, 1950-November 21, 2017

Goldmine I Wanna Be David Cassidy-Ken Sharp