Audio Autopsy, 1976: David Cassidy, "Gettin' It in the Street"-Beach Boys, America & Mick Ronson Influenced LP + the Unreleased "Then I'll Be Someone" by Carl Wilson/Tandyn Almer
A worldwide superstar for 5 years (1970-74), many of David Cassidy's fans seemed unwilling to "get" David 2.0. Fellow rockers, though, knew his talent, and lined up to record with him.
There are two types of people in this world, at least from a psychological POV: Those who view the glass as half-full, and those who see the glass as half-empty. This phenomenon is called perception, and our perceptions profoundly impact how we experience life. At least, that’s Jessica Estrada’s perception from her WellandGood.com article from February 2020.
“Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality,” says Linda Humphreys, PhD, a psychologist and life, relationship, and spirituality coach. “Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.”
It’s also not fair…which is probably why it sucks. If perception really was reality, David Cassidy’s name would be uttered with the reverence usually reserved for the Bowies, the Eltons, and all the other multi-talented singer/performing Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famers from the last several decades.
Instead, his name, when mentioned (and perceived by many, if not most of the music-listening public in the 21st century), is greeted with derision and probably a slight giggle and a sneer (except by millennials and those slightly older who have no idea who he was, and think The Partridge Family is some kind of ground-dwelling game bird featured on the Planet Earth DVD around the turn of the century, with narration intoned by David Attenborough).
The Willie Dixon standard, “Back Door Man,” may hold the secret:
Well, the men don't know,
But the little girls, they understand.
While Willie was likely tending to the screen door at the other end of his Mississippi shotgun cottage, he also was referring to the very notion of rock star adulation…the reason Liverpool’s Quarrymen picked up guitars in the first place: “To pull the birds.”
What explains David’s massive, planet-wide Partridge-fueled “Cassidy-mania” can also help us grok the professional relationships he had in his post-1974 Cassidy/solo recording landscape (now sans screaming post-pubertal girls) and his sudden new-found fandom, with lines up the street and around the corner made up of fellow musicians anxious to write, play, and perform with him.
To paraphrase Dixon: The record-buying public doesn’t know; but, the card-carrying AFofM local/NARAS/Hall-of-Fame members understand.
What Did They Get “The Rest of Us” Didn’t?
That David Cassidy was, in his prime, a generational guitar and keyboard player, surprisingly sophisticated songwriter, achingly emotive singer, and just all-around nice guy who couldn’t take a bad photograph. Richard Marx and Bryan Adams woulda killed for that bio on the back of their 8x10s!
But, with limited vocal prowess and songwriting creativity, and in one case, pock marks from adolescence, they sold millions. But, they’re perceived (because of their respective sales ledgers…only) as brilliant, “good” musicians (and, maybe they were…a debate for another treatise)! And, we’re back to the dubious nature of perceptions.
David Solo: It Took RCA 3 Albums in 2 Years to Assess
Still skeptical? Incredulous and not budging? Exhibit A: David’s 1976 album (and third and last for RCA Records), Getting It in the Street. The hard radio stats and sales figures-reality began to set in: No label would again release a Cassidy album in the US until 1990.
And, even the UK (where he’s always been solo-huge) wouldn’t see a DC CD until a decade later, with 1985’s Romance, with songs written with and produced by veteran recording artist/performer, Alan Tarney. George Michael even took time off from Wham to sing on a song!
From Cassidy’s 2007 autobiography, Could It Be Forever?, David talks about Mick Ronson and his involvement on the album:
“His style was so different. There was nothing conventional about what he did, which is why it was so interesting. I think he was very flattered that I wanted him to play, but I think he was worried that [his] fan base in that avant garde, Velvet Underground kind of world was going to [abandon] him if he went too mainstream--from being David Bowie’s sideman to David Cassidy’s sideman. And, I don’t think he was wrong. But, we had great fun together.”
Gerry Beckley in the book: “David and I were such big Mick Ronson fans. David had been a megastar around the world, but particularly in England. Mick had quite a bit to say during those sessions. I remember there was a song we were going back and forth on for this album that was written by Tandyn Almer, who had written “Along Comes Mary.” David was fond of this song [“Then I’ll Be Someone”], and I think we’d cut the track, and Mick came in and said, ‘What is that crap?’. Immediately it was off the album because David held Mick in such high esteem. Everybody had a voice, and this was a circle of people that David highly respected.”
See Weronika’s photo sent by e-mail of a page from DC’s autobio about nixing the song! I’ve already downloaded and saved the pic.
On tips by FR&B subscribers Weronika Cyrynger and Louise Poynton.
DC’s LP, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_It_in_the_Street
***Yes it's from 'Could It Be Forever?', 2007, the most important for me is the fact you are going to write about DC (not for the first time of course). There is sth very moving in that song and I've read once at the Beach Boys forum (they are amazing people, the Beach Boys' fans) and they were talking about that particular song and about Tandyn Almer being an author. It was a very agitated discussion, and they also were so astonished that DC was such a good singer. Thanks again. Weronika****