Induct David Cassidy into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
We request that the superstar of the 1970s to be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. It is now in 2020, 50 years since he had his first number one hit record, I Think I Love You.
Often imitated, never matched, David Cassidy's music has stood the test of time. His solo albums, which were far more rock than pop, reflected his creativity both as a songwriter and a producer. David's first solo album, Cherish, and the title of his first number one hit of the same name, is also the title of a book of cherished memories gathered from friends, colleagues, fellow musicians, broadcasters and journalists who endorse his underrated and under appreciated talent as reflected in the thousands of comments and observations on this petition.
David sold more than 30million albums and collected in excess of 24 gold and platinum records. This includes four consecutive multi-platinum albums.
David was the first recording star to be globally merchandised – a one man brand – which set the standards musically and culturally for many who followed in his footsteps. He inspired a generation of rock musicians through his solo career and live shows. Now that David has passed into the Rock 'n' Roll Heaven it becomes even more important that his contribution to the history of American (and worldwide) music, and his personal legacy is not ignored any longer.
David was the world’s highest paid performer by the age of 21, and had the biggest fan club on the planet. Breaking box office records at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where his show sold out in 40 minutes (1972); the Houston Astrodome where he played to two sell-out crowds in one day; London’s Wembley Empire Pool (1973) where he sold out a record six shows in three days; Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia (1974) where the hysteria was so intense it was compared to World War III amid calls for him to be deported; and White City Stadium in London the same year. He stopped traffic everywhere he went across New Zealand, Australia, the Far East, Europe and the United States.
David’s outstanding voice and memorable recordings have meant a great deal to many people over four decades. There will never be a unique voice such as his. His musical contributions have been, and continue to be a crucial, special and important part of rock culture. His fan base worldwide was bigger at its height in the 1970s than those of Elvis and The Beatles, and there remains a loyal fan base. There was further proof of this when he died in November, 2017, with huge respect and admiration being paid to him from the giants of the music industry and the worlds of sport, the arts, politics and entertainment. It may have been his looks that first won the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world, but it was his unique voice and music that won everyone, inspiring many to forge a musical career.
The energy and excitement surrounding the work of the boy from New York City has allowed him to be at the forefront of the industry for more than 40 years. He is the most deserving yet overlooked artist of his generation whose writing, arrangements and production of his solo albums are regarded as among the very best from a solo artist.
There is something magical that happens when a star like David emerges, when something or someone captures the imagination of millions of people. It is something that goes beyond a hit record: it touches the world musically and culturally.
David was at the epicentre of this in the 1970s when the whole world went crazy for him and his exceptional singing voice, and he has been an artist not just of the 70s, but every decade since. No one, least of all David himself, expected that level of success but talent will always shine through. It will always last.
And no one would ever have guessed the laser beam trajectory of his career or the immense talent which emerged from such a slight frame. These facts cannot be denied and when he was given the opportunity to star in a television family sitcom series which would change the direction of his career, the world was ready for this new superstar. From planning to be serious actor and having won major roles in series such as Bonanza, Marcus Welby MD and Ironside, he was thrust into the limelight as the all-American boy in The Partridge Family.
Although initially there were no plans to have him sing in the series, he insisted he could sing. An audition before Wes Farrell, who had penned hits such as Hang on Sloopy, and who would be responsible for the Partridge Family sound, opened up a whole new world for the 19-year-old actor, now poised to become a global singing star.
Thanks to David’s persistence in allowing him to sing in the television series which became a phenomenon in itself, there is no question David’s unique voice played a pivotal role in its success. His lead vocals saw the Family enjoy seven chart-topping hits which started with I Think I Love You. Other singles included Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted, I Woke Up In Love This Morning and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.
In 1970, his first recording, I Think I Love You was the biggest selling single, outselling classic recordings such as Let It Be and Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was voted Single of the Year. Written by some of the world’s best songwriters, the PF songs have their own place in pop history thanks to David’s delivery of the lyrics and his vocal range.
David was profoundly influenced by many of the great singers, groups and songwriters he grew up listening to and like them, his music will continue to mean something many years from now. Many of them including Neil Sedaka and Carole King penned songs and members of the Wrecking Crew played on Partridge Family records including two of their members, drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer who were among the inaugural "Sidemen" inductees into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Without the television hit series, David Cassidy as a singer would not exist. Without him there would have been no musical legend which helped launch his outstandingly successful singing career. Without him many musicians would never have found a career in music.
In each decade, David has been completely in tune with the times and in the 1970s was the most popular and idolised solo performer worldwide in the history of popular music. You can wait around and hope but you will never see the likes of David Cassidy again. Musically, his influence on other artists, the quality of his work, the variety of the David Cassidy Songbook, his constant desire to be creative complemented by the leading writers and musicians he has worked with – many actually asked to work with him – is testament to how much his peers value his work.
There has always been something about his innocence in talking about what he did so superlatively well, and despite his magnificent attempt to be seen and act as an ordinary American man - he is in fact the most extraordinary American man. Ultimately he has always remained true to himself, and the orchestral hallmarks of his solo arrangements on many David Cassidy album tracks provide further illustration of his genius in the recording studio.
David has written many, many songs through which he has expressed some pretty raw emotions allowing his music to tell the story of his life and loves. He paints a wonderful, absorbing picture with his voice, a masterpiece in itself worthy of such an accolade as this.
The content of his song writing has helped him to navigate a path through difficult personal experiences, revealing some exceptional work, and allowing a generation to find themselves. New fans constantly discover him for the first time and that speaks volumes about his music.
He could work wonders with any song. As a singer he has always performed with the passion and compassion of the greatest - he is one singular sensation. They remain some of the most under-rated songs in pop history and it cannot be any coincidence that some of the songwriters who contributed to that success are already inducted into the Hall of Fame.
When he stepped out of the shadow of such teenage idolatry to prove his worth as a solo performer, musician (piano, guitar and drums) and songwriter, David attracted a great deal of respect setting the standard for many male solo singers to follow. The man knows how to entertain, a born showman hailing from a family of actors.
His father Jack Cassidy and mother Evelyn Ward were both well-known on stage and he was working towards his career as a serious actor when the audition came through for a new television series. It was pure coincidence that on winning the role that would change his life in the Partridge Family he would star alongside his real-life step-mother Shirley Jones.
As a solo artist David has written and performed what have become some of the greatest rock songs and entertained millions across the world with his electric, spellbinding concerts. His hit singles as a solo artists included Cherish, Could It Be Forever, How Can I Be Sure, Rock Me Baby and Lyin’ To Myself. His 2004 CD Then and Now, a recording of his best songs over 30 years, was a top five success and reached platinum status.
Reflecting on his legacy, David said: "I was hoping to have a little more respect and fans would get where I was coming from. I had a deep blues influence. I loved Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Muddy Waters. What I was inspired by was very different from the pop hits my fans knew. It's not a complaint. I'm so thankful things went so well for me. But there was more to me than meets the eye."
David has written, and sung, everything from ballads to rock, jazz to pop and while his musical work on Broadway, London’s West End and Las Vegas along with his composition of tv themes cannot be underestimated showing his incredible versatility, it is his unique contribution to rock and roll which is what this is all about.
That says a great deal about his appeal and popularity, of course, but his longevity in the business is unlikely to be matched by many of today’s solo artists. It would be just fitting, and so right, for a great American such as David, to be inducted into the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame where his part in rock history can be cemented. Historically, David’s contribution to music over more than 40 years, has to be recognised.
His music, lyrics and production have been long-lasting in the industry. Working with Kim Carnes and Dave Ellingson his solo career took on another dimension with the Rock Me Baby album but it was his Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes third solo album which set new standards and was in the best seller lists in Germany, the UK, Australia and South Africa as a more mature David Cassidy emerged showing the genius in him which made the unexpected in his music sound inevitable.
Working with Bruce Johnston, the pair co-produced The Higher They Climb, The Harder They Fall an album David was particularly proud of; the rise and fall of a rock ‘n roll star. It included the haunting Massacre at Park Bench, a dialogue he came up with with Phil Austin, of the comedy group The Firesign Theatre. “Through the songs I tried to tell the story of this all-American kid – me, of course – who lives the American dream that goes wrong. It was the most honest artistic statement I’ve ever made,” he wrote in his autobiography.
Feeling creative for the first time in a career where he had been told in the main what to record, David started working with Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell from the band America – both working with David on his 1976 album Home Is Where the Heart Is. Again produced with Johnston, the album also featured Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (Turtles), Harry Nilsson and Ricky Fataar, Richie Furay and Carl Wilson. David wrote seven on the 10 tracks, two with Beckley. Mick Ronson played lead guitar on the title track from the 1976 album Getting It In the Street which was released as a single.
David has also sung backing vocals with artists such as America, Richie Furay, Randy Meisner, Jim Krieger, Ted Gardestad and The Doobie Brothers. David’s Romance album, which was not released in the States, put him back in the charts in the UK in 1985, with George Michael singing on The Last Kiss which peaked at No 6 and charted across Europe and Australia. Alan Tarney produced the album and with David wrote nine of the 10 tracks.
David’s first US album release in 14 years happened in 1990 with a self-titled album which was complemented with a longed-for tour.
His next album Didn’t You Used To Be, continued to show his song writing abilities and vocal range and new songs also appeared on his 1998 release Old Trick New Dog with his Classic Songs CD revealing his vocal range. The Then and Now album, released in 2002, reached No 5 in the UK with new recordings of songs previously released on other albums. This was followed by A Touch of Blue and David Cassidy Part II – The Remix a dance album in 2007.
He continued to tour in the States and Europe to packed houses offering a celebration of his music and cherished memories that echo across time. Musical excellence is the essential qualification for the Hall of Fame, and David Cassidy has always been about the music – the artistry, the audience experience and always the creative entity. We have been blessed to have truly appreciated his phenomenal talent for decades. Music is his soul and has touched many lives in unforgettable ways.
We the undersigned call upon the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to INDUCT DAVID CASSIDY.
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