David and Another Thing

Embed from Getty Images

(Note to patrons: following this post, this blog is going on hiatus. Posting will resume in early December . . . unless somebody else dies before then.)

On November 21, 1970, “I Think I Love You” by the Partridge Family hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. But because Billboard was always a bit behind the street and is just one chart besides, the charts available at ARSA tell a more complete and accurate story.

The first station to list “I Think I Love You” was WLCY in Tampa, on a survey dated August 31. KREL in Corona, California, followed on September 2. The first city to go nuts over the record was Seattle, where KJR and KOL both debuted it on September 18. Two other major Top 40 stations, KFRC in San Francisco and KOIL in Omaha, charted it days before The Partridge Family debuted on ABC on September 25, 1970. So did KCPX in Salt Lake City, where it blasted to #1 in three weeks, on the chart dated October 6—before the record had even made the Hot 100. KJR moved it to #1 on its survey dated October 9.

“I Think I Love You” debuted on the October 10 Hot 100 at #75 (the same week WRIG in Wausau, Wisconsin, charted it at #1) and slow-cooked for the rest of the month, going from #75 to #60 to #41. But on October 31, it vaulted into the Top 40 at #17, then went to #7, #4, and finally #1. Its reach across the country was fast, and massive: WLS and WCFL in Chicago both charted it at #1 for the week of November 2. By November 21, it had also reached #1 in Seattle, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Vancouver, Houston, Detroit, Akron, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Memphis, Winnipeg, Syracuse, Miami, San Diego, Boston, Fort Wayne, Flint, Grand Rapids, Toronto, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Fresno, Hartford, and Columbus (where WCOL would make it the #1 song for all of 1970, as would KOL in Seattle). It topped charts in smaller cities too, from Altoona, Pennsylvania, to Muncie, Indiana.

“I Think I Love You” would spend three weeks at #1 and six additional weeks in the Top 10 after that before going 11-15-22-25 and out. During its last week on the Hot 100, February 13, 1971, “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” debuted at #57, and another rocket ride began.

The Partridge Family was must-see-TV at my house; both my brother and I bought Partridge records and other swag in 1971, the year we turned 11 and 9—solidly in the Partridge demographic. I needn’t rehash my adult fondness for the family’s music: played by members of the Wrecking Crew and with vocals by the top session singers in Hollywood, it was far better-made than it needed to be. Neither do I need to revisit its place in the mythology of this blog: “I Think I Love You” was one of the 45s I got for Christmas in 1970.

And on November 21, 2017, 47 years to the day since “I Think I Love You” hit #1, David Cassidy died.

Any online obituary you choose to read will sketch the outlines of Cassidy’s career, so I’m not going to do it here. One thing I will do is suggest you listen to his 1990 Top 40 return, “Lyin’ to Myself,” which is clearly an artifact of its time but worth four minutes nevertheless. I’ll say instead that 47 years after it exploded into American popular culture like a polyester-and-puka-shell bomb, David Cassidy’s Keith-Partridge early-70s young-man cool endures. Who wouldn’t want to look like him, dress like him, or sing like him? I did. And I do.

About that other thing . . . .

Each day’s news brings another depressing development, but the apparent end of net neutrality and the dawn of a new Internet clogged with tollgates is particularly awful. The consequences of this decision, (which, despite all of the “save net neutrality” stuff you’re seeing, is a foregone conclusion—it cannot be stopped except by Congressional action, and you know that ain’t happening), both intended and unintended, are going to be vast and terrible.

The “tell” in the whole thing is the FCC chair’s statement that he intends to lift “Obama-era” regulations. It doesn’t matter if any proposal is a good or bad idea on its merits: if it erases something Barack Obama did in office, it’s good by definition. If Obama had discovered a rogue asteroid was headed toward Earth and had sent a space probe to stop it, Trump would call it back and let the damn thing blow us up. Which, given what his administration and the Congressional GOP are doing to this country, isn’t the worst outcome I can imagine.

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3 responses

  1. David was my first love and my first pin up, on the back of my bedroom door. I listen to the Partridges even today, because the pop craftsmanship of the records is so good. Looking forward to reading you again in December–enjoy your time off. We’re still reading, so don’t give up on us, baby! :)

  2. […] victim in the music world nearly every week. I wrote about Glen Campbell, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Vic Damone, and Walter […]

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