Musician/actor/producer David Cassidy has performed for some 40 years -- after first breaking into the big time as a singing teen heartthrob on the 1970s ABC show The Partridge Family. Cassidy was one of the first personalities to be merchandised and marketed worldwide, and recorded ten Partridge Family and five solo albums during the show’s five-year run.
Davy Jones, who held his own heartthrob status as part of the The Monkees TV show and band in the late '60s, was originally slated for the Kenley date. He was struck down unexpectedly by a heart attack at age 66 on Feb. 29.
Cassidy and Jones had performed together several times over the years and were close friends: "A month after he passed away, we were actually scheduled to do a show together," said Cassidy. "We were working out the details shortly before he died. So when that happened, I was glad to help. Other than having Danny (Bonaduce) open for me a couple times, Davy is the only one I'd shared a stage with. And his fans and my fans are very supportive of each other."
In their previous performances, Jones had always opened for him.
"This time, I said to him, 'Listen, man, why don't I go on first, then you do your set, and I'll join you for the last couple of songs?' I felt weird about always closing for him, because of me being more famous or whatever, because he was insanely talented. And the venues we were going to play were OK with it, and we were set to go. And then he was gone. So when his agent called and asked me to do this, to rehearse a tribute to him, I didn't hesitate."
Knock at the door
A few years younger than Jones, Cassidy was a fan of Jones and his work on The Monkees' television series and albums: "Those memories are very special to me," said Cassidy, "I can remember driving in a car, as a teenager in L.A., and listening to their music on the radio -- great music. It is an amazing thing to perform this music, have this connection with this music from my early years, before I became a professional myself. The whole thing is really very emotional for me."
Cassidy first met Jones when one day, completely out of the of the blue, Jones knocked on Cassidy's door. This was in the early 1970s, when Cassidy's own fame was in full blush, but after Jones' mega-stardom was waning.
"His career was really in a frustrating place then," said Cassidy. "So he just wanted to come in and feel me out and see what I was about, who I was."
"Well, I was stunned, flabbergasted, having been a fan myself. I welcomed him in. I think he understood we would have a connection. We did, of course. He understood what I was going through then -- and also knew the kind of frustration I would go through after 'The Partridge Family' went away. "
More than a Monkee
"That word -- Monkee -- it connotes something kind of silly, or clownish. And of course, they were fun and funny, but they made some great music that still holds up. Individually, I thought they were all talented, but together? Amazing. And they had some comeback shows later that showed what they were really made of. It is a tribute to them that they finally got the respect they deserved.
"But back then, before the comeback happened, Davy was hurting. He told me, 'The Monkees were great, but they ruined my acting career.' He was a very good theatrical actor when he was young -- played on the West End as the Artful Dodger, a fantastic role, and in many others. But he couldn't go back to that, after The Monkees. He was too closely identified with that role. And of course, not too many years after that day he first came to see me, I went through something very similar. His friendship helped me deal with it."
Cassidy and Jones stayed close over the years, sharing an interest in thoroughbred breeding and racing, as well as music and acting. During the last five years, as they performed shows together, they grew even closer.
"I have nothing but great memories of knowing him. He was able to let down a lot of his barriers, and that helped me to do the same. We could share it all."
(This article was reprinted from the Standard-Examiner with journalist Linda East Brady's permission. The original article, which appeared on June 29, 2012 was more extensive and has been shortened. Linda East Brady is a novelist, music journalist and radio host. She is the music writer for the Ogden Standard-Examiner, and has also written about music for numerous other publications. Linda also co-hosts an Americana radio show, “Sunday Sagebrush Serenade,” for KRCL FM.
Her fiction appears under the name L. E. Brady. Her short story, “Continental Club Graffiti,” appeared in the Mid-South Literary Review. Her first novel, “Lone Star Ice & Fire,” was published in 2004 by Coral Press. Her follow-up book, “The Pedigree Blues,” is due out soon from the same publisher. She lives with her husband and family in Ogden, Utah.)