Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield (born Aug. 23, 1949) is an Australian singer, songwriter, and actor with a musical career that dates back to the late 1960s. He rose to prominence in his home country as one-fourth of the beat/psych combo Zoot.

In 1972, Springfield moved to the U.S. and launched a solo career with back-to-back albums on Capitol. By decade’s end, he parlayed his showbiz contacts into television roles, including that of Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital. With this newfound recognition, he topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 with “Jessie’s Girl” and remained a chart mainstay through the first half of the eighties.


Springfield was born Richard Lewis Springthorpe on August 23, 1949, in South Wentworthville, an outer western suburb of Sydney. His father, Norman James Springthorpe, was an Australian Army serviceman who moved the family to England for five years (1958–63) while stationed there. Rick took up guitar at age 13 and joined his first bands while in England.

Back in Australia, Springfield saw The Beatles at Melbourne’s Festival Hall in June 1964. At age 18, he joined the band Rockhouse, which changed its name to MPD Ltd and played in South Vietnam for Australian troops. Springfield and MPD drummer Danny Finley formed Wickedy Wak, which cut the 1969 Sunshine Records single “Billie’s Bikie Boys” (b/w “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”). It features backing vocals by Beeb Birtles, then bassist–singer of pop-rockers Zoot.

In September 1969, Springfield joined Zoot as guitarist and co-vocalist alongside Birtles and guitarist–singer Daryl Cotton. They scored hits with Rick’s “Hey Pinky,” an ode to their pink satin image, and a hard-rocking version on “Eleanor Rigby.” After their 1971 monster-psych single “Freak,” the band split. (Birtles formed Mississippi, followed by the long-running Little River Band).

Springfield debuted as a solo artist in October 1971 with the single “Speak to the Sky” (b/w “Why?”), released in Australia on Sparmac Records, founded by ex-singer Robie Porter, who produced and manage Springfield. After recording the rest of his debut album in London, Springfield moved to the U.S. in mid-1972.


Discography:

  • Rick Springfield (1972)
  • Comic Book Heroes (1973)
  • Mission Magic! (1974)
  • Wait for Night (1976)
  • Working Class Dog (1981)
  • Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet (1982)
  • Living in Oz (1983)
  • Beautiful Feelings (1984)
  • Hard to Hold (OST, 1984)
  • Tao (1985)
  • Rock of Life (1988)

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