Back in the early ’70s, Friday was a big television night for me. There was no school the next day, so my parents would let me and my brother stay up past 8 p.m. and watch TV. The Partridge Family was appointment viewing back then.
Losing David Cassidy at the age of 67 is a little bit like losing a piece of that childhood. His voice makes up a large part of the soundtrack of my childhood, whether it was telling me to “C’mon Get Happy” or trying to reach “Echo Valley 2-6809.” I remember singing “I Think I Love You” and “I Woke Up In Love This Morning.”
I wasn’t old enough to understand the comedy of Keith Partridge being chased by girls. I didn’t get why my best friend’s two older sisters would swoon over David’s picture in teen magazines. What stood out for me was the music.
On Saturdays, my friends and I would re-enact the show’s musical numbers. We’d put a Partridge family album on the record player and sing along, each of us pretending to be one of the Partridges. (For some reason, I was always Tracy.)
I still have those albums, though I haven’t had a record player in decades. For years I played “A Partridge Family Christmas Card” while decorating our Christmas tree. Even as I write this I can hear David’s voice in my mind, singing, “May peace and love surround you/At Christmas time and all the whole year through.”
And to this day, I still sing along with Partridge Family songs whenever they play on my satellite radio.
Back then, my friends and I didn’t know anything about David’s family issues or his unhappiness with his status as a teen idol. Fandom was simpler, with no 24-hour news cycle to make us cynical. We just knew we liked the songs and the man who sang them, telling us in the lyrics that he only wanted to make us happy.
You did, David. You did. And for that, thank you. You will be missed.