Book Review: Did You Know Rick Springfield is Australian?


When I was offered the chance to review Rick Springfield’s memoir Late Late At Night I thought, what the hell? Before getting this book I knew three things about Rick Springfield: He sang “Jessie’s Girl”; He was on General Hospital; His real last name is Springthorpe. For some reason my sister and I had read that last little tidbit in a magazine when we were kids and found it hilarious. I always felt slight derision about Rick Springfield and it may be because I thought Springthorpe sounded kind of doofy.

It turns out there’s a lot more to know about Rick Springfield and it’s all in his book. I’m a little surprised he didn’t add Favre-esque junk shots just to show us what the full deal is. Because he talks about his junk a lot, as it if were a rascally younger brother who got him into trouble.

The first thing that was abundantly clear was that Rick wrote the book himself. He’s not a bad writer but there were times when I wished he’d had a ghostwriter or an editor who was more aggressive with the red pen because some of the book was just too much. At other times, the authentic voice was refreshing.

The first surprise of the story of Rick is that he’s Australian. No one seems to have known this. Possibly because in the 80s we didn’t do extensive background research into favorite celebs that way we do now. Also because he’s never been on a reality show. Anyway, he’s the son of an Australian military officer, his mother was awesome, he has a brother and he loves dogs. He spent some time in England as a child where he learned about the Beatles and everything else that was good about music in the early years of the 60s. Then he went back to Australia and began what might be considered the longest adolescence ever.

Rick’s twin driving forces were musical success and sex. He was in a lot of bands. Most of them never went anywhere but one went to Viet Nam. Woo boy was that an amazing chapter. It was a bunch young Australian musicians performing for troops and smoking pot. And doing some seriously stupid stuff. I’m surprised any of them came back alive. I suspect they brought some novel STDs back to the Australian landscape too.

It wasn’t long after that that Rick took off for America in search of fame and fortune. That’s where the book became totally exhausting. Our pal Rick kept getting record deals, kept getting promoted as the next David Cassidy, kept touring, and kept banging groupies. And then kept bottoming out. His success to failure ratio was pretty close to 1:1. I don’t think he wrote a single song that you’ve heard of in that period even though he was moderately famous and getting featured in teen fan magazines a lot.

Just as he was about to pack it in and marry a nice girl and live in the suburbs, he got a dog, slept with a girl in his acting class, and wrote “Jessie’s Girl” about a woman he met in a stained glass making class. He dumped the nice girl, got a record deal, met the love of his life (who was about 15 years younger than he is) and got a role on General Hospital. He became famous beyond his wildest imaginings.

And instead of living happily ever after he continued banging groupies even after he married the love of his life and had two kids together.

Would you believe this still a third of this book left? Yeah, the part with the therapy, the spiritual awakening that stops short of Buddhism and Kabala but only barely, and music he made after “Jessie’s Girl”. But I’m too damn tried just thinking about to share any details.

Oh wait! He did have an MC Hammer-esque financial meltdown but he came back from it.

Anyway, the book failed at being a nice overview of the 1980’s which is kind of what I hoped it would be. It’s really a confessional of a one-hit wonder who worked hard for his one hit and kept working hard afterward and also had a LOT of sex along the way. It’s an entertaining enough story but probably could have had 100 pages chopped out without harming the overall narrative.  I also think his wife could have been spared knowing that everyone with the price of the book now knows how frequently her husband cheated on her. Ditto his sons.

On a scale of one to ten, I’d give this book a 7. But I’ve for sure had “Jessie’s Girl” in my head ever since I finished it. So that’s kind of a win.

I received  free copy of Late Late at Night from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions in this post are my own.

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9 comments for “Book Review: Did You Know Rick Springfield is Australian?

  1. November 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Oh my sweet lord. Really? He rambles on about having sex with groupies? Wow. just wow. And now I have Jessie’s Girl in my head.

    As a dj I also heard a story about how he was with the same label as Bruce Springsteen and people would actually CONFUSE the two of them and he wrote and recorded “Bruce.” because of it.

  2. Sarah
    November 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e5NlaM8bgI

    I had the wickedest three year old crush on Rick Springfield. It now helps me to understand why yo gabba gabba is so popular.

  3. amy
    November 4, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I saw him on the “Today” show promoting the book and he has his share of demons. I have always liked his music but I wish he would get a major makeover and get rid of the facial hair. And his wife is a saint for putting up with all his s#*t.

  4. November 4, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Oh lord woman I’m going to be walking around all day with this image in my head “Favre-esque junk shots”.. CLASSIC. I was a huge Rick fan back in the day. Then grew up, learned about his whole Linda Blair cradle robbing thing and his penchant for domestic violence and I’ve sort of made meh on him. I may just read the book though, well because who doesn’t want to hear a guy talk about his won junk, really?

  5. November 4, 2010 at 9:35 am

    yeah I need COFFEE… what is “making meh” and did he “win” his junk? A ghost writer for my comments is sounding pretty good at the moment.

  6. November 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    LOL that just sounds disgusting. I don’t want to read about Rick Springfield having sex. At. All.

  7. KLZ
    November 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    It sort of unnerves me to know just how many people are willing to get naked for celebrities.

  8. Kelley68
    November 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    As a lifelong fan of Rick’s, I thoroughly enjoyed the book!! It was a great “human” story as well as a story about his search (and hard work and dedication!) for success, love & happiness. Racy? Yes. But I can’t think of many rock stars, celebs, etc who’ve had perfectly “clean” lives. He has made many mistakes in his time, but haven’t we all? His fans have been asking for an autobiography from him for a LONG time, and I respect the fact that he finally wrote a book about his life…the good, bad and the ugly. His sarcastic sense of humor never ceases to make me laugh and I always enjoy his writing style. 🙂

    And if I may kindly make a technical correction…Rick is not a one-hit wonder. He has 17 top 40 hits in his career. 🙂 His 1st hit being Speak to the Sky in the early 70’s.

  9. melissa
    November 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I am a lifelong fan of rick springfield. Fell in love in 1981 when I was about 14 years old. I havent bought the book yet, I am NOT ready. I commend him for writing the book and being truthful, for not covering up the truth and lying or making what he did seem ok. In all of his interviews he has taken responsibility, refusing to say he was a sex addict because the word addict implies he couldnt help it, and he says he knows what he did and doesnt want to shift blame. Still, the small excerpts I have seen are really raw language, and maybe as a fan, I am not ready to know all of that. Im sure I will buy the book, because I am a fan, but I do feel bad for his wife and sons for having to endure the publicness of it all.

    I’ve been married 21 years and would kick my husband to the curb if he cheated on me once, but then again I didnt marry a rock star or an actor. I suppose she knew what she was getting into, I dont know. I feel bad for her, that she stayed and now he felt the need to tell the world…..but then again, I assume she was in agreement with this being done? If I have a hard time reading it, I cannot imagine what she went through. I wish them well. I hope rick can be faithful now, and I hope he continues to make music, because he is a truly incredible performer. (I do agree he should get rid of the facial hair!)

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