I was reminded of singer/actor Rick Springfield yesterday when I read about what’s apparently an annual Rick Springfield Cruise, with this year’s voyage taking off in November to the Caribbean. Now, I’m not even gonna front, I would totally go on this cruise if I wasn’t prone to seasickness, especially since I have about ten girlfriends who I know would go with me.
If you don’t know who Rick Springfield is, he was a popular chart-topping music artist here in the United States in the 1980s and is most famous for his hit song “Jessie’s Girl” (you totally know it). But before Springfield wished that he had Jessie’s girl back in 1981, did you know he was in the original 1970s television series Battlestar Galactica? That’s right, in 1978, he appeared in an episode called “Saga of a Star World” as Commander Adama’s younger son Lieutenant Zac Adama, a Viper pilot with the Galactica (BSG fans of all eras know the deal with Zac, right?).
Springfield’s foray into the world of sci-fi didn’t stop with his short stint on BSG. Matter of fact, the musician/actor has accumulated quite a bit of geektastic cred in his over 40-year career.
In 1983 (after leaving the soap opera General Hospital), he went back to focusing on his music, experimenting with the synth-heavy pop style of the time on songs like “Human Touch.” To go with the song was a music video — also on the rise back then thanks to the birth of MTV (back when they actually played videos). A sci-fi setting was chosen for this video, of which Springfield was front and center.
In the “Human Touch” video, the year is 2016 AD and Springfield is the captain of a spaceship, on which he and his crew have been in suspended animation in hibernation chambers. Alien creatures discover the ship and release Captain Rick, who immediately starts to sing about how everyone is talking to computers and dancing to drum machines. He goes over to a computer console and messages Sally, who apparently has some kind of “love monkey on her back” to find out what year they are in. The Captain then releases his crew from their slumber, and they all start singing about how they need “the human touch” — a message about how computers are making people cold and distant (deep thoughts, by Rick Springfield). He goes on to randomly press buttons on a wall console as he sings about being isolated in the modern world, which leads to the obligatory 1980s Michael Jackson-pyramid-dance formation, even though Springfield obviously can’t dance. More dancing, more button pressing, sax solo (another 1980’s pop song staple), flash to musical group in corner wearing 1980s Members Only-style clothing (where’d they come from?), more dance, buttons, pleas for human touch — uh oh, WARNING: RADIATION ALERT, time to get back in those hibernation chambers, but wait, Captain Rick has tripped, he might not make it to this chamber in time! Don’t worry, Captain, just get into the one with that hot blonde chick it in — lots of human touch to be had!
Yes, I just described a video that you can watch right here below, but really, isn’t it so much better with my narration?
In 1984, Springfield went on to star and perform in the film Hard To Hold, where he played a rock star!!! (Best part of the movie: Rick running through a hotel in nothing but a towel.) The film’s soundtrack was all Springfield songs, including another synth-heavy tune “Bop ‘Til You Drop.” For that video, Springfield goes back to what looks like beyond Thunderdome to a futuristic dystopian society where the working class people are enslaved, and he frees them with the power of love! It couldn’t have been that poor of a workplace, I mean, they gave him a microphone headset, how bad could it be? There’s aliens and lasers, even! Ends with Rick the liberator crowd-surfing, as the freed peoples continue to ‘bob’ but now it’s for fun, not work! Again, for your viewing pleasure, the video is here below.
Here’s a list of some of Springfield’s geektastic achievements:
1973: Titles his sophomore album Comic Book Heroes; the illustrated cover depicts the singer in full superhero attire, complete with cape. [See it here below.] Contains title track and “I’m Your Superman.”
1977: guest-starred on TV’s Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries; this is a big deal to me, as he played Ned Nickerson, who in the books is Nancy’s boyfriend and I was a big fan of Nancy Drew books growing up. He’s only in this one episode, but he was definitely a potential love interest for Nancy (they even kiss!).
1978: guest-starred on TV’s Battlestar Galactica as Commander Adama’s son Lieutenant Zac Adama (see BSG video below for quick peek at his appearance at the 2:18 minute mark.)
1978: guest-starred in an episode of TV’s Wonder Woman, starring Linda Carter
1979: guest-starred on TV’s Six Million Dollar Man.
1979: guest-starred on TV’s Incredible Hulk.
1983: does a scifi-themed music video for “Human Touch” starring as a spaceship captain in the year 2016 AD.
1984: does a dytopian futuristic/scifi video for “Bop ‘Til You Drop” which has lasers and aliens!
1989: stars in scifi TV movie Nick Knight, as a homicide detective who’s a vampire!
1998: stars in the scifi TV movie Legion, along with Parker Stevenson, Terry Farrell, and Corey Feldman, in a role obviously meant for Christopher Lambert’s post-Highlander career.
2001-2: headlines in EFX Alive, a special-effects stage show spectacular in Las Vegas.
Well, there you have it, Rick Springfield’s geeky sci-fi past before he went onto cruising. Wow, that was a fun trip down Springfield lane. Did I miss anything?
In nearly 1,000 words I didn’t even scratch the service of my history *with* Rick Springfield, starting back as a kid when I first saw him in those guest-starring roles, to when my mom got me his Working Class Dog album for my birthday, up to seeing him in concert in the late 1990s, and even going to see him star in Broadway’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe. While I’m not a “drop everything and get on that cruise” fan of his, I’m definitely a “if I could I would totally go on that cruise” admirer.