What Happened to my White Jacket and my 70’s Pop Star Heroes?

David Cassidy

image courtesy wikipedia

image courtesy wikipedia

I wasn’t so much a fan of David Cassidy, I just wanted to look like him. I always thought he was a pretty cool dude and although I didn’t rush out and buy his music I always kind of liked him.( You can click here to see what happened when I went for a David Cassidy haircut!) Cassidy was an unexpected superstar, the son of actor Jack Cassidy who crops up frequently in classic Columbo episodes.

David began working as an actor and musician and was signed up by Universal studios in 1969. He worked on many TV shows of the time like Ironside and Bonanza until he was signed up for a part in a show called ‘The Partridge family’. Cassidy and the show became a runaway hit and ten albums produced during the show’s run sold over a million copies each. David became a teen idol and his personal concerts were sell outs but a Cassidy mania, not unlike that experienced by the Beatles years earlier, caused numerous problems and culminated in a stampede at White City stadium where many people were injured and one girl fan sadly died.
Today Cassidy is still singing and writing and has appeared in many stage shows and musicals. You might even have seen him in a TV version of his life story, ‘The David Cassidy Story’.

Gary Glitter
Gary Glitter’s first big hit, back in the early seventies was ‘Rock n’ Roll’ parts 1 and 2, a double-sided single which on part 2 was mainly instrumental with group chants of ‘rock n roll’. Glitter followed this up with a string of hits throughout the early seventies with singles like ‘I’m the leader of the gang’, ‘I love you love me love’, ‘Do you wanna touch me?’ and ‘Hello hello, I’m back again’. His career faded afterwards but in the early 90’s his records were discovered by a new generation of record buyers and many modern artists have acknowledged that he was an inspiration to them in earlier years.

The late 1990’s saw his image become fatally destroyed by his arrest and conviction in 1999 for possession of child pornography. Some years later, in 2006, Glitter faced criminal charges and deportation from Vietnam after a court found him guilty of obscene acts with minors. Glitter was deported back to Britain and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life. These convictions turned Glitter from being one of the best-loved stars in British pop history, into a hated and reviled figure. As much as I like the glam music of the seventies, I actually feel bad today playing Gary Glitter’s music.

blogpicheroes

David Essex.
David Essex was another performer who made his name in the early seventies. I remember seeing his album in a record shop and thinking what a cool dude he looked. The album was ‘Rock On’ and the single went to number 3 in the UK charts in 1973. The next year David released one of my all-time favourite tracks ‘Gonna make you a Star’ which went all the way up to number 1. He also appeared on the double album ‘Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds’ and went on to star in many musicals such as ‘Godspell’ and ‘Evita’. In 2011, he joined the cast of TV soap ‘EastEnders’.

david-essex-rock-on-cbsThe White Jacket
David Essex sang ‘Rock On’ wearing a white suit on ‘Top of the Pops’ and as I have said above, I thought he was a real cool guy and it seemed that one way to transform my gangling self-conscious self into somebody ‘cool’ might be to get that very same white suit. I couldn’t afford a suit at the time so I settled for a jacket, a white jacket and I well remember admiring myself in the mirror before my first Saturday night out wearing it sometime back in 1973.

The first problem came on the bus into town. I sat on the back seat and in those days, the back seats of our local buses were a little notorious for being dusty and grimy as they were over the engine and absorbed all the engine fumes and also there were people who put their feet up on the seats leaving marks to which people like me (the twerp in the white suit) were highly susceptible. Another thing too is that all my life I have been cursed with being clumsy and once I had met up with my friends I managed to spill beer all down my sleeve. Anyway, the night went on, more or less successfully. I certainly remember having a good time although the white jacket failed in its primary function, that of attracting gorgeous girls. Later on we stopped at the kebab shop and somehow I managed to land a sizeable portion of chilli sauce down my front. Rather than feeling like David Essex, I felt a little like Alec Guinness in that film ‘The Man In The White Suit’, wanting to get away from everyone! I never wore the stained jacket again and it lingered sadly in the back of my wardrobe until my Mum decided my room was cluttered up enough and threw it out.

Of course, it could have been worse, I could have gone out wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and a red jacket and tried to look like James Dean! (Actually, that was another night!)


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David Cassidy and a Haircut in 1975

quotescover-JPG-61Take a look at the photo just below. You wouldn’t think a young lad with all that hair would one day, well, not have it. Especially if that lad had really thick luxuriant hair. Well, you just wouldn’t would you? steve 1970sThe fact of the matter is, that picture is me, my former self, a painfully shy teenage youth who would one day discover, to his utter shock and horror, that he was losing his hair! It actually happened when I was nineteen and I was working in city centre Manchester and decided I was going to have a really top notch hair cut and try a proper salon: Not the usual barber’s shop I used to go to, so one day back in . . 1975, I think it was, I went to a place called Paul Brendon’s hair design on Oxford road and asked for a haircut that was pretty popular at the time. It was the hairstyle favoured by David Cassidy who was a seventies female heart throb and although I wouldn’t have admitted it then, well, I thought he looked pretty cool. David had long hair –hey, it was 1975! – parted in the middle, so that was what I asked for. I went for the full monty; shampoo, cut and blow dry, and at the end of it I thought it looked pretty good, but as I was leaving, the barber (sorry, hair stylist) said to me, “better watch out, your hair’s getting a little thin on top!”

image courtesy wikipedia

image courtesy wikipedia

Well I paid up and left the salon and tried to get my head round that last statement. ‘My hair’s going a little thin on top’ the stylist had said. A little thin? Wonder what he meant? Of course, with such a luxuriant growth of hair (take another look at the picture) he couldn’t really mean I was losing my hair, could he? So, what on earth did he mean? After a while it came to me, he meant the individual strands of hair were thin rather than thick! I had heard talk of products like volumisers and stuff, maybe that is what I needed. Looking back it’s sad to see how I was unable to face the obvious truth; that I had begun to lose my hair. It took me a lot of years to get used to it but now, over thirty years later, well I suppose I finally have, I think!

Nowadays hair salons are a distant dream to me. Once every six weeks or so, I pop down into St Annes, and go into whichever barbers has no one waiting. (Believe me, when you have hair like mine that can be cut in ten minutes flat or less, you do not want to wait half an hour while some long haired nerd has his hair trimmed and blow dried and God knows what else done to it!) I ask for a number 2, the barber gets stuck in and then five to ten minutes later I am good to go, all neat and trimmed and with hair that does not need a drier or even a comb for that matter.

I wonder though if some miracle cure came out that would restore my hair and I mean really restore my hair, fully guaranteed, not some rip off product that doesn’t deliver, would I pay a fortune for it? Well, would I sell the car and take out a loan to get it?

Are you joking? Do you want a serious answer? Of course I would!


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