Mark Solomons

Why have we forgotten David Cassidy?

He was once as popular as The Beatles

  • From Spectator Life
(Getty Images)

Everyone has a guilty pleasure. Some have several. One of mine is David Cassidy who died six years ago from liver failure at the age of 67, an event that barely made more than a back-of-the-book page lead in many newspapers.

Which is a shame. For at his peak, he had a fanbase on a par with Elvis and The Beatles, looks that sent young girls into delirium, a rich and textured voice that was tailor-made for the three-minute pop single and a charisma, not to mention a personal life, that in its prime gave showbiz reporters round the clock bylines.

Deep down, David Cassidy wanted to be remembered as a musician and rock star

Unfortunately, his legacy is less about his music and more about yet another stereotypical pop star tale of a lapse into drink and drugs, an illegitimate daughter he had nothing to do with, a dramatic fall from grace that included concerts where he’d forget the lyrics to songs he’d been performing for half a century and finally an admission that years of high living had cost him his physical health, led to dementia and finally, his death.

A generation or two will have no idea of just how big a star he was at his peak in the early to mid-1970s for those of us aged 11 or 12, just getting into pop music, buying Look-In magazine and recording Top of the Pops with a portable cassette recorder.

Just a few years later, once we’d become teenagers we had punk to send us in a completely different direction, but before that there were two singers who divided the nation’s pre-pubescents. There was a clear choice to be made. Are you Donny or David?

This manufactured rivalry was aimed mainly at teenage girls but the rest of us were not immune.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in