Here’s a question sure to spark a debate: What was the last of the great song eras in American pop culture?
We’re talking about a song whose lyrics are stuck in your head a generation after it was a radio darling, whose opening bars prompt you to blast out the chorus uninvited and more often than not out of key. Songs that stand the test of time and keep popping up decade after decade in movies and on TV.
Former 1980s teen idol Rick Springfield is making the argument that it was his generation of pop stars, including his current “Best in Show” tourmates Loverboy (“Working for the Weekend,” “Turn Me Loose”), Tommy Tutone (“867-5309/Jenny,” “Angel Say No”) and Greg Kihn (“Jeopardy,” “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)”).
“It was kind of the last of the great song eras in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Springfield said as he was en route to a tour stop in Costa Mesa, California, last week. “Best of Show” pulls into the AVA at Casino del Sol on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The tour plays like the greatest-hits soundtrack of the ‘80s and ‘90s, from Springfield’s smash hit “Jessie’s Girl” to Loverboy’s “Queen of the Broken Hearts,” Kihn’s “Can’t Stop Hurting Myself” and the California band Tommy Tutone’s iconic telephone number song that prompted fans for decades — possibly still today — to call the number asking for Jenny.
“It’s really kind of wall-to-wall hits the whole thing. Then we play a couple of new songs from the new album” — ‘The Snake King’ released in January — “and a couple of the old hits,” Springfield said. “I have an amazing band and we have such a great time on stage.”
While it has been 37 years since Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, the 68-year-old hasn’t grown tired of performing it.
“It seems to have gone on and on and on and on,” Springfield told the Star. “I see 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-year-old kids sing the verses, sing the lyrics. That’s pretty powerful stuff. I’m pretty proud of that.”
“The Snake King” is Springfield’s first full blues album.
“It’s about God, the devil and sex — my three favorite subjects,” he said, adding that he also tackles the environment, political oppression, questionable political leadership and pervasive lying.
“That’s a lot to talk about so I took a blues direction because it just seemed appropriate for what I had to say,” he said.