Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rick Springfield - Living In Oz

Coming off of 1982’s Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet (click here for that review), Australian born rocker and American soap opera heart-throb Rick Springfield released his seventh studio album Living In Oz thirty years ago today (July 18th of 1983). It charted at number 45 in Australia, number 20 in Canada, and number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Side one opens with synth-hooked dance track “Human Touch”. Released as the second single, this song about the importance of person-to-person contact charted at number 92 in Australia, number 34 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 23 in the UK and number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The B-side to the second single was “Alyson”, an ode to an alluring actress with whom the song‘s protagonist is having an affair. The song features a bit of a reggae flavor to its rhythm.

“Affair of the Heart”, the first single went to number 26 in Australia, number 23 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, number 11 in Canada and number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This smoldering rocker with a great beat was also nominated for the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance of that year but lost to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.

The title track “Living In Oz” is next. The lyrics of this one tell of Springfield’s youth growing up in Australia and hungering to make it big in the music business.

The side closes out with “Me & Johnny”, a ballad about two teenaged buddies in the 60’s who we trying to make it as musicians. Springfield even name-checks Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones.

Side two starts off with “Motel Eyes“. Set to a rocking backdrop, this one is a very descriptive tale of a groupie determined to bed herself someone from the band.

“Tiger by the Tail” has a bouncy beat with a down-under sound.

As the third single, “Souls” charted at number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100; its B-side was a live version of the song. The lyrics of this dramatic song focus on two people desperate to find one another again.

“I Can’t Stop Hurting You” deals with the inability to break the cycle of abuse in a relationship.

“Like Father, Like Son”, the closing track, was also the B-side to the first single. This fully orchestrated song, a definite change of pace, tells of a young man who wrestles with his religious upbringing.

As a fan of Rick Springfield’s music from my early high school days, I was definitely open and receptive to the tunes here on Living In Oz. The big hit singles were very popular on the radio and MTV here in the States and often were played at dances through out the later part of 1983.

1 comment:

HERC said...

My first exposure to Mr. Springfield's music was way back in 1976 on the fabulous K-tel compilation Hit Machine. His song "Take A Hand" remains a tasty slice of Seventies pop. That album was the first one I posted when I started my site last year.

Hit Machine[1976]

Been a fan of his music for almost 40 years now and was still blown away by his latest hard rocking performance with Foo Fighters in Sound City doc earlier this year. (Rick recorded his two biggest selling albums there at Sound City Studios in the early Eighties.) The man does not even look close to his actual age of almost 64 years old! MRS. HERC concurs. The only time I've actually seen her physically swoon was when I took her to see him in concert when he filmed The Beat Of A Live Drum here at our local venue way back when. Tickets were only $5!

"The Man That Never Was" - Rick Springfield with the Foo Fighters

Really liked how Rick integrated synths into his power pop on Living in Oz. "Human Touch" and "Affair Of The Heart" are my favorite tracks. There is an extended John Luongo remix of "Human Touch" but sadly no extended version of the slightly more rocking "Affair Of The Heart".

"Human Touch" [John Luongo remix]

He also wrote "Life Is A Celebration" as performed by those Kids from Fame but being a fan you probably already knew that, Martin.

"Life Is A Celebration" - The Kids from FAME [1982]

Rick Springfield's autobiography Late, Late At Night was an eye-opening read and can be had pretty cheap if you're interested.