Late, Late at Night

Rock & roll bookends

Summer Reading

Late, Late at Night

by Rick Springfield
Touchstone, 320 pp., $26

Released Jan. 1, 1981, with No. 1 hit "Jessie's Girl" soon leading the way, Rick Springfield's Working Class Dog rescued a first-class mutt. Down Under son of an oft-relocated army career officer, the artist formerly known as Richard Springthorpe survived early 1960s passage from Sydney to London and back again – the Beatles coming and going – before dropping out of high school and into a six-month tour of 1968 Vietnam in a cover band. Sex and depression ("my Darkness," he calls it – hello, Dexter) had already fused to his music mechanism. When all his dues finally aligned after myriad fits and starts of 1970s successes at home and abroad (16 Magazine starmaker Gloria Stavers, hands off), Working Class Dog jacketed Springfield's hormonal angst like a hot dog bun. In light of Late, Late at Night, named for a lyric fragment from "Jessie's Girl," the 10 riff richocets on WCD might now be heard as obsession on par with Springfield's Californication guest spot rather than the puppy love of his run on General Hospital ("... And he's loving her with that body, I just know it"). Professional name checks – groping Demi Moore on said daytime soap, dating 15-year-old Linda Blair, having Keith Richards check up on him and Patti Hansen during filming for 1984 laugher Hard To Hold – meet personal traumas, including his father's premature disablement and death, his agent's demise at Alpine Valley in Stevie Ray Vaughan's helicopter, and his son falling out of a third-story window. There's a song too many ("Saint Sahara"), but Springfield's arc matches the marvel of his wife's forgiveness for a lifetime of infidelity. "I am a dickhead," he writes late, late in the book. David Duchovny should remake Hard To Hold.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
Checking in With Area Musicians Yielded 80,000 Words of Pandemic Realness
Checking in With Area Musicians Yielded 80,000 Words of Pandemic Realness
Stay TF home

Jan. 22, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Jan. 15, 2021


Rick Springfield

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle