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THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY



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Michael Avallone
The Partridge Family
Curtis Books
New York, 1970
(price: 60c)
Five with-it kids and one beautiful mom - put them all together, and they spell the hottest rock group going.
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Michael Avallone
The Haunted Hall
Curtis Books
New York, 1970
(price: 60c)
It's a real spook-out - when rock's coolest supergroup invades a mansion filled with ghosts - and deadly danger!


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Michael Avallone
Keith, The Hero
Curtis Books
New York, 1970
(price: 60c)
The rock clan's future hangs in the balance when Keith is forced to make an impossible choice.
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Vance Stanton
The Walking Fingers
Curtis Books
New York, 1972
(price: 60c)
Keith and side-kick in big trouble with two deadly characters and a ghostly gold mine.


David Cassidy was an aspiring actor who'd been born into Hollywood. His father was Jack Cassidy, a lightweight C-list film actor, his stepmother Shirley Jones, star of 1950s film musicals like Carousel and Oklahoma. In the kind of human interest twist that excites publicists, when the Boy David got his first TV starring role - as Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family - it was as the screen son of Jones.

The Partridge Family was a kids comedy-pop show that launched in the US in 1970, two years after the last Monkees episode, and one year after The Brady Bunch had first aired. The new show built bridges between the two: a cosy middle-class family who played in a pop band on-screen and off. Halfway through the first series, the group's debut single 'I Think I Love You' knocked the Jackson Five off the #1 position in America, and no one was in any doubt that it was Cassidy who was selling it.

A year later and he'd started releasing solo records that stressed the doubt-ridden, teen-angst pain that wracked his life: 'Could It Be Forever?', 'How Can I Be Sure?', 'I'm A Clown', 'The Puppy Song'. He was the Scott Walker of the pubescent market. More to the point, these were genuinely good pop records - production values were high, the session men were the best (Hal Blaine, Larry Carlton et al), arrangements were imaginative, and his voice was a soft whisper of loveliness that still sounds good.

By this stage he was actually bigger in Britain than he was in America. The last really big US hit was in early 1972, just before he broke into the UK top ten. For two years, he was a massive star in Britain, the only serious rival to Donny Osmond. And then came the year of reckoning.

In May 1974 a concert at White City, London ended in a disastrous rush to the stage that hospitalised dozens of fans and killed one 14-year-old. Unusually for a pop star, Cassidy's public image of insecurity had been built on reality and the death of a fan - coming on top of two years of teen madness - killed any self-belief he may have been trying to nurture. The stress of being 17 forever was overwhelming and, with ratings falling anyway, he pulled out of The Partridge Family, which ended its run in late '74.

(extracted from the BBC's on-line profile of David Cassidy)


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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