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Springfield’s New “Day”
Eighties heartthrob Rick Springfield has decided to revisit the past on his new album. But on The Day After Yesterday, released Tuesday on his own Gomer label, the fifty-five-year-old rocker is indulging his nostalgia through the songs of others.
A covers collection of tunes Springfield says “I wish I’d written,” the new outing is a ballad-heavy affair that may surprise fans familiar with the power-pop of “Jessie’s Girl” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”
“I had the phrase ‘moody and atmospheric’ in mind for this album,” explains Springfield. “The last record [2004’s Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance] was pretty pedal-to-the-metal, and I wanted this one to be the exact opposite.”
There are mainstream selections such as Foreigner’s “Waiting For a Girl Like You” and Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings,” a duet with Mr. Mister singer Richard Page, who provided background vocals on Springfield’s biggest hits. But Yesterday also includes Springfield’s takes on Eighties alternative cuts including the Church’s “Under the Milky Way,” the Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town” and the Blue Nile’s “Let’s Go Out Tonight,” as well as “Blue Rose,” by current jazz singer Lizz Wright.
“If a track stood out, it didn’t matter what style it was in,” says Springfield, who adds that the album’s arrangements “stay faithful to the originals, but just try to take advantage of the newer technology.”
The lone original, “Cry,” was chosen because its melancholy theme seemed to fit the aesthetic. Composed in the late Eighties, when Springfield’s career was on the wane and he was going through his “darkest period,” the song is “definitely about me, and about letting go and feeling the pain, instead of doing things like drinking.”
The disc also features Springfield’s take on the Beatles’ “For No One” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” — appropriate choices for the Aussie-born, English-raised singer, who covered the Fabs’ “Eleanor Rigby” in one of his early Down Under bands, Zoot.
That track, in fact, leads off Written in Rock, a recently released Springfield anthology (which also concludes with “For No One”) on Sony/BMG. Springfield picked tracks and wrote liner notes for the double-disc set, the first career retrospective in which he’s been personally involved. That, he says, addresses a longtime sore spot.
“I always felt a little used,” he says. “I’d put out a new album, and someone would put out a greatest hits album. But when Sony and BMG merged, things changed.”
Springfield, who was on the Philadelphia bill for 1985’s historic Live Aid concert, is touring extensively this year, even if it means leaving behind Gomer, the twelve-year-old pit bull after whom he named his label.
“Gomer is kicking ass,” says Springfield with a laugh. “But he’s a studio dog.”
Rick Springfield tour dates:
7/15: Manchester, IA, Delaware County Fair
7/23: Minot, ND, State Fair
7/28: St. Paul, MN, Rib America Festival
7/29: St. Louis, Roberts Orpheum Theatre
7/30: Ames, IA, Stephens Auditorium
8/17: Hampton Beach, NH, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
8/19: Red Bank, NJ, Count Basie Theater
8/20: Baltimore, Rams Head Live
8/26: Kansas City, Crown Center
8/27: Florence, IN, Belterra Casino and Resort
9/1: Oshkosh, WI, Waterfront Series
9/2: Indianapolis, Ribfest
9/3: Pontiac, MI, Arts Beats and Eats
9/5: Cleveland, Tower City Amphitheater
9/9: Westlake, LA, Isle of Capri Casino
9/10: Westlake, LA, Isle of Capri Casino
9/16: Robinsonville, MS, Gold Strike Casino
9/17: Biloxi, MS, Isle of Capri Casino
9/23: Waukegan, IL, Genesee Theatre
9/24: Merrillville, IN, Star Plaza Theatre
9/25, Taylorville, IL, Nashville North
9/30: Burgettstown, PA, Pepsi Cola Roadhouse
10/1: Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel and Casino
10/2: Plymouth, MA, Memorial Hall