David Cassidy’s Top Guitar Memories from the ’70s

April 16, 2012

In the 1970s, David Cassidy was the biggest star in the world, outselling and breaking attendance records held by Elvis and the Beatles. Less known is that Cassidy has always been a total guitar freak. Here, the Partridge Family’s sex symbol reminisces about his coolest guitar moments.

“I was fortunate to see so many great bands as a teenager,” says Cassidy. “I saw Hendrix four times. I saw B.B. King at the Whisky. The Buffalo Springfield played my high school. I saw Cream at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The most influential guitarists for me were Hendrix and Clapton—they were 1 and 1a—and then B.B. King and Jeff Beck.

“When I got the role of Keith Partridge, they knew I could play and sing because I played ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ before my screen test. After shooting The Partridge Family each day, I’d drive to United Western Recorders, and I’d work with session guitarists Louie Shelton, Tommy Tedesco, Dennis Budimir, and Larry Carlton on the show’s music. I’d ask Louie, ‘How did you do that?’ We usually put down three rhythm tracks a night. I spent five years recording almost 300 tracks with those guys.

“Eventually, I got to play with just about all of my inspirations. Mick Ronson and I talked about forming a band. We never ended up doing it, but he did play on my song ‘Getting It in the Street.’ He just killed it. He was so aggressive. I got to play with Paul McCartney in Paris during the final dress rehearsals for the Wings Over America tour in 1975. We played some blues, ‘One After 909,’ and ‘Long Tall Sally.’ I knew every song the Beatles had written, and I sang John’s parts.

“I also became good friends with John Lennon. He came to my house on New Year’s Eve 1974, and we started playing early Beatles stuff, such as ‘Mr. Moonlight’ and ‘Please Please Me.’ I sang all of Paul’s parts. It was the thrill of my life.”

Cassidy just released “UFO (U Fine One)” to commemorate—in a crazy bit of pop-culture synergy—the 50th anniversary of the Slinky.

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