David Cassidy’s downfall: Burden of youth

Bob Geldof once remarked that he was glad he had not been a fresh-faced rock idol in his youth. “I’m fairly lucky, in that I’ve always looked like shite,” he said. “If you were a pretty-boy pop singer, it would wreck you, growing older.”

David Cassidy was not so lucky. Star of the 1970s TV sitcom, The Partridge Family, he was the epitome of the pretty-boy pop singer, with a face more angelic than his voice.

Cassidy, who was of Irish extraction, played the eldest of five siblings in a band. The mother, Shirley Partridge, was played by Cassidy’s stepmother in real life, Shirley Jones.

It was such a hit that The Partridge Family released eight albums — with Cassidy, who was initially chosen for his androgynous looks, rather than his voice, taking the lead in the recordings with his stepmother.

Later solo concerts produced mass hysteria, resulting in the media coining the term ‘Cassidymania.’

But, as Geldof predicted, growing older and losing his looks wrecked him, as Cassidy succumbed to bankruptcy, alcoholism and, finally, dementia.


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