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My brother’s albums: Rick Springfield, Working Class Dog

[Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog]

This entry in the Sibling Rivalrly Collection Race is so old, it involves my sisters.

They thought Rick Springfield was dreamy. My brother and I dug the catchiness of “Jesse’s Girl.”

Mom intervened in this fight, letting me take possession of the 7-inch singles, while my brother took the full album. He wasn’t about to share, of course. My sisters just wanted to look at the covers.

I was 9 years old when Working Class Dog turned Springfield into star, but looking back, I had to admit I wanted to look at the covers too.

Springfield was indeed dreamy, and I recognized it even if I was a few years away from translating that to actual desire.

By the time that inkling turned into a confusing suspicion, Springfield’s star had waned. It was all about Duran Duran, Huey Lewis and Sting then.

As the ’80s turned into the ’90s, the only Rick Springfield album you needed was a greatest hits collection, just for “Jesse’s Girl.”

That does Working Class Dog a disservice.

From start to finish, the album doesn’t let up its frenetic pace. Springfield does some hard swinging on “Red Hot and Blue Love” before stepping off the accelerator for the concluding track, “Sylvia”. In an interview with the AV Club, Springfield says he would lean more toward a heavier sound than his producer preferred.

For good or no, Working Class Dog became a template from which the Outfield and Bryan Adams would eventually draw. It’s tough to picture the ’80s without it.

 

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