david cassidy shirley jones Rock Flashback: The Partridge Family

David Cassidy and Shirley Jones perform in 2003 (Getty Images/Kevin Winter)

The Partridge Family TV show ran for 96 episodes over four seasons, and it was typical cheesy ’70s sitcom fare. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Partridge Family[/lastfm]’s music, on the other hand, is better than anybody had a right to expect.

On September 25, 1970, The Partridge Family debuted on ABC-TV. The show was part of a Friday night lineup that’s fondly remembered by viewers of a certain age. It followed The Brady Bunch and Nanny and the Professor and preceded That Girl, Love American Style, and This Is Tom Jones. Here’s a fabulous network promo for the whole lineup:

The Partridge Family ran for 96 episodes over four seasons. The family’s first single, “I Think I Love You,” hit the radio in October shortly after the show’s premiere, and it blasted to #1 within a month. Their first three albums each made the top 10, although each of their next four singles would fail to match the performance of the succeeding one. By early 1972, the Partridges ceased to be much of a factor on the radio at all.

But their position within popular culture was solid. Approximately a zillion dollars’ worth of Partridge swag was sold in the early 1970s, from groovy [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]David Cassidy[/lastfm] puka-shell necklaces to lunch boxes to paperback books. Cassidy became one of the biggest teen idols of the age, although he eventually found the adulation (and even the willing young groupies it brought him) distasteful.

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Partridge Family[/lastfm]’s music is better than anybody had a right to expect, and why not? It’s played by members of the fabled [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Wrecking Crew[/lastfm], the Los Angeles session musicians who appeared on everybody’s records in the ’60s and early ’70s.

Apart from Cassidy and his TV-and-real-life mom, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Shirley Jones[/lastfm], none of the other actors sang on the records. Vocals were provided by the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ron Hicklin Singers[/lastfm], considered the vocal equivalent of the Wrecking Crew on the Los Angeles scene.

Today, episodes of The Partridge Family play like typical cheesy ’70s sitcom fare, with obvious jokes and predictable plots, slathered with the not-found-in-nature colors so popular back then. But some of the songs hold up pretty well — as long as you remember who we’re talking about.

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