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Springfield, Rick - 1985 Tao

ARTIST: Springfield, Rick
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1990, RCA * 2008, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY041


LINEUP: Rick Springfield - lead and background vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion

Tim Pierce - guitars, keyboards * Jeff Silverman - guitars, keyboards * Mitchell Froom, John Phillip Shenale, Nicky Hopkins - keyboards, synthesizers * Mike Baird - drums * Mike Fischer - acoustic percussion * Mike Seifrit - bass * Pino Palladino - fretless bass * Tommy Funderburk, Tom Kelly, Edie Lehmann, Richard Page, Mike Seifrit - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dance This World Away * 02 Celebrate Youth * 03 State Of The Heart * 04 Written In Rock * 05 The Power Of Love (The Tao Of Love) * 06 Walking On The Edge * 07 Walk Like A Man * 08 The Tao Of Heaven * 09 Stranger In The House * 10 My Fathers Chair


Looking back through the myriad albums during the 80's, one that has a consistent reputation throughout is Rick Springfield's 'Tao' album from 1985. If you have a look through 'Best Of' lists during the decade, and read trusted AOR publications from that era, 'Tao' is right up there. Like most of Springfield's 80's material, it's a very high stepping brand of funky AOR with heaps of effects and hi-tech ideals. Having a trusty backbone of musicians based around Tim Pierce and Mike Baird always helps, but it's clear the music was aimed at the MTV audience, Springfield obviously having a certain amount of knowledge relating to exposure via the medium of television. During 1985, Springfield did not get out on the road to promote this album, wanting instead to be home for the birth of his first son and to support his family. He did however participate in Live Aid that year.

The Songs
There are some absolute standout tunes here. The best known must be 'State Of The Heart' which permeated across the airwaves during 1985. Though going to #22 on the US Billboard charts, of more interest to trainspotters is the fact that the song first appeared on Australian band Mondo Rock's 1981 album 'Chemistry', and their version is probably better remembered across the vast dusty red continent than Springfield's synth drenched one. 'Celebrate Youth' was the other major song from the album, heading to #26 on the charts - a heavily hi-tech influenced track. This is a good result for Rick, considering he didn't tour that year. Other highlights include the impressive 'Written In Rock', the punchy and studio dazzled 'Walking On The Edge' plus the dedication to his late father through the song 'My Fathers Chair'.

In Summary
Springfield would follow this album up with 'Rock Of Life' in 1988, but then for a good period during the 90's he would remain label less. In fact, there are many of Rick's demos circulating that emanate from this era (I have some of them), but some of these will later appear on future albums. It's courtesy of an album such as 'Tao' that future artists such as Kevin Paige, Paul Pesco, Robbie Nevill, Judson Spence, Jeffrey Ross, Dan Reed and a score of others would follow suit. The hi-tech/funky style of AOR would rear it's head during the late 80's with abundance. 'Tao' remains a big favourite among his fanbase, but I guess I am only repeating what is already common knowledge among melodic rock and AOR fans.

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#1 | dangerzone on December 19 2009 17:34:35
This is a great album, much more high tech than previous efforts as mentioned, but quality AOR. I don't think there were many better than Springfield.
#2 | super80boy on September 12 2015 14:44:14
Springfield has stated that he was in a major experimentation mode on this album, working more with synths and drum machines to emulate a European styled production. The vinyl insert specifies a whole host of synth and drum toys worked by Mitchell Froom. The new approach really shines through on favorites 'Celebrate Youth', 'Walking On The Edge' and 'Stranger In The House'…all displaying big pounding drum sounds and heavy synth action. The experimenting seemed to have worked - it's certainly a catchy album and ended up going certified gold.

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