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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Springfield, Rick - 1983 Living In Oz
Springfield, Rick - 1983 Living In Oz

ARTIST: Springfield, Rick
ALBUM: Living In Oz
SERIAL: PL 84660
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2008, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY040


LINEUP: Rick Springfield - lead and background vocals, guitars, bass * Tim Pierce - guitars * Mike Seifrit, Dennis Belfield - bass * Mitchell Froom, Alan Pasqua, John Philip Shenale, Brett Tuggle, Gabriel Katona - keyboards * Michael Fisher - percussion * Mike Baird - drums * Jack White - electric drums * Richard Elliot - saxophone * Tom Kelly, Richard Page - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Human Touch * 02 Alyson * 03 Affair Of The Heart * 04 Living In Oz * 05 Me And Johnny * 06 Motel Eyes * 07 Tiger By The Tail * 08 Souls * 09 I Can't Stop Hurting You * 10 Like Father, Like Son


As one of AOR's favourite sons it's hard to believe Rick Springfield has not made it to Glory Daze until now! Springfield never made a poor album in the 80's, they are all deserving of a note, but 'Living In Oz' is the quintessential AOR choice of his career. On it he pursued a more mature content, which had been so slight on 'Working Class Dog' and 'Success Hasn't Spolied Me Yet' (and this is ignoring his six 70's albums) but one that surely left the teeny boppers confused. You couldn't blame him; he was 33 at the time.

The Songs
Rick had taken a fancy to music's obsession with the synthesizer and right away on 'Human Touch' it establishes its place as his weapon of choice through the album. Rick knows a catchy chorus and plasters one all over this chart success. 'Alyson's lyrical content concerns infidelity, the signs that Springfield would not be pigeonholed as a teen heart throb. It all pales compared to the triumvirate of 'Affair Of The Heart', 'Living In Oz' and 'Me And Johnny'. Three true classics, this is what it's all about. Overpowering synths, desperate choruses and down to earth lyrics. How 'Me And Johnny' couldn't bring a lone tear to your eye I do not know. Springfield's laying his life down to the listener, with tales anyone can relate to. We all know a Johnny. We grew up down under, but maybe not necessarily had an affair! 'Motel Eyes' contains some fine rhythmic buildup, with the right amount of heavy guitar. On the other hand 'Tiger By The Tail' could be classed as new wave, those dated, horrible keyboard passages letting things down. Maybe Split Enz could have used it. But another AOR defining moment arrives with 'Souls', a genre describing song. Flowing stuff with equal proportion melodic riffs and key work. Stark precision. The lyrics, about a foreigner and a small town girl might be reminiscent of Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin', but 'Souls' shames it in a musical sense. 'I Can't Stop Hurting You' is adequate, but I could do without 'Like Father, Like Son', with the orchestral backing not to my tastes. It's the same sort of fare Kenny Loggins attempted on 'High Adventure' with 'Only A Miracle'.

In Summary
The album was a another top twenty hit, but didn't match the sales of the earlier two. Springfield continued with 1985's 'Tao' and 1989's 'Rock Of Life', both superb, but his commercial appeal had ended some time after the 'Hard To Hold' fiasco of 1984. Whether 'Oz' was a deliberate attempt to escape the confines of the teen scen I'm not sure, but it confirmed Springfield as a master of the craft. He was always so much more than a teen idol, which to this day is how he is remembered here in the USA. He was an AOR genius who could give the likes of Michael Bolton a run for their money. And here he did just that.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
I got this LP back in my senior year of high school. I can't say that I loved every song on it, but a couple of songs here have been huge faves of mine for years - 'Affair Of The Heart' and the incredible 'Souls'. Before I bought the LP, I got the 45 of 'Souls' where the B side is a live version of that song that is as good as the album version. I haven't been able to find a digital version of it out there; maybe I'll get a turntable and the correct software and get that digitized. I think this is a more mature album than I could appreciate at 18; I would probably 'get' it more at 42.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:18:16
Absolutley immense disc and no filler to be seen - This is definately my fave RS album by a long way. 'Human Touch' through to 'Like Father Like Son' - Fantastic AOR tracks from start to finish. Look at the other guys named on this as well - A session musos wet dream. A better AOR disc than this is definately hard to find. Superb
#3 | DEMONAOR on July 24 2008 10:37:01
Mega AOR
#4 | Nick C on December 10 2015 14:36:43
Play this and I feel like a teenager again....not that I had it when I was a teenager in fact I was 21 when it came out.....and I didn't get it until I was in my 30's. Just impeccable can't think of a bad track on it fave though might be Alyson....Souls used to get played a lot at one of the rock clubs I used to go to.
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