In the fall of 1970 I was 10 years old, a bit precocious to be devouring the Top 40 as obsessively as I did, but 10 years old nevertheless, and with the taste of a 10-year-old kid. And so were light and happy and catchy and easy to sing. And that made me, and people like me, the prime target for a new TV show that hit the air for the first time 40 years ago today: The Partridge Family. For many boys of the ’70s, Shirley Jones would become their first MILF, and for many girls, David Cassidy would be their first celebrity love. And 40 years later, much of the music featured on the show still sounds mighty good.
And why shouldn’t it? The Partridge Family’s recordings were made by the group of Los Angeles session musicians known as , the most celebrated studio group this side of the Funk Brothers, featuring Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Larry Knechtel, Carol Kaye, and others. Most of the other voices on the records were provided by , whose voices you have heard hundreds of times on hit songs, movie soundtracks, TV themes, commercials, and radio jingles. Jones and Cassidy were the only cast members to sing on the records, and Cassidy’s participation wasn’t part of the original plan. Early in the first season, he persuaded producer Wes Farrell to let him sing, and he became a teen idol as a result.
The Partridge Family - I had one of these dresses with a frilly neck like Shirley. It was an official Partridge Family dress and I was soo proud of it!
Both were totally fictional rock/pop "bands" produced by , the television branch of . While (TV series and band concept) were styled as mid-'60s counter-culture zaniness à la ' film Hard Days Night, the Partridge Family was strictly wholesome with traditional family values despite the lite quasi-hip tone of the show. The top-rated series first-aired on from 1970 to 1974, premiering September 25, 1970. Besides the face and voice of ,one of the other draws of the show was the uncanny deadpan timing of Danny Bonaduce as Danny Partridge and the simmering neurosis of the group's manager Reuben Kincaid as played by Dave Madden. When sharing a scene together, the two were hysterical.