Working Class Dog
by David Chiu
When Rick Springfield became a well-known name in the early ’80s thanks to his role as Dr. Noah Drake on the TV soap General Hospital and his #1 hit with “Jesse’s Girl,” few knew that Springfield started out in rock and roll way before acting. Behind this good looks was a true rock and roller and a far more credible one. Years of hard knocks in the record biz finally paid off with Working Class Dog (1981), an energetic slice of stadium bombast and power pop. There are some divergent styles on tunes such as “Red Hot and Blue” and the reggae-ish “Everybody’s Girl,” which sounds awfully like the Police’s “So Lonely”; the rest consists of spirited material such as the exuberant “Love Is Alright,” the ethereal balladry of “Inside Sylvia,” and the rocker “I’ve Done Everyhing for You,” (a song penned by Sammy Hagar, which briefly validates him for all the sappy ballads he wrote for Van Halen). Of course the album’s standout is “Jessie’s Girl.” Like the rest of the songs on the album, it’s about romantic, sometimes lustful, angst, and has gone on to become a classic pop/rock anthem of the ’80s. Springfield proved on this album that he was just not a pretty face but a genuine rocker finally getting his second wind (This expanded edition also features some previously unreleased tracks, including a demo version of “Jessie’s Girl” which sounds much rockier than the eventual polished studio release).