by Rob Sachs
Over the years my podcast, What Would Rob Do? ,has allowed me to explore daily predicaments ranging from how to eat a hot pepper, to how to handle noisy neighbors, to how to avoid awkward moments while also getting a massage.
It's also afforded me the chance to live out the dreams of my seven-year-old self and talk to the biggest celebrities of the '80s by consulting them as experts. In the past, I've chatted with TV stars like Erik Estrada from CHiPs and Tom Wopat from The Dukes of Hazzard, and bands like Squeeze and Air Supply.
But recently, I managed to top even those mega stars by landing an interview with Mr. Rick Springfield. That's right: the guy behind "Jessie's Girl."
Few can argue with the fact that this is an amazing song, but for me, it's more than that.
Its my FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME.
I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact I cemented my selections for lucky number and favorite color right around the same time. Call me loyal (or perhaps lazy), but to this day, I remain a stalwart to the number 17, the color navy blue, and the ode to Jessie's elusive lady friend.
Having a strange fixation on a pop song that's more than a quarter-century old didn't seem enough of a reason to interview Mr. Springfield, but then I caught a news flash about his latest album, titled My Precious Little One: Lullabies for a New Generation.
I learned that Springfield had rediscovered an old recording of lullabies he had made for his two sons Liam and Josh, back when they were tots. He decided to re-record them (the songs, not the kids) and release the album -- a happy coincidence for me, a new dad with a precious little one of my own.
So now Rick and I had something to talk about, apart from my odd obsession with his music, fatherhood and the ever daunting task of calming down children.
So what advice did Mr. Springfield give me on lullabies?
Advice, gentle rejection, and the audio of the full interview, after the jump...
• First, when coming up with a song, try to write the lyrics first. Springfield went back and used imagery "that made [him] safe and secure as a kid."
• Next, tinker around with a melody. Try to find a way of singing it that works (this may prove difficult if you're not a rock star, in which case I say you steal the melody from another song).
• Finally: Repetition. Springfield used the lullabies as part of his sons' bedtime ritual, so they knew that when they heard the songs, it was time to get to bed. Over time, it became a part of their routine.
A side note, though: these songs have limited powers. When a kid doesn't want to sleep because he's too hungry or thirsty or in need of a diaper change, "No music is going to help them," as the man himself told me.
Of course, I had to ask Springfield about remaking "Jessie's Girl" into a lullabye, and I even gave him an example of what that might sound like. To which he replied, "I hadn't really thought of doing that. But since you sang it, I probably won't do it."
That doesn't mean I can't give it a shot for my daughter:
You know that you are Daddy's Little Girl!
Uh-huh, uh-huh Little Girl!
Now close your eyes and go! To! Sleep!
On second thought, maybe I should just hum it.
Listen for yourself as Rick Springfield talks about music, parenting, and why I am not destined for a career as the translator of his work into children's music.