STEVE TREVELISE June 19, 2018
David Cassidy once recorded an album called “The Bigger They Are”. A and E’s “David Cassidy; The Last Session,could actually be “The Harder They Fall.” What they did was video the 67 year-old Cassidy who had announced that he was suffering from dementia, as he recorded a tribute album to his father, the late Jack Cassidy who died in a fire in 1976. Alternately, they replay an interview that 26 year-old Cassidy had done with Eliot Mintz at the height of his fame telling what he thought of all that was going on around him and where he wanted to be. I spoke to his good friend and TV brother Danny Bonaduce about it (video above.)
“It seemed like they were in for something salacious and they got it in the form that there’s no two ways to say this, they taped a guy dying. I thought it was horrendous.”
Yet Danny was glad they aired it. “My producer in Seattle had no idea of the Beatlemania that surrounded David Cassidy even though I told him a hundred times. I guess you just can’t get it until you see it because it’s just so astounding.”
Through the special, we see 67 year-old David going for a brain examination where his memory loss is explained. We later find out it was from alcohol poisoning. He’s slurring his words, appears helpless at times, and through it all the camera stays on him.
“The thing with the camera not coming off him,” says Danny, “was a tough move on their part, but you have to remember this is what he wanted. It’s just not how he wanted it to turn out.”
Then they switch to young David in all his glory taking about how manufactured it all was. Alice Cooper talks about how Cassidy needed to get into the world of music that his audience was leaving him for. Did the rockers respect David? “I’m not positive that many people knew he had the talent that I knew that he had”, says Danny. “What I do know is that no matter how big they are, unless they were the Beatles they were never bigger than David Cassidy.” He holds the record for selling out Wembley Stadium 6 times!
Bonaduce talked to Cassidy about this special. “The last words I said to David were, ‘yes I’ll do the television show.’ In the last months of his life, that’s all we ever talked about was, ‘the A and E thing is going to be big and you gotta be there Bonaduce you gotta be there,’ because he knows that I’ll always speak fondly of him no matter what. He’s kind of my hero, always has been since I was a little kid. So this is the thing he wanted, I just don’t think he had any idea that this is how it would end.”
I asked Danny how David would feel if he lived to see the finished special. “David would be mortified if he saw that. David liked himself the way I like him and the way other big fans like him, beautiful in some fancy suit, with a microphone in his hand dancing away. That’s the way I like him. He would not love the almost 70 year-old David Cassidy who’s voice is gone. I think that would break his heart.”
It was heartbreaking to watch and it’s not going to be the way I remember David Cassidy!