Rick Springfield Returns to General Hospital

Rick Springfield’s Soap Flashback (E! Online)

The last time Rick Springfield walked the halls of General Hospital, Ronald Reagan was President, Arnold Schwarzenegger was Conan the Barbarian, and you were wondering if painter pants made you look fat.

With a nod to its past, and without apparent regard to how the move might make certain viewers feel really, really old, ABC has announced the return of the former Tiger Beat staple to its top-rated daytime soap. As he did during his original 1981-83 stint, Springfield will play Dr. Noah Drake.

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Within five months of joining General Hospital in 1981, Springfield, an Aussie-born rocker who’d had some chart success in the 1970s, ruled radio and MTV with the Grammy-winning hit, “Jessie’s Girl.” In his early 30s, he was a teen idol.

“Probably General Hospital had more to do with me getting known physically than MTV did,” Springfield once told PopMatters.com. Springfield probably was right. In 1981, MTV was a fledging cable experiment; General Hospital was, per a Newsweek cover story, “TV’s hottest show,” owing to the phenomenon that was Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis).

Springfield’s General Hospital stay lasted about two years. In 1983, Dr. Drake departed for Atlanta; Springfield left to pursue hit records and hit movies. Chart-wise, Springfield never equaled “Jessie’s Girl”; box-office-wise, few equaled the dud that was Hard to Hold.

Dr. Drake, however, was forever. “Thirty, 40 times a day I must get questions when I’m on the road about General Hospital or Noah Drake. It’s constant,” Springfield once told Soap Opera Weekly. “It amazes me that it’s still so prevalent in the fans’ minds.”

Quite amusing. Frankly, Springfield was a one-hit wonder as a rocker. I remember the song well, as it was huge I was a junior or senior in high school, but that was a long time ago. It is rather odd, though, that he would still be remembered for a character he played for only two years more than two decades ago.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.