Grammy-winning musician Rick Springfield just turned 74, but he’s still on tour playing his popular ’80s hits — including “Jessie’s Girl” and “Love Somebody” — and he hopes fans will take a liking to the songs off his latest album, Automatic. The singer wrote and produced all of the new music and plays guitars and keyboards on the album as well. He shares his new music video with AARP members, and reveals how his music-making has evolved over the years, the best birthday gift he’s ever received and why skydiving is on his bucket list.
What’s the most challenging aspect of producing an album?
Having people like it. It’s a pleasure to make. I love to write and make records if I feel the songs are good, and you don’t really go in unless you feel the songs are good. It’s my favorite thing to do — write and then record songs.
What’s different about making an album in your 70s compared to your 20s or 30s?
A lot. There’s different things to write about. Obviously, [the 1981 album] Working Class Dog was basically all about sex. As you get older, there’s more things than sex. This album [Automatic] is basically about God, death and sex. It’s my three favorite things to write about.
You were 14 years old when you saw the Beatles in concert. What kind of impact did that have on you?
They inspired everybody. They were four angels that dropped on the Earth and showed us what the sh-t really was. I was already writing poetry by that time. So I just started to write songs, because they made it seem possible.
What’s your favorite Beatles song?
Ah, that’s just impossible to say, really. I love them all. I was a Paul guy growing up, a fanboy. As I got older, it’s John’s stuff like “Strawberry Fields [Forever]” and “I Am the Walrus” that I listen to a lot more now than I used to. They’re incredible writers. It’s just crazy that they’re in the same band and born in the same place at the same time and found each other. It’s ridiculous.
You’re in the midst of the “I Want My ’80s Tour.” How’s that going?
Well, that’s the title of it. My manager picked that title. I didn’t pick it. I thought it was an OK title. But I’m still making music, and although all my hits are, so far, in the ’80s, you always look forward. No one likes to be necessarily pigeonholed. [My manager’s] certainly been really trying to pigeonhole me with the damn SiriusXM ’80s on 8 radio show [Working Class DJ With Rick Springfield airs on Friday nights], but I have fun and I don’t take myself seriously with it. Although the first thing I ever wanted to be was a DJ, before I picked up the guitar as a little kid. Be careful what you wish for.