Glancing at old Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and 16 magazine covers on Pinterest, I couldn’t help but remember all my pre-teen and teen crushes back in the day. I’ve listed my top five, but of course I had other passing fancies as well. Honorable mentions go to Andy Gibb (younger brother of The Bee Gees), Greg Evigan (BJ And The Bear) and Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Gallactica), whose pictures also graced my bedroom walls at some point in the mid to late 70s. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write an ode to my first loves. So please enjoy A Feast For The Eyes: Hot Teen Idols Of The 1970s.
5. David Cassidy
In 1972, David Cassidy was quite possibly one of the hottest men on planet earth. He was my first teen idol crush, at the tender age of seven. I was so innocent back then – I used to dream about him pushing me on the swing in my grandparent’s backyard. When I heard he would be performing in Toronto, I begged my mother to go see him in concert. I was told a very firm no, as you can imagine.
On the same weeknight The Partridge Family aired (directly following The Brady Bunch) I had gymnastic lessons. Those were the days before VCR’s and PVR’s, so in order to see the show, I came up with some excuse to get out of gymnastics. It wasn’t all that difficult, however, as I couldn’t even do a cartwheel, much less flop around on balance beams.
Cassidy passed away from liver failure on November 21, 2017 at the age of 57. Watching the A&E special about his final days was heartbreaking, to say the least.
4. Shaun Cassidy
Preteens are so fickle, and I was no exception. After the Bay City Rollers broke up (more on that crush later), I became enamored with Shaun Cassidy. He was a singer like his half-brother David and starred in a popular TV series based on the series of books The Hardy Boys. I went to see him twice in concert, both times at Exhibition Stadium.
The first Shaun Cassidy concert I attended, the place was sold out and I had seats in the nosebleeds. The second time I saw him, with Carrie McIntyre, we had seventh row floors. I looked back at the sparse audience behind us and told Carrie we better enjoy this show because it would be the last time we’d ever see him in concert. Poor Shaun was forgotten, as I had almost grown up. But I still had at least one more teen idol crush in me.
3. Rex Smith
Rex Smith was so hot in his day. I had a huge crush on him after I saw his 1979 made for TV movie Sooner Or Later. A year later, I watched him perform two or three songs at the Toronto premiere of his feature film Headin’ For Broadway in 1980. That same year, Smith performed at The O’Keefe Centre. I managed to score tickets at the last minute and dragged my little sister Connie along with me.
2. Davy Jones
A popular teen idol in the 1960s, Davy Jones was a stage actor and a hand-picked member of the pop group The Monkees. His popularity was still soaring in the early 1970s. He released a hit single called Girl and promoted it by appearing on an episode of The Brady Bunch in 1971. I discovered Davy’s cuteness when The Monkees were in reruns, circa 1975.
Then I became obsessed with The Monkees in college. And I met Davy twice, the first time after The Monkees show at Molson Park in Barrie in 1987. Then my equally-obsessed friend Kathy Connor and I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri in 1988, to see him in a stage production of Oliver. We also met him afterwards, at the stage door.
Davy Jones passed away on February 29, 2012 at the age of 66.
1. Les McKeown
My ultimate teen idol crush was, is and always will be the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers (BCR), Les McKeown. My bedroom walls were absolutely plastered with pictures of Les and the BCR. I also had numerous scrapbooks and would wear the whole Rollers get-up, which got me teased endlessly in grade school.
At that point, I was 12 years old and no, I didn’t imagine him pushing me on my grandparent’s swing set. I used to dream about making out with him in my bedroom closet! I saw the BCR twice when I was kid. The first time was at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1976, (my first concert ever) at the age of 11. The next year, they performed at Exhibition Stadium and you better believe I was there.
I met the object of my childhood affections in 2013. This was at a meet and greet, after he performed with his band Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers at Casino Rama in Orillia. It was a dream come true for the 12-year-old who still lurks inside me somewhere. And I’m looking forward to seeing him perform live again at The Rose Theater in Brampton on March 14 (incidentally, it’s a S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night). I’ll be in the second row, reliving my childhood one more time.