In 1984 I was called for a session at the old Record Plant on 3rd St. to play harp for Rick Springfield. At the time he was a big star on the soap opera General Hospital and had a huge hit called “Jessie’s Girl.”A number one hit.

The song I played on was called “Bop ‘till You Drop.” It ended up being another hit single that rose to 20 on the Billboard Top 100. One has to remember a session player in those days could play on plenty of records and never play on the single let alone being the soloist, so that being considered I’ve been amazingly fortunate, talented (naaahhhh) and most likely totally lucky to being a featured soloist on quite a few Top 10 singles.

One unique thing I remember about that session is that I had an idea (or most likely the producer suggested it) to play a harmony part to a section of my solo. To be honest I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone but it did seem to work at the time and after 30 years it is still interesting. Nonetheless, the powers that be thought it was good enough and released it as a single and apparently it was a good decision.

Radio City Music Hall

I was on tour with Rod Stewart at the time and had a night off in New York City. Rick was playing at Radio City Music Hall and I was invited to the show. As I watched the show I was blown away with the packed house and energy. Rick put on a helluva, energetic show. As I was about to head to the bar for a drink they broke into “Bob Till You Drop” so I stayed to listen, curious to see how they handled the solo part.

As it came to my solo, a chubby white guy in white pants, Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat with a wireless mic apparently playing harmonica strolls on stage and blows a helluva solo. My first reaction was, Damn!!! This guy is good. He’s got my chops down!!! Then it comes to the harmony part and… duh!… I realize it’s me I’m hearing and he’s playing to a backing track!!! I think he was a member of the tour who didn’t have much to do at that moment.

I did have a chuckle and to be honest, at first I was kinda thinking I should be paid for this somehow. But that feeling passed quickly and I just thought it was funny.

Fast forward 33 years to a few days ago, and I get a call from Rick’s producer Matty Spindel asking if I could come to the Malibu studio to record with Rick fucking Springfield on a blues record he’s doing. As we are light-heartedly haggling over a deal, I hear Rick’s voice in the background saying, “And this time Jimmy can even play his solo live!!!” I laughed and I have to admit I was surprised he even knew I was in the audience that night as I didn’t go backstage and we had never spoken in over 30 years. I admit I couldn’t remember if I’d even written a blog about it. I immediately say, “Whoa, is this an offer for a live gig too, damn!!!”

We make our deal which was very fair to all parties and I go up to Rick’s place to record and he is the consummate gentleman that I remembered. He, Matty and I worked together like a well-oiled machine laying down harp on some not-so-easy original blues (5 songs!!) in 3 hours which is a good day’s work in anyone’s book. As Rick was helping me load my beast of an amp (old Fender Concert Black Face) into my truck I asked him how he knew I was in the audience that night at RCMH. He said I don’t know, somebody just told me.

As Rod would often say, it’s a silly life… and as I was driving south on PCH on a beautiful summer day looking over the blue Pacific I felt good… and yes Rod, it is a silly life.


So awesome! Rick is truly a wonderful soul who is down to earth and appreciates people’s talents and his fans.. thank you for sharing this story????????????.
Terri in Tampa
A Rick fan since 1980❣️

My pleasure in sharing our history. Please check out the other blogs and let me know your thoughts. Best,Jimmy Z

What a fantastic story! Thank you for sharing that and reinforcing what many of us know – that Rick Springfield is pretty great. ????

Yeah Rick is one of the good guys.

Kimberli Case

What a great blog. This is awesome in so many ways. Rick is a geniunely wonderful and down-to-earth human-being who truly appreciates everyone who has helped or contributed to his amazing success. I can’t wait for the new album to come out and look forward to hearing you play on it. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes to you, and much love to Rick!

Great blog.. I remember you telling me this RS story while hanging out at Suzy’s.. (among the others) Happy to hear you’ll be on his new album..

Great Blog Jimmy!
It’s so awesome to read/find little “tid-bits” of the behind-the-scenes music stuff from Rick’ s past and those who were a part of it. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Jimmy I was just perusing YouTube to see if I could find that same concert at radio city from Springfield. I also googled it as well and came across your blog. It brings back memories because It was the first concert I ever went to as a kid in 1983 (or 84), I still have the program I bought and it’s in pristine condition. Lovely reading your memories from it and thank you for sharing.them with us. Looking forward to hearing you on ricks new album. Cheers!

Hey Josie, Thanks for the comments. I really enjoy and appreciate the feedback. Rick’s a great guy and talent as well. It’s refreshing to run into that still in this day and age.

What an awesome story! 🙂
I love reading these cool stories about Rick. Are you doing any traveling/concerts with Rick on The Snake King tour? He’s coming to Hawaii next month.

Hey Amy,
I’m glad you are enjoying my blog stories. At this time no confirmed shows are planned for me with Rick but let’s hope something comes up for the future as I love playing with Rick and his music. In the meantime I would like to invite you to see my band ZTribe Feb 10 at Harvelles in Santa Monica. A cool blues club with room for dancing and our show is a Blues Rockin’ Soul Experience I’m sure you will enjoy. Thanks for your support. Best,Jimmy Z

Aloha Jimmy, I would love to see your band, but I live in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I will also miss seeing Rick when he’s in Honolulu. I live on the Big Island and it would probably end up costing me several hundred dollars to go see him. It would be worth every penny if I had it. Hope to see you both when I am on the mainland.

Jimmy…I was in the audience tonight at the launch party, basically in front of you sitting on the edge of the stage, and you BLEW ME AWAY! What you added to the show was immeasurable and I feel honored to have been there!

Hey Helaine, Thank you for the kind words. It was all too much fun and over way too fast. Rick is a pleasure to work with and hang out with. A very talented man and a genuine nice guy. I would like you invite you to my show with my band ZTribe Feb 10 at Harvelles in Santa Monica. It’s a rocking blues band and I’m the front man singer/harp/sax guy leading the charge. A very danceable, blues rocking experience. Best, Jimmy Z

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