In late February, David Cassidy, who died from liver failure earlier this month, told the world he was suffering from dementia. “I was in denial,” he told People. “but a part of me always knew this was coming… I’m going to devote a lot of time to me as a person as opposed to me as a professional.” The news seemed to explain why many of his recent concerts had been marred by forgotten lyrics and erratic onstage behavior, and he made it clear that after a March 5th gig at B.B. King Blues Club in New York he’d be stepping away from the concert stage.
Many of his hardcore fans flocked to B.B. King for the show, which opened up with “Come on Get Happy” by the Partridge Family and mixed in covers like “New York State of Mind” and “On Broadway” with signature tunes like “I Woke Up in Love This Morning.” He was battling laryngitis, but was still remarkably lucid and coherent despite his ailments. Before the final encore, he addressed the crowd.
“Dr. Phil or someone asked me recently, ‘What do you want your legacy to be?'” he said. “I don’t know. I never think about it. I guess the fact that everything I did in my life was to bring light and love into all of the world that I was able to touch, because you gave that to me a 100,000 times. So this, as long as I have breath in my body, ignoring laryngitis, I’m going to sing this song for the rest of my life and it is something that I treasure.”
He wrapped up the show with “I Think I Love You,” his Number One from 1970 that turned him into a superstar able to headline stadiums. (Watch amateur footage of the performance right here.) Escaping the shadow of Keith Partridge was difficult for Cassidy, but he ultimately learned to accept his fate and spent years singing Partridge Family music at his solo shows. “[This song] had such an impact on my life,” he told the crowd at his last show. “I don’t even know how to describe it. I’m doing it now for you and you can help me by honestly singing the song that you know when you we get to the chorus.”
When the song ended, he accepted a bouquet of flowers from the audience and spoke to his fans one last time. “Thank you for all the decades,” he said. “I don’t think I do. I know that I love you. You’ll see me again. I love you. I know I love you.”