In the 70s we had a handful of actors that branched out into second careers as singers. John Travolta hit the Top 10 in 1976 while acting as a Sweathog on Welcome Back Kotter. Cheryl Ladd hit top 40 in 1978 after replacing Farrah Fawcett on Charlie’s Angels. Both of them used their status as a TV star to score pop hits. David Soul did it in reverse. He used his hype as a singer to score a job acting on TV. Which in turn gave him more clout to jumpstart his music career.
David Solberg was a rising folk singer in the mid to late 60s. Of course he needed to change a few things in order to separate himself from the pack. First he changed his name from the lawyer-sounding Solberg to Soul (alas, David never ventured into R&B). Second he started to wear a ski mask. That’s right – a ski mask. David thought he was too handsome to have his music taken seriously, so he covered his pretty face & hair in order for people to focus on his music. Once you’re done laughing, I will continue….cause it worked.
He got picked up by the Merv Griffin Show who had him on countless times billed as the Covered Man singing his songs. Then one episode Merv had the big reveal. David took off his mask and said, ” I am David Soul and want to be known for my singing.” or something to that nature. Well he had to put that on hold because he started to get TV gigs instead, first with a role on Here Comes The Bride and then after many guest episodes and TV movie appearances (The Disappearance of Flight 412 is a classic) he landed the part of Ken Hutchinson on Starsky & Hutch.
The show became very popular quickly so David decided to parlay this new fame into a recording contract with Private Stock record. He cut a LP in 1976, but it was held back by the record company because they didn’t hear any singles. Usually that would be the death knell for an artist, but instead he was hooked up with songwriter Tony Macauley, who already had hits such as Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse and Last Night (I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All) by the 5th dimension. He had a tune in his pocket called Don’t Give Up On US and let David listen to it. The story goes that he heard it on a Thursday, learned and recorded it over that weekend, had it mixed on Monday and was in record stores (in England) by Friday.
The song exploded in the UK and was quickly released in the US and added to David’s debut LP. It hit #1 on both sides of the pond in January of 1977. And it’s easy to see why it was a hit when it was – a soft, white marshmallow ballad that put on your stereo on a cold Winter night, snuggling by the fire with the one you love as you let the swooning strings help you get closer as you try to give it one more shot. And then you read the lyrics….
Don’t give up on us baby, don’t make the wrong seem right
The future isn’t just one night
Uh oh what did you do, David?
It’s written in the moonlight
And painted on the stars, we can’t change ours.
Did you ‘accidentally’ sleep with her friend or her sister? Why else would you be handing her this bullshit. And an ultimatum, to boot. ‘ So no matter what I do, to you, to us, to your friend, we belong together. So get over it.’
Don’t give up on us baby, we’re still worth one more try
I know we put the last one by.
Anyone want to guess what this means? Feels like David might screw up a lot and has to sing this song often.
Just for the rainy evening when maybe stars are few
Don’t give up on us. I know we can still come through
Again, I think he’s just trying to confuse the hell out of her, hoping that she just gives in and takes him back, if he would only shut up.
I nearly lost my head last night, you’ve got a right to stop believing
There’s still a little love left, even so
Ok now we’re getting down to brass tacks. There was an incident. And Davis, quick question – if there’s only a little love left, why shouldn’t she give up on us, meaning you.
Don’t give up on us baby, lord knows we’ve come this far
Can’t we stay the way we are?
The rap ain’t working. David’s getting desperate. He has one more plea. No growth. No love that gets bigger and deeper as the days roll on. Let’s just stay the same. We can pretend that it wasn’t me and your mom that you saw coming out of a Burger Chef bathroom at 2 AM. Will she go for it?
The angel and the dreamer who sometimes plays a fool.
Not sure who’s who, but we’ll assume that David is the one in la-la land.
Don’t give up on us. I know we can still come through.
Weak. That’s your pitch? Are you staring over her shoulder at someone else while you sing this? How about ‘I drive a Gran Torino.’ or ‘Huggy Bear will hook you up with some dynamite goldfish bowl platforms?’
Take a listen and see if you’d give Hutch a second chance…