‘The Partridge Family’: Why David Cassidy Saluted Paul McCartney for an Award for ‘I Think I Love You’

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Partridge Family and star David Cassidy notched a hit record with “I Think I Love You,” a song that was released weeks before the show launched in 1970.

And the song from a fictitious group led by a relatively unknown singer was the biggest hit of the year. It even outperformed the Beatles. It’s true. According to the National Association of Record Merchandisers, “I Think I Love You” outsold the biggest pop group in music history.

Cassidy recalled the moment he received an award and got to mention Paul McCartney. He was only 20 years old when the song became a monster hit. In an interview he 2010, Cassidy said:

“I remember I was at an award show, called NARM. It gives awards for the largest selling records. ‘Let it Be’ (was also nominated in the category). It was the Beatles’ last album, and one of my all-time favorites as well. McCartney was in the audience and they announced me.

“I stood up and there was like a hush in the room. I’m like twenty-years old, this punk upstart. I went up to the podium and I said, “I’m honored to be here. One of the great inspirations is knowing that one of my mentors is here, Paul McCartney, and I want to acknowledge him. You’re the reason that I’m doing this. Thank you all very much.’ There was mild applause because I acknowledged him. I was making records for nine months.”

Partridge Family Performed Hit Song Twice In Seven Weeks on the Show

As a way to promote the show, the Partridge Family released “I Think I Love You” in August, 1970, weeks before the series premiered. It took the song seven weeks to finally hit No. 1. Twice during this time, the show included the song.

Cassidy had other stories about the Beatles. In 2012, he talked about his friendship with John Lennon and name-dropped McCartney. At the time of the interview, Cassidy had been making appearances at casinos.

“He came to my house on New Year’s Eve and we got drunk and played Beatles songs,” Cassidy said of Lennon. “And I got to sing Paul (McCartney) parts. When you play in casinos, they don’t like you to tell stories so much, most times they say [brusquely] ‘Just play your songs.’ “So instead I just say ‘I was lucky enough to play Beatles songs with John Lennon till five in the morning and here was one we played.’ Keep it short. 

Cassidy was Keith on the Partridge Family from 1970-74. He enjoyed a wildly successful few years as a pop star. But his career sputtered after the show went off the air. He died in 2017. He was 67.