5 Decades of Making Music  ← BACK  

January 14, 2020

Wow, it’s been almost four months since my last blog. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, even ringing in the New Year all came & went yet still, I hadn’t posted anything. Sorry! But two things happened in the end of September and the early part of October, not to mention the upcoming end of another decade, that set me on a path of reflection & fully realizing how blessed my life has been.

“The early days…1971”

First, at the end of September, The Berea Community Center, a place myself, and other teenage musicians used to perform and/or hang out at during the very early 70’s had a reunion. I saw people I hadn’t seen in 47 years. I also reunited with the band “Ecstasy” that used to play there back when the thought of having a career in music was only a dream. We actually performed a short set of songs that I wrote when I was 14 & 15yrs old & hadn’t played since 1973…it felt like we hadn’t missed a beat and everyone had a great time!!

“Ecstasy performing at The Berea Community reunion 2019”
“Love Affair promo pic from 1979”

Two weeks later I had another blast from the past, only this was just in my head. It was a warm October afternoon, so I decided to take a bike ride. I had my earbuds in listening to songs from 1969 & 1970 & all of a sudden, I was taken back to a summer afternoon when I was 13yrs old, riding my bike with the wind in my hair and dreaming that maybe someday, I’ll sing professionally in a rock-n-roll band. It was at that moment that I realized just how lucky I’ve been…never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think that I’d be completing my 5th decade making music…and it’s the only fulltime job I’ve ever had.

“Richard & The Heartbeats 1986 single”
“Spina & Sullivan clowning around in 1989”
“Jerry Lewis backstage at The Aladdin after a Gary Lewis & The Playboys performance in 1993”

It’s funny, back when I was 21yrs old I thought I was gonna be a star and make lots of money! Well, THAT never happened. But, at the same time, if you would’ve asked me if I would still been making music at 64yrs old, I would’ve laughed. Gosh, I didn’t even think I’d still be making music at 40…so I’m definitely on the bonus plan!

“The Cover Girls in 1999
“Gary Lewis & The Playboys promo pic from 2002”
“U41 after a concert to benefit The City Mission in 2008”

As an 11yr old, I sang “Listen People” in a talent show and, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought back then that someday I would become the keyboardist for Peter Noone & play that song every night!

“Love Affair reunion show in 2012”
“Onstage with Mark Lindsay at the 2015 Moondog Coronation Ball”

These last 5 decades has been an amazing & wonderful rollercoaster ride that, at 64, has left me humbled & grateful that God blessed me with a career that I only dreamed of as a child. As the sixth decade begins, we’ve already performed eight shows in the first eleven days, so I’m looking forward to what this new decade will bring.

“Onstage with Peter Noone in January 2020”

30 Responses

  1. Linda Master says:

    Very cool! Love this blog post. Different device, whole new view.
    Obviously, found the comment button 😊

  2. Alice M. says:

    Saw you the other night at Andiamo’s but didn’t get a chance to say hello. What an amazing career you’ve had. Congratulations on your multiple successes. You have every right to be proud. Here’s to continued success into the foreseeable future. See you somewhere else along the road soon.

  3. Kay Zopes says:

    Your success is very well deserved. I feel very lucky to have been able to watch you perform. Your talent is amazing and your smile is infectious. Thanks for sharing these photos of the wonderful musicians who have shared a stage with you.

  4. Linda Greenwell says:

    Living your dream is something to be very grateful and proud of. Your talent has made it come true. Your fans are also grateful, as we too enjoy your dream!

  5. Debbie n Geary says:

    Living the dream!! Super special. Love sharing your journey and seeing you happy doing what you love. Your personal touch with all your friends is an extra special part of you.

  6. Jill Carroll says:

    Blessed indeed. We all have dreams when we’re young and you have actually been living yours for five decades. That’s pretty remarkable! What a journey, and looking through your pictures, it’s amazing to see what you’ve done and the people you’ve spent your career with. Here’s to your sixth decade and continued blessings. Looking forward to seeing you again soon 😃

  7. Donna says:

    You are an extraordinary performer Rich and so lucky to do what you really enjoy. Over the last 10 years I’ve been fortunate to attend the HHSPN shows when you come to Maryland and look forward to many, many, more. One of these days I hope to see a Spina & Sullivan performance as well. Thanks for the great music. Wishing you only the best in this new year!

  8. David Spero says:

    Rich….this post made me take a minute and look back as well. It has been such a whirlwind since I was 13 and working on The Upbeat Show. Now I’m approaching 70 and still have the energy and desire that I had back then. Where did the time go? But, I’m still living the dream. I’m so glad our careers have crossed over the years?

    • Rich Spina says:

      I’m glad our paths have crossed, too. We still need to get together for lunch or dinner. I’m home during the week a lot in February…what’s your schedule like?

  9. Diane Bettinger says:

    Me and corky just love the entertainment that you help in all hermen hermits shows
    All you guys are great love coming to all the shows
    Keep up the great job

  10. Paul Wolf Christensen says:

    Wonderful blog rich, I think I remember 99% of this. A life well-lived.

  11. Marge Lacosse says:

    Ànd thanks to Facebook we get to experience a little bit of that roller coaster ride with you through your posts of photos. And learning of all the music that is available by you. And àll the people were part of that ride. I have a Clevelànd CD collection . Thank you !

  12. Bruce Kallenburg says:

    Thanks for sharing with us your trip down memory lane. And thanks for sticking with music. I can’t imagine HHSPN without you on keys & bass. Really and who would set the timer. Although that might not be a bad thing could make for longer concerts. Lol

    Funny how we reflect the more we age and measure what was accomplished. In your case you’ve accomplished a lot and deserve everything that’s come your way.

    Hope you enjoy the next FPC, see you there and a few more time before.

    • Rich Spina says:

      Thanks Bruce! It’s one of the best things about getter older…we gain perspective & appreciate the life we’ve been blessed with.

  13. Marla Brennan says:

    Richie this is such a great idea and a wonderful way to enlighten us all about your extensive successful career in music. I loved reading it and seeing the great pictures!
    Safe travels and rock on!

  14. Kathy says:

    Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think you were 64!🤯thought you were a youngun in your 50s! Best wishes and rock on!

  15. Brad says:

    Fantastic pics Rich.

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