Then my mum calls to say my father's cancer has now metastasized to his brain. They've shaved his head of all the hair he was so proud to have kept, through his many chemo treatments, so they can focus the radiation more directly on the tumor. She sends photos. He is sitting in his chair in our tiny TV room, smiling sweetly and looking like a big bald baby. Because I am not living in their house I can conveniently shift the pain and fear back a little in my awareness. I must get on with my life.
March 3rd, 1981, I go into the GH set for my first day of shooting. I am beyond nervous. The show has been running, with pretty much the same cast, for years and everyone is in the flow and has their cliques and friendships. Oh no, it's the first day of a new school again! I struggle through day one just as I have done so many times before in other settings, and as has always happened, it gets easier; I make friends and begin to find my place. I am elated to be working regularly. After two weeks on the show, people are starting to stare at me on the street. It's unnerving at first and unexpected. This is the power -- I am learning -- of TV. I keep checking myself in store windows to see if I have an errant booger or maybe my fly is open.
Meanwhile, RCA finally keeps its word and, without much fanfare, they release Working Class Dog. Again the promotion department of a record company kicks into overdrive on a record of mine, but things are feeling different this time around. As I fly to New York to do radio and press, word starts coming in that different stations are playing different cuts from the album. I've never had this happen before. Usually you have to kiss their b*******s morning, noon and night just to have them play the d**n single, but stations around the country are picking their own favorite songs and playing them and writing about them in the trade papers. Something else is happening. I'm starting to get decent amounts of fan mail at ABC: something TV producers take big note of. Gloria Monty, GH's producer/Svengali and the woman who hired me, starts putting my character into more episodes.
RCA releases the first single. No, not that song. With 9 of the 10 tracks on the record written by me, they release the only one that isn't – "I've Done Everything For You." I think they figure it will have a better shot because Sammy Hagar's name is attached to it as the writer of the song. I am okay with it. I think it's a good song. I would have preferred one of my own be the single but all that matters is that we launch the album with a hit single. The thing is, radio doesn't play "I've Done Everything For You" and although other tracks from Working Class Dog are being played, "I've Done Everything For You" isn't making the rotations. It bombs.
Then something magical happens. A gift. Word starts coming in to RCA that radio is liking, playing and starting to get strong "phones" on another song off the album. And in a move that couldn't happen today because of radio's tight playlists and corporate fingers in the pie, the radio stations of America choose the single, and that single is "Jessie's Girl."' RCA releases the song and it begins its torturously slow climb up the charts.