It was the summer of 1999. I was eight years old, and I was singing along to this really catchy, random and seemingly nonsensical song “Summer Girls” by another pop band named LFO. Other than trying to figure out what the point of this oddly-written song was, I strained to figure out what “LFO” stood for. I’d find out years later in a Google search that it stands for “Lyte Funky Ones” – in true 90’s form.
After that particular song was released, I quickly found posters of them popping up in my sister’s room and a love note in her journal written to some guy named Rich. As much as I loved pop music in those days, I knew even at my tender age, these guys would probably have their day on radio and fade into obscurity.
Still, I would see a new teen magazine pin-up of these guys every week it seemed on my sister’s wall, along with an new scribble of “Rich” on one of her notebooks. The song “Girl on TV” came out that November and her infatuation seemed to grow and grow. I mean, I saw the other two guys singing in the video, and all she cared about was this “Rich” guy! I had to investigate.
Sadly, the next pop music trend came around at that time and I lost interest in finding out who he was.
Even more depressing, I learned most of what I know about him recently, now that I’ve I read the news that “this Rich guy,” Rich Cronin, died after a long battle with leukemia today.
In my trek away from pop music somewhere around my 10th birthday in 2000, I had no idea of what any pop band was up to – because I didn’t really care. For nostalgic purposes, I’d look up some of the songs I used to love and remember times and places I was when those songs were released. And every time I did, LFO would pop up in my search – hence my discovery of what “LFO” means. I’d always remember camping with my family at Wolverine Campground in Columbiaville, MI and the great times I had while their music would play in the background.
I guess once you get older and musicians lose their place in the spotlight, it’s somewhat satisfying to not only remember what made them famous, but to wonder what they’re up to currently.
And another trip down memory lane ends…
Rich was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in 2005 after going to the hospital complaining of headaches. After chemotherapy, he went into remission in early 2006, at which point he started his own Rich Cronin Hope Foundation in hopes of raising awareness of the disease.
After releasing a solo album in 2008, Rich reunited with his former band mates and embarked on a tour in July of 2009. Fellow band made Brad Fischetti said he never thought that they’d be on stage again, and that they had the time of their lives. The ride was short lived, as they broke up again in September 2009.
In the summer of 2010, Cronin’s health began to deteriorate and he was admitted to Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Boston. And on September 8, 2010, he died following a stroke at age 36.
According to CNN, Brad Fischetti sent him a text message wishing him a happy birthday last week. He received no response – which he found uncharacteristic of Cronin.
The song that probably resonates in your memory after hearing this news – “Summer Girls” – hit #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales chart for six weeks back in the summer of 1999. The single also went platinum in the US with sales of over 1,000,000 singles.
R.I.P. “That Rich Guy,” Rich Cronin.