Any Longtime ‘General Hospital’ Fans Remember This Early ’80s ‘GH’-Themed Novelty Song?

Image of the 45 LP record for the song

“On and on and on it goes/where it ends up, nobody knows!”

That line from the 1981 novelty rap song “General Hospi-Tale” by the very short-lived group the Afternoon Delights (Rebecca Hall, Janet Powell, Robalee Barnes and Suzanne Boucher) is spot-on in its description of soap operas in general.

And it is especially fitting when it comes to the tune’s main subject — ABC‘s long-running daytime drama General Hospital — given that GH, one of the last daytime dramas left on broadcast television, is marking its 60th anniversary this year (it premiered April 1, 1963).

GH has indeed gone “on and on and on” for over 40 years since “General Hospi-Tale” was released during the show’s early ’80s heyday, when the drama transcended the daytime audience to become a wider pop culture phenomenon thanks to the relationship and eventual marriage of the first soap opera supercouple: Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Webber/Baldwin (Genie Francis). That wedding took place in November 1981, and was seen by about 30 million viewers, far more than the usual soap crowd.

It makes sense that a song like “General Hospi-Tale” was created during that time, and that it was even able to reach and stay on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for awhile — peaking at No. 33 in early October 1981 (GH star Rick Springfield’s song “Jessie’s Girl” was just two spots ahead of it, at 31, by that point, after peaking at No. 1 a few months earlier) — given the mania surrounding the show just ahead of Luke and Laura’s wedding.

Here are the Afternoon Delights performing “General Hospi-Tale” within that window of increased hyper-interest in GH:

The song was also featured in the 1982 comedy Young Doctors in Love, directed by Garry Marshall and led by Sean Young and Michael McKean, which was a parody of medical-focused soap operas, like The Doctors (which also happened to premiere April 1, 1963) and GH in particular; several stars from the show as well as other ABC soaps of the time made cameo appearances in that film.

Today, even though General Hospital is no longer as white-hot as it was in 1980-82 or so, it still has a loyal audience (myself included!) who tune in daily (or at least DVR daily).

And for those fans, certain lyrics from “General Hospi-Tale” still ring true, like:

“I just can’t cope/without my soap!”

“[General Hospital,] you’re my worst affliction/you’re my favorite addiction.”

“Did you see it today? Tell me what’s going on!”

Beyond having such lines describing an addiction to soaps in general, and General Hospital in particular, the song also does, in fact, tell a “hospi-tale” that offers nice commentary on some of the key GH storylines of that era (Susan having Alan’s baby, for example, and Luke and Laura on the run from Frank Smith) so it serves as a nice crash-course in GH history for those who might need it, or for those who want to relive it.

Enhancing this already-fun song, YouTube user @GHRickLesley put together this great video that sets “General Hospi-Tale” to a montage of notable GH characters and moments from 1980-81, featuring not only scenes and people referenced in the song, but others, too.

Here are some key characters I was able to pick out in the video; a few of these actors are still on the show, too, in either regular or recurring roles:

* Luke (Geary) and Laura (Francis)

* Bobbie Spencer (Jacklyn Zemen)

* Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner)

* Lee Baldwin (Peter Hensen) and Gail Baldwin (Susan Brown)

* Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers)

* Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon), who was having an affair with Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey) while married to Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson), who was having a romance of her own with Dr. Rick Webber (Chris Robinson) while he was married to Dr. Lesley Webber (Denise Alexander)

* Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot) withholding her father’s, Edward Quartermaine (David Lewis), medication while he feigns a heart attack to test her loyalty

* Lila Quartermaine (Anna Lee)

* Heather Webber (Robin Mattson, the character’s most famous portrayer out of the several actresses who have taken on that role)

* Dr. Jeff Webber (Richard Dean Anderson, the character’s original portrayer) and Nurse Anne Logan (Susan Pratt)

* Dr. Noah Drake (Springfield), who, during one moment in the “General Hospi-tale” song, is paged “to ICU to treat a case of … heartbreak.”

* Diana Taylor (Brooke Bundy)

* Amy Vining (Shell Kepler)

* Richard Simmons as himself, teaching some aerobics classes (a sure sign that it’s the early ’80s)

* Frank Smith (original portrayer George Gaynes)

* Sally Armitage (aka Max Hedges, played by Christopher Morley) and Jefferson “Hutch” Hutchins (Rick Moses), killers working for Smith who were after Luke and Laura when they fled with Frank Smith’s little black book

* The Ice Princess (although it’s a diamond, it is a character in its own right, and it is back in play in a main storyline right now on GH)

* Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and his wife, Nurse Audrey Hardy (Rachel Ames)

* Nurse Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin)

* Ruby Anderson (Norma Connolly)

* Bryan Phillips (Todd Davis) and Claudia Johnston-Phillips (Bianca Ferguson)

* Joe Kelly (Doug Sheehan)

In case the “General Hospi-Tale” earworm is not yet in your head, I’ll just leave you with this extended remix version:

And happy 60th anniversary, General Hospital! You are, indeed, my favorite addiction, and I just can’t cope without my soap.