Times – and hairstyles, as indicated by the photo above – have changed since Dr. Noah Drake last prowled the halls of “General Hospital.” But Dr. Noah Drake, apparently, has not.

Rick Springfield, the Grammy-winning singer/former Tiger Beat mainstay and ex-“GH” star, will be returning to the ABC soap later this year to reprise his role as Dr. Drake. He’s scheduled to make his first appearance on Dec. 2.

“Dr. Noah Drake has always been a fan favorite, and we are so happy that the storyline will allow for the character to make an exciting return to the canvas,” says Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime.

“I guess there was a reason why they didn’t kill Noah off in the “80s,” the 56-year-old Springfield says. “This should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

Drake’s return to the show is occasioned when he gets a call for help from Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough), who’s treating bad boy Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) for seizures.

Springfield played Noah on “General Hospital” from 1981-83, right around the time that “Jessie’s Girl” and his album “Working Class Dog” made him a chart-topping pop star and launched thousands of schoolgirl crushes (despite the fact that he was in his early 30s at the time). He left the soap to do the feature film “Hard to Hold” in 1984, then faded from most people’s radar after the movie flopped.

He returned to touring this year, recently wrapping a six-month tour of the United States that also included stops on “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “Larry King Live.”


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