leejohnson's current selection is:
Rock On
by David Essex

Posted in January 2018, "Cameron K's Blog" has this to say about Mr Essex, or Mr Cook to be precise:


David gave up his apprenticeship as an engineer to pursue a career as a musician, and was spotted by Derek Bowman who became his manager. David Cook became 'David Essex', and formed 'The China Plates' (Cockney rhyming slang for mates). The band split up - soon after David Essex went solo releasing "And The Tears Came Tumblin' Down" for the 'Decca' label in 1963. It failed to catch any attention.

Bowman had confidence in the youngster, and sent him for acting classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. David pursued some acting options and worked in repertory whilst still active as a singer. For a couple of years, David toured with his eight-piece band 'Mood Indigo' but, after he collapsed exhausted on stage at a gig, he was forced to rest up for a couple of months. His dashing good looks got him a couple of small acting parts in the films "Assault" (1970) and "All Coppers Are..." (1971), but otherwise David was on the brink of leaving showbusiness when the 24-year-old won the role of 'Jesus' in "Godspell" in 1971.

Success on the West End stage brought him other film offers, which included the starring role in the retro-film, "That'll Be The Day" (with Ringo Starr). The movie met with critical success and, when the soundtrack song "Rock On" (written by David and co–produced by Jeff Wayne) became a massive international hit, it catapulted him into pop stardom.

His follow up single, "Lamplight", charted in the Top 10 on the UK Singles chart and he toured the UK. David Essex had a strong female fan base which ensured scenes of hysteria reminiscent of Beatlemania. The sequel to "That'll Be The Day", called "Stardust", also starred David (with Adam Faith) and was released in 1974. More hits followed, and as his success as a pop star dwindled he went back to the theatre, but not before he recorded a version of "Yesterday" in 1976 for the musical documentary "All This and World War II".

He was back working with Jeff Wayne two years later and featured on the concept album "War of the Worlds". In the same year, David landed the part of 'Che' (Che Guevara) in Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical "Evita". David's "Oh What a Circus" was released as a single and charted at No. 3 in the UK. By the early eighties, David was back in the movies starring in "Silver Dream Racer", and the soundtrack song "Silver Dream Machine" gave David another Top Ten chart success.

In 1985, he co-wrote and starred as 'Fletcher Christian' in the West End musical "Mutiny!". The score produced two more hit singles, including "Tahiti". David, keen to diversify, has appeared in successful sitcoms and stage musicals since the 1980s. He still performs and records. His last chart success was a cover version of "Everlasting Love", which appeared on the album "Cover Shot" in 1993.


I thought this was great at the time, not because of his pretty boy looks (though any guy would have been naturally jealous) but because of the quirky, minimalist nature of the song. Low on instruments and high on echo/reverb, it provided a highly-skewed reference back to the 'rock 'n' roll' of fifteen years before (in fact, you would probably have found very little back in the Fifties which actually resembled this track - it represented a kind of Seventies take on the whole genre, and was very much composed just for the musical it featured in).

One might assume this made No. 1 in the UK, but one would be wrong - it stalled at No. 3 for two weeks in August 1973, and spent 10 weeks in the Top 40 all told. The single waited until March 1974 before hitting its highest in the US, registering No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 at that point.
1973 - Columbia Records - United Kingdom - From the album of the same name.
Posted: 10th September 2019
Born in 1954, leaving education by 1972, 'glam' was my thing, "Ziggy" Bowie my hero. I was even the only guy in my town with the haircut (though not the carrot red colouring!). Therefore every seventh selection is a Bowie track.
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