David Essex

David Essex

Synopsis of Pop Music

"Hey kid, rock and roll,
Rock on... ooh, my soul..."

David Essex is mostly remembered on American shores for his one chart hit, the moody “Rock On.” However, this fact only scratches the surface of an amazing career. Essex is regarded as a superstar in his native England, where he made the transition from teen idol to serious actor and all-around entertainer.

Essex began his music career in the early 60’s as a drummer for an amateur band. He moved into singing and cut several singles throughout the decade in England. However, his big break came when he won the role of Jesus in the musical Godspell. His performance won him a role in the nostalgia-themed rock and roll film That’ll Be The Day, co-starring with such rock luminaries as Keith Moon and Ringo Starr.

David Essex got a new record contract in 1973 as a result of his acting popularity and soon had a U.K. hit with “Rock On.” This song had Essex slickly delivering a nostalgia-oriented lyric that dropped 50’s references like James Dean ("Jimmy Dean...James Dean, Rock on!") and Blue Suede Shoes over a calypso beat. The music also included hints of glam-rock and even a bit of disco. The melting-pot result of all these styles became a #3 smash in England and #1 hit in America in 1974, where it would sell a million copies. The tune was remade to even further chart success in 1989 by American actor Michael Damian.

Essex had another hit in 1974 with a self-penned pop tune, “Gonna Make You A Star.” The title was prophetic, as Essex was quickly becoming an international sensation. He ruled the pop-chart roost in England with singles like “Stardust” (the theme song from the sequel to That’ll Be The Day) and “Rollin’ Stone.” He also undertook a world tour in 1975 that involved sold-out concerts in the U.S., Australia, Germany, Spain and Japan.

David Essex continued to record and tour throughout the 70’s, consistently hitting the charts in England. He also played the role of Che Guevara in the original London stage production of the musical Evita. In the early 80’s he starred in another film, a motorbike racing drama called Silver Dream Racer. He appeared in several U.K. stage productions during this time, including a highly successful musical version of Mutiny On The Bounty.

Essex continued to divide his time between acting and recording throughout the 90’s and continues to be a major celebrity in England. He won the Order of the British Empire award for his charity work in 1999, thus cementing his status as an English national institution. His continued popularity proves that, despite what a few Yanks may think, David Essex is no one-hit wonder.

Artist Release History

1973 - Rock On
1974 - David Essex
1975 - All the Fun of The Fair
1976 - On Tour
1976 - Out on the Street
1977 - Gold & Ivory
1979 - The David Essex Album
1979 - Imperial Wizard
1979 - Hold Me Close
1980 - Silver Dream Racer
1980 - Hot Love
1981 - Be Bop the Future
1982 - Stage Struck
1983 - Mutiny
1983 - The Whisper
1984 - This Ones for You
1989 - Touching the Ghost
1995 - Living in England
1995 - Back to Back
1996 - Missing You
1998 - Here We Are All Together
1998 - The Very Best of David Essex
1999 - I Still Believe
2000 - 'Thank You'

Pop Sub Categories


Essential Music Albums

Rock On (CBS)
The Best of David Essex (Sony International)

Band Members

David Essex vocals

Other Pop Music Links