I went to see 'Evita' in Newcastle on Monday night and, when the Che character started singing 'Oh What A Circus' I yearned for David Essex's voice (he was the original Che). So I downloaded it. Then I thought I'd take a listen to his other hits. And downloaded them. There are lots of David Essex collections out there but none have all his singles on them - how odd.
A re-evaluation of David Essex is well overdue. He started out as a drummer and a singing actor, taking the lead role in 'Godspell' and then had a surprise hit single with 'Rock On' (that was also a hit in America). He followed this with 'Lamplight' and 'America' before hitting the top spot later in 1974 with 'Gonna Make You A Star'. A year later he went to No. 1 again with 'Hold Me Close' after lesser chart positions for 'Stardust' and 'Rolling Stone'.
The odd thing is that although 'Gonna Make You A Star' and 'Hold Me Close' are both pop gold, his other singles would, these days, almost be considered 'indie' yet he was always treated as a teenie-bop star. Obviously it was because he was a pretty boy and fodder for the front cover of 'Jackie' and other weekly girls magazines. 'Rock On' still sounds fresh and different today and so do his other singles from the time, but they never appear on compliations of the '70s.
David was always an actor, from 'Godspell' onwards, to the films 'That'll Be The Day', 'Stardust' and 'Silver Dream Racer'. I remember liking his series, 'The River' in the late '80s when he ran a windmill beside a canal, a gentle comedy. He starred in 'Mutiny On The Bounty' and lots of other stuff. But I go back to his music in the '70s for proof of his abilities and what great songs and performances they were.
Go on, sample David Essex again. There's something there for everyone...