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Rock On

David Essex

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Album Review

With the title track instantaneously established among the defining songs of the 1970s (not to mention David Essex's own career), the singing actor's first album had a lot to live up to. So, it says much for the quality of his collaboration with producer/arranger Jeff Wayne that, from the moment "Lamplight" gets things underway, Rock On asserts itself in the most convincing manner possible — by spinning that track off as a second worldwide hit. Neatly divided between the darkly percolating, percussive rumbles that characterized his breakthrough and the broader ballads that would ultimately ensure Essex's longevity as a performer, Rock On is a supremely confident debut, as indeed it ought to be — with a recording career that dated back to 1965, Essex had been waiting a lifetime to make it. As he himself sings in the closing "Sept. 15th," "I've been doing a show for a long time." His roots show, as well, in sweet covers of Paul Simon's "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" and Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman's "Turn Me Loose," while there's also a reverb-drenched stab at proving further versatility with the mock-Caribbean swagger of "Ocean Girl" (to rhyme with "I love the way you twirl," of course). Another cover, Travis Pritchett's "Tell Him No," is especially persuasive, its lyric drawing such emotion out of Essex's voice that it overcomes even the heavy effects and canyon-like echo with which his tones are normally swamped — yes, Virginia, the boy can sing. It is the brittle sonics of the self-composed "Rock On," "Lamplight," "Streetfight," and "We All Insane" that are most memorable, however, and ensure that his early years remain the best remembered. But next time somebody suggests that all you really need of Essex is a decent greatest-hits collection, remember that the chirpy love songs and heartaching ballads of later years had to start somewhere.

Customer Reviews

Great

This is a wonderful album, listen to it

Brilliance begins here- an imperfect start.

I've been singing the praises of David Essex's singing, writing, and performing for decades to my fellow Americans. "Rock On" remains brilliant- structure, production, the vocal... and Essex's self-penned songs here, especially "Lamplight," showcased his and producer Jeff Wayne's abilities to meld the theatrical with rock on league with McCartney and Davies. The cover songs are well-done but not of the same caliber. Essex and Wayne continued to stretch and grow with their subsequent collaborations but the brilliance did start here.

Essex vs. Def Leppard

Loved the song in the 70's and the Def Leppard remake it awesome as well. Rick Savage does a WICKED Bass "solo" in this song in concert!

Biography

Born: July 23, 1947 in Plaistow, London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The mention of the name David Essex — at least to Americans — usually invokes a wave of '70s nostalgia, not just of his own monster hit "Rock On" and the movie That'll Be the Day, but also of such British pop/rock exports of the period such as Godspell, Rock Follies, color episodes of Doctor Who, and Rula Lenska. For most of that decade, Essex was a pop culture institution in England, and he produced the music and entertainment in enough different media to fulfill the role admirably....
Full Bio
Rock On, David Essex
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