Thursday, August 14, 2008

1973: Rock On

David Essex: Rock On


Rock On was written for the movie That'll Be The Day, which was part of a pair of films (the other being Stardust) about the fictional character Jim MacLaine, played by singer/actor David Essex. If you love British Invasion music, I highly recommend the two. They're a bit hokey, but they give a great glimpse into the world of UK Rock musicians of the day and what it took to get to the toppermost of the poppermost. It's also chock full of Pop Culture icons and musicians of the times - Adam Faith, Larry Hagman, Marty Wilde, Edd Byrnes and Ringo Starr, among others. Keith Moon, Dave Edmunds and Essex play in a combo named The Stray Cats, Brian Setzer later used the name for his own band. If you look closely in this YouTube clip from Stardust, you'll catch a young Nick Lowe.

What I find most attractive about Rock On is the stripped-down approach - it never hurts for notes in a Pop song to have some breathing room. It hit #5 in the US charts, #3 in the UK. Rock On is one of those tunes you might not know by name but recognize within a few notes - a true one-hit wonder from David Essex.

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