Full Name: David Albert Cook

Description: Vocalist, Composer, Drummer, UK

Known For: Known for the hit song – “Rock On” – 1974

Instruments: Drums, Voice

Music Styles: Rock, Musical Theatre

Location: United Kingdom

Date Born: 23rd July 1947
Location Born: Plaistow, United Kingdom

Web Site:

Other Links: See below:



David Essex OBE

An English musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Since the 1970s, Essex has attained nineteen Top 40 singles in the UK (including two number ones), and sixteen Top 40 albums.He has also had an extensive career as an actor performing on stage and screen.

Essex was born in Plaistow, East London His father, Albert, was an East End dock worker and his mother, Olive (née Kemp), was a self-taught pianist and an Irish Traveller. His grandfather, Thomas Kemp, was named ‘Philimore’ which was the anglicised version of ‘Philly Mor’ – being Irish for ‘Big Philly’.

Essex was two years old when his parents moved out of the overcrowded home the family was sharing with relatives, to Canning Town where he grew up. Essex attended Star Lane Primary School, he loved playing football and did not answer any of the questions in the Eleven plus exam for entry into a Grammar School, so that he could ensure he attended Shipman County Secondary School where he knew they played the game.

He was also a member of West Ham United Juniors for a while and dreamed of one day being a professional player. He then also became interested in music and played drums with a local band, before becoming a singer.

He made his first record entitled “And The Tears Came Tumblin’ Down” for the Fontana label in 1963. He then toured with a band called ‘David Essex and the Mood Indigo’ for two years. His first notable acting role aside from small appearances in the films Assault and All Coppers Are… was the lead in the stage musical, Godspell in 1971 at the age of 23.

Two years later, he starred in the film That’ll Be The Day (1973) and recorded his international hit single, the self penned “Rock On”, in the same year. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in March 1974. Nominated for a Grammy, number one in the USA A second single, “Lamplight”, also reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart.

In the 1970s, Essex emerged as a performer of some note. His biggest hits during this decade included two UK Number One singles: “Gonna Make You a Star” (1974), and “Hold Me Close” (1975). He also appeared in Stardust, a 1974 sequel to That’ll Be The Day; the title song was another Top 10 hit. In 1976, Essex covered The Beatles song, “Yesterday”, for the musical documentary All This and World War II.

Essex’s pop idol looks gave him a strong female fan base and his British tours created scenes of hysteria reminiscent of Beatlemania. According to The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, he was voted the number one British male vocalist in 1974, and was a teen idol for more than a decade.

Musical roles

In December 1973, Essex appeared in the stage version of Tommy at London’s Rainbow Theatre.

In 1978, he appeared on Jeff Wayne’s concept album, a musical version of The War of the Worlds, as the Artilleryman. In the UK the two-record set remains a bestseller.

In the same year, Essex played the character Che, loosely based on Che Guevara, in the original production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita,[13] and his recording of the show’s “Oh What a Circus” reached Number 3. Two years later, he starred in the film Silver Dream Racer; and the soundtrack song “Silver Dream Machine” was yet another Top 3 hit in the UK Singles Chart.

Essex continued to perform in all areas of show business, . A 1988 sitcom, “The River”, achieved good ratings. In 1991, a compilation entitled His Greatest Hits reached Number 13; a 1993 album, Cover Shot, featuring a cover version of the Buzz Cason/Mac Gayden song “Everlasting Love”, peaked at Number 3. His autobiography, A Charmed Life, was published in 2002, and became a bestseller.

In 1999, Essex was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He still tours the UK every year and releases albums through his website. Despite his long and successful British career, he remains largely unknown in the United States. “Rock On” reached Number 1 in 1974, and was his only US [Cash Box] Top 40 hit single.

Essex, who comes from a family of Irish Travellers, played a kind-hearted nomad in one episode of ITV1’s 1960s Yorkshire-based drama Heartbeat in 2000. Essex told Jake Bowers of the BBC’s Rokker Radio, a programme for Gypsies and Travellers, on 30 July 2006, that he has always been openly proud of his Traveller roots, but that having moved to the US, Essex has said he feels it inappropriate for him to continue as Patron of Britain’s National Gypsy Council, which works for equal rights, education, and services for Romany and Irish Travellers.

In 2005, he appeared as a guest vocalist and wrote songs for Saint Etienne’s album Tales from Turnpike House. Also that year, he appeared in the Channel 4 documentary Bring Back…The Christmas Number One.

Essex was due to join the cast of soap opera EastEnders, in early 2006, as new character Jack Edwards. However, the role was expanded beyond the three weeks planned, and Essex was unable to commit the time. The role instead went to Nicky Henson.

A model and recording of Essex is featured in the museum of West Ham United Football Club. In the recording, he explains his reasons for supporting West Ham and his love of the team.

Essex spent six years as an ambassador for Voluntary Service Overseas, which earned him an OBE in 1999. “That was a big day. I took my two eldest kids, and me mum even went out and bought a hat”.


Essex used to record and release records on his own ‘Lamplight’ record label. He has since changed the name of his company to Joseph Webster Ltd, named after his first grandchild. He tours regularly and continues to act, appearing in Boogie Nights 2, Footloose and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects Of Love. From September 2008 to the summer of 2009 he took his own musical, All The Fun Of The Fair, on a tour of the United Kingdom.

He followed this in the autumn with a sell out tour of the UK, named the Secret Tour. Essex has released a DVD on his website of the last night of the tour, filmed in Bournemouth. He returned to London’s West End with his own hit musical All The Fun Of The Fair.

In 2010, Essex married Welsh actress Susan Hallam-Wright, his third wife, at St Cross Church, Talybont, near Bangor, Wales. He had previously been married to Maureen Neal (in 1971) and Carlotta Christy (in 1997).

In January 2011, it was announced that Essex had finally joined the cast of EastEnders as Eddie Moon, five years after he was initially supposed to appear in the show. His first on-screen appearance was on 3 June 2011. Eddie left the square on 6 October 2011.

Appeared and wrote the music score for the film Traveller, 2013.

Further information can be obtained at the web sites listed on the Links button above




“Rock On” – 1973 – UK #3,Cash Box USA Hot 100 Number 1
“Lamplight” – 1973 – UK #7, US #71
“America” – 1974 – UK #32
“Gonna Make You A Star” – 1974 – UK #1
“Stardust” – 1974 – UK #7
“Rolling Stone” – 1975 – UK #5
“Hold Me Close” – 1975 – UK #1
“If I Could” – 1975 – UK #13
“City Lights” – 1976 – UK #24
“Coming Home” – 1976 – UK #24
“Cool Out Tonight” – 1977 – UK #23
“Stay With Me Baby” – 1978 – UK #45
“Oh What A Circus” – 1978 – UK #3
“Brave New World” – 1978 – UK #55
“Imperial Wizard” – 1979 – UK #32
“Silver Dream Machine (Part 1)” – 1980 – UK #3
“Hot Love” – 1980 – UK #57
“Me And My Girl (Night-Clubbing)” – 1982 – UK #7
“A Winter’s Tale” – 1982 – UK #2
“The Smile” – 1983 – UK #52
“Tahiti (From ‘Mutiny In The Bounty’)” – 1983 – UK #8
“You’re In My Heart” – 1983 – UK #59
“Fishing For The Moon” – 1984 – UK #76
“Welcome” – 1984 – UK #80
“Fallen Angels Riding” – 1985 – UK #29
“Friends” – 1985
“Myfanwy” – 1987 – UK #41
“The River” – 1988
“Rock On” (remix) – 1989
“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” – 1989
“True Love Ways” – 1994 (with Catherine Zeta-Jones) – UK #38

Unplugged – 2009


Rock On – 1973 – UK #7, US #32
David Essex – 1974 – UK #2
All The Fun Of The Fair – 1975 – UK #3
On Tour – 1976 – UK #51
Out On The Street – 1976 – UK #31
Gold and Ivory – 1977 – UK #29
The David Essex Album – 1979 – UK #29
Imperial Wizard – 1979 – UK #12
Hot Love – 1980 – UK #75
Silver Dream Racer – 1980[25]
Be-Bop the Future – 1981[26]
Stage-Struck – 1982 – UK #31
The Very Best Of David Essex – 1982 – UK #37
Mutiny – 1983 – UK #39
The Whisper – 1983[27] – UK #67
This One’s For You – 1984[28]
Centre Stage – 1986 – UK #82
Touching The Ghost – 1989
His Greatest Hits – 1991 – UK #13
Cover Shot – 1993 – UK #3
Back To Back – 1994 – UK #33
Living In England – 1995
Missing You – 1995 – UK #26
A Night At The Movies – 1997 – UK #14
Greatest Hits/The Very Best Of David Essex – 1998 – UK #31
I Still Believe – 1999
Thank You – 2000
Wonderful – 2001
Theatre Of Dreams – 2001
Forever – 2002
Sunset – 2003
It’s Gonna Be Alright – 2004
Greatest Hits – 2006
Beautiful Day – 2006
Happy Ever After – 2007
All The Fun Of The Fair – Greatest Hits – 2008 – UK #23

Selected filmography

Smashing Time (1967)
Assault (1971)
All Coppers Are… (1972)
That’ll Be the Day (1973)
Stardust (1974)
The Big Bus (1976)
Silver Dream Racer (1980)
The River (1988)
Tribe (2011)
EastEnders (2011) Eddie Moon


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 186–187. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Jump up ^ //www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biography_home/1797:2247/David_Essex.htm The Biography Channel – David Essex Biography
  3. Jump up ^ Amazon.co.uk: A Charmed Life: The Autobiography of David Essex: David Essex: Books
  4. Jump up ^ The Biography Channel – David Essex Biography
  5. Jump up ^ David Essex, “Over The Moon” page 70 (“with my new name on the label next to the famous blue and white Fontana logo”), Virgin Books 2012, ISBN 978-0-7535-4033-6
  6. ^ Jump up to: a b BBC NEWS | Programmes | Breakfast | Rags to riches tale of Essex boy David
  7. Jump up ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 243. CN 5585.
  8. Jump up ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 327. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  9. Jump up ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 254. CN 5585.
  10. Jump up ^ 16th Edition – ISBN 0-85112-190-X
  11. Jump up ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 257. CN 5585.
  12. Jump up ^ History of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War Of The Worlds
  13. Jump up ^ Eva Peron, Superstar – Retrieved: 28 April 2007
  14. Jump up ^ Andrewlloydwebber.com
  15. Jump up ^ Rosamond, John Save The Triumph Bonneville ! The Inside Story Of The Meriden Workers’ Co-Op ISBN 1845842650
  16. Jump up ^ The Wright Stuff broadcast 6 July 2005
  17. Jump up ^ IndieLondon: David Essex and a new musical – Your London Reviews
  18. Jump up ^ “Heartbeat” – The Traveller (2000)


  19. Jump up ^ BBC – 6 Music Album Of The Day – Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House
  20. Jump up ^ Essex withdraws from EastEnders – Retrieved: 27 April 2007
  21. Jump up ^ BBC News.
  22. Jump up ^ Aspects of Love musical on stage: Ticket and UK tour information
  23. Jump up ^ David Essex, “Over The Moon”, Virgin Books 2012 Times Newspaper number one best seller, ISBN 978-0-7535-4033-6
  24. Jump up ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (24 January 2011). “David Essex lands ‘EastEnders’ role”

    . Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 24 January 2011.

  25. Jump up ^ David Essex- Be-Bop the Future @Discogs.com

    Retrieved 4-17-2010.

  26. Jump up ^ David Essex- The Whisper @Discogs.com

    Retrieved 4-17-2010.

  27. Jump up ^ David Essex- This One’s For You @Discogs.com

    Retrieved 4-17-2010.

  28. Jump up ^ “Official Album Chart for the week ending 27 September 2008”. ChartsPlus (Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd) (370): 5–8.