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Dave Edmunds (born 15 April 1944, Cardiffmarker, Glamorganmarker, South Walesmarker) is a Welsh singer, guitarist and record producer. Although he is primarily associated with Pub rock and New Wave, and had numerous hits in the 1970s and early 1980s, his natural leaning has always been towards 1950s style rock and roll.


Early years

As a teenager Edmunds first played with a band called the '99ers' and later in the 'Heartbeats' with his older brother Geoff. The first group that Edmunds fronted was the Cardiff based 1950s style rockabilly trio 'The Raiders', along with Bob 'Congo' Jones on drums and John Williams on bass, that worked almost exclusively in the South Wales area. In the late 1960s, the band shifted to a more blues-rock sound, adding second guitarist Mickey Gee and renaming as the short lived 'The Human Beans', a band that played mostly in London and on the UK university circuit. In 1967 the band recorded a cover of "Morning Dew" on the Columbia label, that failed to have any chart impact. After just eighteen months the core of 'Human Beans' formed a new band called Love Sculpture that again reinstated Edmunds, Jones and Williams as a trio, who scored a quasi-novelty Top 5 hit by reworking Khachaturian's classical piece "Sabre Dance" as a speed-crazed rock number, inspired by Keith Emerson's classical rearrangements. "Sabre Dance" became a hit after garnering the enthusiastic attention of British DJ John Peel.

Solo career

After Love Sculpture split, Edmunds had a UK #1 single in 1970 with "I Hear You Knocking", a Smiley Lewis cover, which he came across while producing Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets' first album entitled A Legend. The recording was the first release on Edmunds's manager's MAM Records label. This single also reached #4 in the U.S., making it Edmunds's biggest hit by far on either side of the Pondmarker. Edmunds had intended to record Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together", but when he was beaten to that song by Canned Heat, he adapted the arrangement he intended to use for it to "I Hear You Knocking", producing a highly original remake. Unfortunately, the success of the single caused EMI's Regal Zonophone Records to use an option that it had to claim Edmunds's album, 1972's Rockpile, and the momentum from the single's success on a different label went away.

Edmunds's only acting role followed, as a band member in the David Essex movie, Stardust. After learning the trade of producer, culminating in a couple of singles in the style of Phil Spector, "Baby I Love You" and "Born to Be with You", he became linked with the pub rock movement of the early 1970s, producing Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe, and also The Flamin' Groovies, using a stripped down, grittier sound. Edmunds had bought a house in Rockfield, Monmouth a few miles away from Charles and Kingsley Ward's Rockfield Studiosmarker where he became an almost permanent fixture for the next twenty years. His working regime involved arriving at the studio in the early evening and working through till well after dawn, usually locked in the building alone. Applying the layered Spector sound to his own productions it was not unusual for Edmunds to multilayer up to forty separately recorded guitar tracks into the mix.

Rockpile and other collaborations

His own solo LP from 1975, Subtle as a Flying Mallet, was similar in style. The Brinsley Schwarz connection brought about a collaboration with Nick Lowe starting with this album, and in 1976 they formed the group Rockpile, with Billy Bremner and Terry Williams. Because Edmunds and Lowe signed to different record labels that year, they could not record as Rockpile until 1980, but many of their solo LPs (such as Nick Lowe's Labour of Lust and Edmunds's own Repeat When Necessary) were group recordings. Edmunds had more UK hits during this time, including Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk", Nick Lowe's "I Knew The Bride", Hank DeVito's "Queen of Hearts" (written for Edmunds and later a U.S. hit for Juice Newton), Graham Parker's "Crawling from the Wreckage", and Melvin Endsley's "Singing the Blues" (originally a hit for Guy Mitchell).

Unexpectedly, after Rockpile released their first LP under their own name, Seconds of Pleasure (1980), the band split, generally attributed to tensions not between Edmunds and Lowe but their respective managers. Edmunds spent the 1980s collaborating with and producing an assortment of artists, from Paul McCartney to King Kurt, and from Stray Cats and Fabulous Thunderbirds to Status Quo. He recorded the soundtrack for Porky's Revenge, supplying the main theme, "High School Nights," and was the musical director for a television special starring Carl Perkins, with assorted guests including George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Rosanne Cash.

On his 1983 release, Information, Edmunds collaborated on two songs with Jeff Lynne, the leader of Electric Light Orchestra. One of these songs, a Lynne composition, "Slipping Away", became Edmunds's only other U.S. Top 40 hit, albeit just barely, spending a single week at #39. It was not a hit in the UK. In 1984, Lynne produced six tracks on Edmunds's following album, Riff Raff.

In 1986, Dave Edmunds participated in Carl Perkins's Rockabilly Session television special to pay tribute to his hero. Other musicians involved in the project include George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton.

Recent events

Edmunds recorded less frequently after the mid 1980s, living in Wales in semi-retirement, but occasionally touring. He joined up with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band for tours in 1992 and 2000. However, 2007 marked a return to touring for Edmunds, alongside Joe Brown, on a lengthy tour around the UK. He made an appearance on stage alongside Stray Cats, at the Brixton Academy in London, on 10 September 2008, playing "The Race Is On" and "Tear It Up" with the band.

On New Year's Eve 2008 he appeared on Jools Holland's annual Hootenanny, performing "Girls Talk" and "I Hear You Knocking". He was Holland's guest again at Borde Hill Gardenmarker on 20 June 2009, on 28 August at at open air concert at Carrickfergus Castlemarker., 31 October at Ipswich Regent, 7 November at Stoke Victoria Hall and 14 November at Nottingham Concert Hall. Edmunds also played a five song set, including I Hear You Knocking, I knew the bride and Sabre Dance with the Holland Big Band at the Royal Albert Hall on November 27 2009.

Selected discography


Release date Title Chart Positions Notes
UK Singles Chart Australia Canada U.S.
1968 with Love Sculpture:
"Sabre Dance"
1970 "I Hear You Knocking" 1 4 3 4
1971 "I'm Comin' Home" 36 75
1971 "Blue Monday" 104
1972 "The Promised Land" 5
1973 "Baby I Love You" 8 48
1973 "Born to Be with You" 5 96
1976 "Here Comes The Weekend"
1976 "Where Or When"
1977 "Ju Ju Man"
1977 "I Knew The Bride" 26 32
1978 "Deborah"
1978 "Television"
1979 "A1 On The Jukebox"
1979 "Girls Talk" 4 9 18 65
1979 "Queen of Hearts" 11 59
1979 "Crawling From The Wreckage" 59
1980 Rockpile:
"Teacher Teacher"
83 31 51 Lead vocal by Nick Lowe
1980 "Singing the Blues" 28 67
1981 "Almost Saturday Night" 58 54
1981 "The Race Is On" (with Stray Cats) 34
1983 "Slipping Away" 60 39
1983 "Information" 106
1985 "High School Nights" 95
1990 "Closer To The Flame" 86
1990 "King of Love" 68

Studio albums

with Love Sculpture:
  • Blues Helping (December 1968)
  • Forms and Feelings (January 1970)

as Dave Edmunds:

with Rockpile:

as Dave Edmunds:

Live albums/compilations

as Dave Edmunds:
  • The Best of Dave Edmunds (January 1982) (U.S. #163)
  • I Hear You Rocking (June 1987) (U.S. #106)
  • The Anthology: 1968-1990 (April 1993)
  • A Pile of Rock: Live (September 2001)
  • From Small Things: The Best of Dave Edmunds (April 2004)
  • Alive and Pickin' (February 2005)
  • The Many Sides of Dave Edmunds - The Greatest Hits and More (September 2008)


  1. Edmunds summary
  2. BBC Edmunds Tribute
  3. biography
  4. Human Beans Morning Dew Dave Edmunds
  5. Rick Clark, liner notes from The Dave Edmunds Anthology (1968-90), Rhino Records R2 71191 (1993)
  6. Edmunds also appearred in the Paul McCartney film, Give My Regards to Broad Street, but just as part of McCartney's backing band.
  7. Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium (Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions, 2000), 538, 570.

External links

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