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David Essex OBE (born David Albert Cook on 23 July 1947) is an Englishmarker actor and singer, who has enjoyed a varied show business career.


Essex was born in Plaistowmarker, Englandmarker which, at the time of his birth, was officially part of the county of Essex. His father was an East Endmarker dock worker and his mother was a self-taught pianist and the daughter of Irish Travellers. His grandfather was named 'Philimore' which was the anglicied 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 Townmarker where he grew up. Essex attended Star Lane Primary School, he loved playing football and didn't 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.

Early career

He made his first record entitled 'And The Tears Came Tumblin' Down' for the Decca 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 only international hit single, "Rock On" (which he wrote himself), in the same year. A second single, "Lamplight", also reached the British Top 10.

In the 1970s, Essex emerged as a performer of some note. His biggest hit during this decade included two UK Number One single: "Gonna Make You a Star" (1974), a satirical look at success; and "Hold Me Close" (1975), a cheerful singalong. 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 - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X 'he was voted the number one British male vocalist in 1974, and was a teen idol for more than a decade'.

Musical roles

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, 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 10 hit in the UK singles chart.

In 1985, he co-wrote and starred as Fletcher Christian in the West Endmarker musical Mutiny!, based on the novel Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. The score produced two more hit singles, including "Tahiti," his tenth Top 10 success.

Essex has continued to perform in all areas of show business, to varying degrees of success. 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 classic "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 on a yearly basis and releases albums through his website. Despite his long and successful British career, he remains largely unknown in the United Statesmarker. "Rock On" reached Number 5 in 1974, and was his only Billboard Top 40 hit single.

The grandson of an Irish Traveller, Essex portrayed a kind-hearted gypsy in one episode of ITV1's 1960s Yorkshiremarker-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 on 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.

David 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," he laughs. He goes on to say it really was something very special: "But it didn't change me in any way. I don't have headed notepaper with David Essex OBE on it."


Essex continues to record and release records frequently on his own 'Lamplight' record label. He tours regularly and still treads the boards, recently appearing in 'Boogie Nights 2', 'Footloose' and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Aspects Of Love.

In 2004, Essex shouted "Are you waiting for a bus?" at a fan who stood up during a performance in Leeds. Essex was supported by local legends Wilson at the concert.

In 2008-09, he is touring the UK with a musical play called All the Fun of the Fair, which features many of his hits.

David Essex will be doing a 30-date Tour between 12 October and 29 November 2009. Starting off in Norwich, and ending on Bournemouth BIC.

UK discography


  • "Rock On" - 1973 - Number 3
  • "Lamplight" - 1973 - Number 7
  • "America" - 1974 - Number 32
  • "Gonna Make You a Star" - 1974 - Number 1
  • "Stardust" - 1975 - Number 7
  • "Rolling Stone" - 1975 - Number 5
  • "Hold Me Close" - 1975 - Number 1
  • "If I Could" - 1975 - Number 13
  • "City Lights" - 1976 - Number 24
  • "Coming Home" - 1976 - Number 24
  • "Cool Out Tonight" - 1977 - Number 23
  • "Stay With Me Baby" - 1978 - Number 45
  • "Oh What A Circus" - 1978 - Number 3
  • "Brave New World" - 1978 - Number 55
  • "Imperial Wizard" - 1979 - Number 32
  • "Silver Dream Machine (Part 1)" - 1980 - Number 4
  • "Hot Love" - 1980 - Number 57
  • "Me And My Girl (Night-Clubbing)" - 1982 - Number 13
  • "A Winter's Tale" - 1982 - Number 2
  • "The Smile" - 1983 - Number 52
  • "Tahiti (From 'Mutiny In The Bounty')" - 1983 - Number 8
  • "You're In My Heart" - 1983 - Number 59
  • "Fishing For The Moon" - 1984 - Number 76
  • "Welcome" - 1984 - Number 80
  • "Fallen Angels Riding" - 1985 - Number 29
  • "Friends" - 1985 - Number 91
  • "Myfanwy" - 1987 - Number 41
  • "The River" - 1988 - Number 97
  • "Rock On" (remix) - 1989 - Number 93
  • "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" - 1989 - Number 90
  • "True Love Ways" - 1994 (with Catherine Zeta Jones) - Number 38


  • Rock On - 1973 - Number 7
  • David Essex - 1974 - Number 2
  • All The Fun Of The Fair - 1975 - Number 4
  • On Tour - 1976 - Number 51
  • Out On The Street - 1976 - Number 31
  • Gold and Ivory - 1977 - Number 29
  • David Essex Album - 1979 - Number 29
  • Imperial Wizard - 1979 - Number 12
  • Hot Love - 1980 - Number 75
  • Stage-Struck - 1982 - Number 31
  • The Very Best Of David Essex - 1982 - Number 32
  • Living in England - 1995
  • A Night at the Movies - 1997 - Number 14
  • I Still Believe - 1999
  • Thank You - 2000
  • Wonderful - 2001
  • Theatre Of Dreams - 2001
  • Forever - 2001
  • 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


  1. The Biography Channel - David Essex Biography
  2. A Charmed Life: The Autobiography of David Essex: David Essex: Books
  3. when younger played cricket against the great shaun brady ex indian test player The Biography Channel - David Essex Biography
  4. BBC NEWS | Programmes | Breakfast | Rags to riches tale of Essex boy David
  5. History of Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War Of The Worlds
  6.,9171,919829,00.html Eva Peron, Superstar - Retrieved: April 28, 2007
  7. [1]
  8. IndieLondon: David Essex and a new musical - Your London Reviews
  9. "Heartbeat" - The Traveller (2000)
  10. BBC - 6 Music Album Of The Day - Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House
  11. Essex withdraws from EastEnders - Retrieved: April 27, 2007
  12. BBC News.
  13. Aspects of Love musical on stage: Ticket and UK tour information
  14. "Myfanwy" is a poem by John Betjeman set to music. For lyrics see

  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
  • Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
  • The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits - ISBN 0-85112-250-7
  • [29098] Jeff Wayne's "The War Of The Worlds" 1978
  • [29099] Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita, song "Oh What a Circus" by David Essex
  • [29100] David Essex to appear in "Aspects Of Love" a new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • [29101] Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House released: 13 June 2005
  • [29102] former patron of the Gypsy Council in Britain
  • [29103] David Essex awarded the OBE in 1999 in recognition of his charity work with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
  • [29104] (para.4) Essex starred in and wrote score for movie "Silver Dream Racer". David, also topped the UK music charts with "Silver Dream Machine
  • [29105] A Charmed Life: The Autobiography of David Essex - published 2002 (Orion)
  • [29106] 5th paragraph "Essex played Fletcher Christian in his own musical Mutiny! (co-written with Richard Crane) which played at the Piccadilly Theatre for sixteen months.

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