Dave Edmunds

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Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds Live.png
Edmunds in 2017, performing in Germany
Background information
Birth nameDavid William Edmunds
Born (1944-04-15) 15 April 1944 (age 74)
Cardiff, Wales
  • Musician
  • record producer
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1968–2017
Associated acts

David William "Dave" Edmunds (born 15 April 1944) is a Welsh singer/songwriter, guitarist, actor and record producer. Although he is mainly associated with pub rock and new wave, having many hits in the 1970s and early 1980s, his natural leaning has always been towards 1950s style rock and roll. [2]

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

Pub rock is a rock music genre that was developed in the early to mid-1970s in the United Kingdom. A back-to-basics movement which incorporated roots rock, pub rock was a reaction against expensively-recorded and produced progressive rock and flashy glam rock. Although short-lived, pub rock was notable for rejecting huge stadium venues and for returning live rock to the small intimate venues of its early years. Since major labels showed no interest in pub rock groups, pub rockers sought out independent record labels such as Stiff Records. Indie labels used relatively inexpensive recording processes, so they had a much lower break-even point for a record than a major label.

New wave is a genre of rock music popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock. New wave moved away from blues and rock and roll sounds to create rock music or pop music (later) that incorporated disco, mod, and electronic music. Initially new wave was similar to punk rock, before becoming a distinct genre. It subsequently engendered subgenres and fusions, including synth-pop.



Early bands

Edmunds was born in Cardiff. As a ten year old, he first played in 1954 with a band called the Edmunds Bros Duo with his older brother Geoff (born in 1940, Cardiff); this was a piano duo. Then the brothers were in the Stompers later called the Heartbeats formed around 1957 with Geoff on rhythm guitar, Dave on lead guitar, Denny Driscoll on lead vocals, Johnny Stark on drums, Ton Edwards on bass, and Allan Galsworthy on rhythm. Then Dave and Geoff were in The 99ers along with scientist and writer Brian J. Ford. After that Dave Edmunds was in Crick Feather's Hill-Bill's formed in c 1960, with Feathers (Edmunds) on lead guitar; Zee Dolan on bass; Tennessee Tony on lead vocals; Tony Kees on piano and Hank Two Sticks on drums. [3] The first group that Edmunds fronted was the Cardiff-based 1950s style rockabilly trio The Raiders formed in 1961, along with Brian 'Rockhouse' Davies on bass (born 15 January 1943, Cardiff) and Ken Collier on drums. Edmunds was the only constant member of the group, which later included bassist Mick Still, Bob 'Congo' Jones on drums and John Williams (stage name John David) on bass. The Raiders worked almost exclusively in the South Wales area.

Cardiff Capital and largest city of Wales

Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and its largest city. The eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom, it is Wales's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural institutions and Welsh media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. At the 2011 census, the unitary authority area population was estimated to be 346,090, and the wider urban area 479,000. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 21.3 million visitors in 2017. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic's alternative tourist destinations.

Brian J. Ford Academic, author

Brian J. Ford FLS HonFRMS is an independent research biologist, author, and lecturer, who publishes on scientific issues for the general public. He has also been a television personality for more than 40 years.

Trio (music) group of three musicians

In music, a trio is a method of instrumentation or vocalization by three different sounds or voices to make a melodious music or song.

In 1966, after a short spell in a Parlophone recording band, the Image (1965–1966), with local drummer Tommy Riley, Edmunds shifted to a more blues-rock sound, reuniting with Congo Jones and bassist John Williams and adding second guitarist Mickey Gee to form the short lived Human Beans, [4] 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, [5] 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. Love Sculpture released their debut single "River to Another Day" in 1968. Their second single was a quasi-novelty Top 5, a reworking Khachaturian's classical piece "Sabre Dance" as a speed-crazed rock number, inspired by Keith Emerson's classical rearrangements. [6] "Sabre Dance" became a hit after garnering the enthusiastic attention of British DJ John Peel, who was so impressed he played it twice in one programme on "Top Gear". [6] The band issued two albums.

Michael Richard 'Mickey' Gee was a rock and roll guitarist who played alongside some of the most prominent Welsh musicians of the last forty years.

Sound recording and reproduction recording of sound and playing it back

Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical, mechanical, electronic, or digital inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording.

Cover version later version of a song already established with a different earlier performer

In popular music, a cover version, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song.

Solo career

After Love Sculpture split, Edmunds had a UK Christmas Number 1 single in 1970 with "I Hear You Knocking", [7] 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' manager's MAM Records label. This single also reached No. 4 in the US, making it Edmunds' biggest hit by far on either side of the Pond. It sold over three million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. [8] 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' album, 1972's Rockpile , and the momentum from the single's success on a different label went away.

I Hear You Knocking single by Dave Edmunds and Rockpile

"I Hear You Knocking" is a rhythm and blues song written by Dave Bartholomew. New Orleans rhythm and blues singer Smiley Lewis first recorded the song in 1955. The lyrics tell of the return of a former lover who is rebuffed and Huey "Piano" Smith provided the prominent piano accompaniment in the style associated with Fats Domino.

Smiley Lewis American musician

Overton Amos Lemons, known as Smiley Lewis, was an American New Orleans rhythm and blues singer and guitarist. The music journalist Tony Russell wrote that "Lewis was the unluckiest man in New Orleans." He hit on a formula for slow-rocking, small-band numbers like 'The Bells Are Ringing' and 'I Hear You Knocking' only to have Fats Domino come up behind him with similar music with a more ingratiating delivery. Lewis was practically drowned in Domino's backwash."

Shakin Stevens and the Sunsets

Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets were a rock and roll group formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1969. Although most notable now for their lead singer Shakin' Stevens, who went on to become one of the UK's most popular artists of the 1980s, the band released several records and toured extensively throughout the 1970s. A version of the Sunsets, containing original members, still tours annually in the UK, Europe and Australia.

Edmunds' only acting role followed, as a band member in the David Essex movie Stardust . [9] 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. Also in this time frame, Edmunds produced the 1972 debut album of the British blues band Foghat.

David Essex actor, Singer, Song Writer

David Essex is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. Since the 1970s, he has attained 19 Top 40 singles in the UK and 16 Top 40 albums. Internationally, Essex had the most success with his single "Rock On". He has also had an extensive career as an actor.

<i>Stardust</i> (1974 film) 1974 British film directed by Michael Apted

Stardust is a 1974 British musical drama film directed by Michael Apted and starring David Essex and Adam Faith. The film is the sequel to the 1973 film That'll Be the Day. Its tagline is: "Show me a boy who never wanted to be a rock star and I'll show you a liar."

Phil Spector American record producer

Phillip Harvey Spector is an American record producer, musician, and songwriter who developed the Wall of Sound, a music production formula he described as a Wagnerian approach to rock and roll. Spector was dubbed the "First Tycoon of Teen" by writer Tom Wolfe and is acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. After the 1970s, Spector mostly retired from public life. In 2009, he was convicted of second-degree murder and has remained incarcerated since.

Edmunds had bought a house in Rockfield, Monmouth, a few miles away from Charles and Kingsley Ward's Rockfield Studios 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.

Rockfield, Monmouthshire village in Monmouthshire, Wales

Rockfield is a small village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It is located beside the River Monnow, about 2 miles (3.2 km) north-west of Monmouth, at the junction of the B4233 to Abergavenny and the B4347 to Grosmont. Rockfield Studios is situated just south of the village.

Monmouth town in Monmouthshire, Wales

Monmouth is the historic county town of Monmouthshire, Wales and a community. It is situated where the River Monnow meets the River Wye, within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the border with England. The town is 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Cardiff, and 113 miles (182 km) west of London. It is within the Monmouthshire local authority, and the parliamentary constituency of Monmouth. Monmouth's population in the 2011 census was 10,508, rising from 8,877 in 2001.

Rockfield Studios recording studio

Rockfield Studios is a recording studio just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire near Monmouth in Wales. RecordProduction.com called the studios one of the top five (recording) studios in the world.

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 Lowe's Labour of Lust and Edmunds' 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" (later a larger, international hit for American country-rock singer Juice Newton), Graham Parker's "Crawling from the Wreckage", and Melvin Endsley's "Singing the Blues" (originally a 1956 US Country No. 1 hit for Marty Robbins, then a US pop No. 1 cover for Guy Mitchell, and a UK No. 1 for both Mitchell and Tommy Steele). The album Repeat When Necessary received a Silver Certification from the British Phonographic Industry on 20 March 1980 (for over 60,000 copies sold in the UK). The single "Girls Talk" also received a Silver Certificate from the BPI.

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 between their respective managers. Edmunds and the band, including Lowe, performed in a music video for the track "Girls Talk", directed by Martin Pitts and produced by Derek Burbidge and Helen Pollack. For the video, the band set up on the roof of the Warner Brothers Records building in Midtown Manhattan in the early afternoon, causing a stir in offices in Rockefeller Center. 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. In 1989 he produced the album Yo Frankie for Dion DiMucci.

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' only other US Top 40 hit, albeit just barely, spending a single week at No. 39 while having a video clip in heavy rotation on MTV. It was not a hit in the UK. In 1984, Lynne produced six tracks on Edmunds' following album, Riff Raff .

In late 1985, Dave Edmunds was the musical director of Carl Perkins's Rockabilly Session television special and a participating band member, to pay tribute to his hero. Other musicians involved in the project included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton.

1990 onwards

Edmunds playing in Sweden 2008 Dave Edmunds, Sweden 2008.jpg
Edmunds playing in Sweden 2008

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. [10] 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. [11]

In 1993 Edmunds was in Cardiff Crown Court as a co-defendant along with Shakin' Stevens facing charges of non-payment of playing royalties from former Sunsets' band members Robert Llewellyn, Carl Petersen, Steve Percy and Paul Dolan. The prosecution asserted that the former band members were due a share of those additional royalties that Stevens and Edmunds had received from the successful reissue of the album A Legend during the early eighties. The judge agreed and, while the unpaid royalties only amounted to around £70,000 to be divided between the four musicians, the associated court costs to be paid by Stevens and Edmunds amounted to £500,000. [12]

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 Garden on 20 June 2009, on 28 August at open-air concert at Carrickfergus Castle., [13] 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 27 November 2009.

He returned and performed "Sabre Dance" on Jools' Annual Hootenanny on the 2009/10 edition. An album release on 19 November 2013 called ...Again, featured recordings from the 1990s, plus four new tracks, Edmunds' first for almost 20 years, with the title track released as a digital download single. In 2015, Edmunds released his first instrumental album On Guitar... Dave Edmunds: Rags & Classics, which featured instrumental covers of classic songs such as The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" and Elton John's "Your Song". The album turned out to be Edmunds' final album, because after playing a final show in July 2017, he officially retired from the music business.[ citation needed ]

Selected discography


Release dateTitleChart positionsNotes
1968with Love Sculpture:
"Sabre Dance"
1970"I Hear You Knocking"1434Awarded Gold Disc. [14] Also Reached #1 in Ireland. [15]
1971"I'm Comin' Home"3675
1971"Blue Monday"104
1972"The Promised Land"5
1973"Baby I Love You"848
1973"Born to Be With You"596Reached #2 in the Netherlands. [16]
1976"Here Comes the Weekend"Reached #27 in the Netherlands. [17]
1976"Where or When"
1977"JuJu Man"
1977"I Knew the Bride"2632
1979"A1 on the Jukebox"
1979"Girls Talk"491865Silver Certification in the UK-1979 [18]
1979"Queen of Hearts"1159
1979"Crawling from the Wreckage"59
1980 Rockpile:
"Teacher Teacher"
833151Lead vocal by Nick Lowe
1980"Singing the Blues"2867
1981"Almost Saturday Night"585418
1981"The Race Is On" (with Stray Cats)34
1982"From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)"28Written by Bruce Springsteen
1982"Me And The Boys"47Originally recorded by NRBQ
1982"Run Rudolph Run" Party Party Soundtrack
1983"Slipping Away"60397
1984"Something About You"16Originally recorded by The Four Tops.
1985"High School Nights"91 Porky's Revenge! Soundtrack
1987"The Wanderer" (live)35
1990"Closer to the Flame"8638
1990"King of Love"68

Studio albums

with Love Sculpture:

with Brewers Droop :

as Dave Edmunds:

with Rockpile :

as Dave Edmunds:

Live albums


with Love Sculpture:

as Dave Edmunds:

Music videos

1990"Closer to the Flame" Michael Salomon

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