David Essex OBE is an English musician, singer-songwriter and actor. With nineteen Top 40 UK singles to his name, he made his first record in 1963, when he was only...Read More
David Essex OBE is an English musician, singer-songwriter and actor. With nineteen Top 40 UK singles to his name, he made his first record in 1963, when he was only 16. After touring with a band called ‘David Essex and the Mood Indigo’ for two years, he got his first notable acting role as the lead in the stage musical Godspell. Two years later when he was 25, he starred in the film That’ll Be The Day and also recorded an international hit single, Rock On, which sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in 1974. It was during this decade that Essex’s reputation as a performer really grew, with another appearance in musical Stardust (a 1974 sequel to That’ll Be The Day’), two UK Number One Singles (in 1974 & 1975) and a cover for the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ for the musical documentary ‘All This and World War II’ (1976) . According to The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, he was voted the number 1 British male vocalist in 1974 and was a teen idol for over a decade.
After reaching such musical heights, his acting career on stage and screen really took off. In 1978 he played the character Che (loosely based on Che Guevara) in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. His recording of the show’s ‘Oh What a Circus’ reached Number 3 in the charts. In 1981 he starred in the film Silver Dream Racer and, following something of a trend, the soundtrack song was yet another Top 10 hit. Essex co-wrote and starred in the West End musical ‘Mutiny!’ (with two more hit singles), and followed with many more appearances. On television, Essex has appeared in ITV One’s 1960s Yorkshire-based drama Heartbeat (2000) and Channel 4’s documentary Bring Back… The Christmas Number One. Although he was due to join EastEnders in 2006 as a new character, he was unable to commit the time when the role was extended. In 2011, however, he finally joined the cast as Eddie Moon, making his first appearance in June of that year. Essex still regularly performs in musicals, appearing in Boogie Nights 2, Footloose, and Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love. Between 2008 and 2009 he took his own musical, All The Fun of the Fair on a UK tour.
An ambassador for Voluntary Service Overseas for 6 years, Essex was awarded his OBE in 1999. A huge supporter of West Ham United Football Club, a model and recording of Essex is in the club’s museum. His autobiography ‘A Charmed Life’ (released in 2002) became a bestseller.
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