DAVID ESSEX BIOGRAPHY
DAVID ESSEX enjoys a remarkable career that has combined concerts, records, theatre, composing, films and television with striking success. He has written, recorded and produced albums and singles that have sold millions of copies worldwide - twenty-three Top 30 singles in Britain alone.
David went to an audition for the London production of the musical "Godspell" and was chosen by enthusiastic US producers for the role of Jesus - which shot him to fame. For this show he received two major awards and some ecstatic reviews. Harold Hobson of “The Sunday Times” compared his performance with the Christs of El Greco and Rubens and declared it “the best in London”. At the Roundhouse, and for two years in the West End at Wyndham’s, David led a cast among who were Jeremy Irons, Julie Covington and Marti Webb.
Movie producer David Puttnam saw him in “Godspell” and asked him to play the lead in “That’ll Be The Day”, co-starring Ringo Starr, and its sequel “Stardust”, co-starring Larry Hagman and Adam Faith. These two films about the rise and fall of pop star Jim Maclaine are still among the most acclaimed about the rock scene and enjoy a wide cult following. They have recently been issued as a double bill on Warner Home Video. For “Godspell” David won the Variety Club of Great Britain’s “most promising newcomer” award and was nominated by S.O.F.T.A. for the movie “That’ll Be The Day”. While filming “That’ll Be The Day” David wrote and recorded “Rock On” which topped the charts in Britain and the USA. David wrote and recorded some very successful singles and albums for CBS Records, including “All The Fun of the Fair”.
On his first tour of Britain for top promoter Mel Bush, who is now also his manager, mayhem broke loose and David achieved a huge fan following which has never deserted him. “Rock On” was followed by such diverse hits as “Lamplight”, “Hold Me Close” and “Gonna Make You A Star”. The last two went to No.1 in Britain. Throughout the UK crowd scenes for his concerts resembled Beatlemania. David’s picture was on posters in households everywhere. In many cities he stopped the traffic when he appeared.
In the USA he was nominated for a Grammy award for “Rock-On”. At an awards ceremony attended by John Lennon, Paul Simon and Aretha Franklin, David joined Sarah Vaughan to sing a tribute and present an award to jazz giant Woody Herman. John Lennon told David how much he liked “Rock On” which sold a million in the USA and went Gold.
Feted by American TV and radio, guest of chat show hosts such as Johnny Carson, Dinah Shore and Merv Griffin, David turned down several huge offers in Los Angeles as they could have kept him there for up to seven years. Homesick, he returned to Britain and did many T.V.’s including his own series for the BBC and many “Top of the Pops”. He went on to produce several albums including “Imperial Wizard” and later “Stage Struck” and “Touching The Ghost”.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice then asked David to play Che in the musical “Evita”. Directed by giant Broadway producer Hal Prince (“West Side Story”), it was the hit of the season. David recorded “Oh What A Circus” on Phonogram - his new record company - and enjoyed a No.3 hit. The theatre was his oyster again.
In Los Angeles to record Jeff Wayne’s musical version of H.G. Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” with Richard Burton, who always encouraged him in legit acting, David saw a play in Greenwich Village which appealed to him. It was “Childe Byron”, dealing with the life of Lord Byron. He asked Frank Dunlop to direct this at the Young Vic and it enjoyed success, showing him to be an ambitious straight actor.
He starred in and wrote the score for his next movie, “Silver Dream Racer”. It co-starred Americans Beau Bridges and Cristina Raines and was a love triangle with a motorcycle racing backdrop. David, in his element on motorbikes, topped the charts with “Silver Dream Machine”.
A new departure came when David wrote, with the National Theatre’s Richard Crane, his own musical, “Mutiny!” with Frank Finlay as Captain Bligh to his Fletcher Christian. It was first a concept album and had chart success. Then it ran at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, for sixteen months. “Tahiti” - No 7 - was one of three hit singles. The show was nominated for “Best Musical” in the Ivor Novello awards.
On the pop scene Tim Rice and Mike Batt wrote “A Winter’s Tale” especially for David and this shot up to No.2 in the charts, with many TV appearances. Back in movies, David appeared in a Japanese medieval action film with Toshiro Mifune, John Rhys-Davies and Sho Kosugi, “Shogun Mayeda” (renamed Shogun Warrior for English T.V. audiences). He played a swashbuckling villain Don Pedro, a Spanish Duke.
Early in 1993 Sir Peter Hall, long an admirer, invited David to play Tony Lumpkin in a production of Oliver Goldsmith’s classic “She Stoops To Conquer”. Delighted to be working with Sir Peter, David appeared with Donald Sinden and Miriam Margolyes on tour and at the Queen’s Theatre for seven months. Sir Peter plans to do another production with David when time permits for both of them.
A 53 date tour in the Autumn of 1994 coincided with a new Polygram album “Back to Back”, produced by Jeff Wayne. David’s albums on Polygram “David Essex - His Greatest Hits” (1992) and “Cover Shot” (1993) both went Gold.
David enjoyed working on a ballet score (a version of “Beauty and the Beast” with book by David Wood) for the Russian All Stars Company, an international ice skating ensemble, which was staged in 1995/1996. This proved a delightful entertainment much enjoyed by the public. A very exciting night on 5th December 1995. The premiere of the ice-skating ballet “Beauty & The Beast” took place at the Royal Albert Hall - a gala charity performance in aid of Elton John’s Aids Foundation. David, as composer, took his bow at the end of the performance, a red carpet was rolled onto the ice and Michael Aspel walked on the “arrest” for “This Is Your Life”!
In November 1995 his album “Missing You” was released by Polygram T.V. - this went gold in early 1996. Concurrently an album in the U.S.A. “Living In England” released on the Cleveland International label. March 1996 saw the beginning of a long UK tour which ended in May with two performances at the Odeon, Leicester Square, the first time this prestigious venue has housed a rock concert.
The album “A Night At The Movies” which was produced by Mike Batt with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and released by Phonogram in April 1997 went to number 14 in the charts.
He continues his close association with the Aid Organisation Voluntary Service Overseas as a Council Member. During his long stint as their Ambassador he recorded an LP “Under Different Skies” for their world music fund and spent time in Zimbabwe, two months in Uganda conducting a music and drama workshop for student teachers and visited Malawi in June 1995 to make a film of the volunteer projects there.
He returned to Africa in April 1996, this time for Comic Relief who took a team of celebrities to play football with local teams. The team included David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, Nick Hancock, Angus Deayton and “Casualty’s” Patrick Robinson - three half-hour TV programmes were filmed and were shown in March 1997 at the beginning of Comic Relief week.
He has also become patron of the Gypsy Council which aims to improve conditions for Gypsies and Travellers in Britain. He narrated and appeared in a video of Gypsy life and traditions early in 1999 – this is to be sold to aid their cause.
1998 was an exciting year - it marked 25 years since David’s first number one hit “Rock On” and was celebrated by a double tour – Spring and Autumn. A Polygram TV double album called “The Very Best Of David Essex” was released in May and an album of new David Essex songs called “Here We Are All Together” was released in October. Produced by Ian Wherry “Here We Are All Together” marked a swing away from the recent big orchestral albums and back to a more band orientated style - 25 years after the first No.1.
1999 began in great style – David was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to charity, especially to VSO. His investiture took place in February at Buckingham Palace and the OBE was presented by the Queen. He found this a very interesting and moving occasion. For the first time a collection of David’s videos, appropriately called ‘David Essex A Video Collection’ was released in February of this year.
David spent most of 1998 writing the songs for his new album “I Still Believe”, which was released prior to his 54 date UK tour in the Autumn.
2000 – In April David went to Australia to star in ‘Tim Rice’s Musical Spectacular’ which visited Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. He returned to the UK to record his new album – ‘Thank You’ which was released to co-incide with his 53 date UK Tour 2000.
2001- Kept David very busy writing and recording tracks for his new album released prior to his UK Tour. The album was called “Wonderful” and a few of the tracks were previewed on his Autumn 2000 tour, with great success.
2002 – On Valentine’s Day David released his live album ‘ Theatre Of Dreams’ recorded at Bournemouth during his 2001 UK Tour. This was followed by a mini-tour in March and then the release of his autobiography – A Charmed Life – 29th August, published by Orion Books – which was one of the most successful autobiographies of the year. 2002 ended with a 55 date UK tour. David released a new album, ‘Forever’, to coincide with the tour which was available from the David Essex website and of course at each venue on his Autumn Tour.
2003 – Began with a mini Spring Tour in March and then straight in to the recording studio for the new album ‘Sunset’. May 8th saw the release of the paperback of David’s highly successful Autobiography ‘A Charmed Life’. The new album ‘Sunset’ was released through the website in June. He did an extensive Autumn Tour which began at Nottingham and finished at the Bournemouth International Centre.
2004 – David recorded his last album ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’ which is available from his web site www.davidessex.com. He starred in the new musical “Boogie Nights 2” which opened in Bromley in August 2004 and performed to packed houses around the country. David played St. Peter and it was set in the 80’s.
2005 – Boogie Nights II finished in Blackpool in October 2005 but David took time out in June and July to perform at all the UK Arenas on the ‘Once In A Lifetime Tour’ with David Cassidy, The Osmonds and Les Mckeown
2006 - Saw David returning to Wolverhampton for one week in Boogie Nights II. Also in Feb and March ‘The River’ & ‘Silver Dream Racer’ DVD’s were released and the CD ‘David Essex Greatest Hits’ went Gold,. He appeared in the hit Musical ‘Footloose’ from May to September and broke all box office records for this show. His album ‘Beautiful Day’ was released through his web site and to coincide with his 48 date tour of the UK.
2007 - David toured with The Osmonds, David Cassidy and Showaddywaddy in April on the ‘Once In A lifetime’ Tour. This was followed by a season touring in the Andrew Lloyd Webber hit musical ‘Aspects Of Love’ which opened in Newcastle in September and continued until December. From there he appeared in the Peter Pan Pantomime in Northampton as Captain Hook. David wrote and recorded his latest album ‘Happy Ever After’ which was again released through his web site.
2008 - Aspects of Love continued until March finishing at Nottingham Theatre Royal, having played in 21 towns and cities to record breaking audiences. During this time David continued to work with Jon Conway on his new Musical ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’. His UK tour started on 25th April in Plymouth and ended in Bournemouth on 21st June. On Sunday 10th August he appeared at Central Park, Dagenham along side Status Quo in a Charity Concert held in aid of Cancer Research and St Dunstan’s For the Blind. September saw the start of the ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’ Musical, which is a very exciting project David has been working on for a few years. It contains many of David’s hits and was inspired by his track ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’. The Director is Nikolai Foster who was also the Director for Aspects Of Love. It began in Bromley in September and at the moment is booking through until May 2009. On the12th September his latest album ’All The Fun Of The Fair’ was released by Universal Records and contains all the original recordings of the tracks from the musical.
2009 - ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’ Musical’ toured the UK until May 09 playing to record breaking audiences. He then undertook a tour of the UK commencing in Norwich on the 12th Oct, ending in Bournemouth on the 29th November. A Cast Cd was released for All the Fun Of the Fair also to coincide with the tour an ‘Unplugged’ EP.
2010 – ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’ had a very successful run in the West End in the Garrick Theatre from April until September with Christopher Timothy and Louise English starring alongside David Essex. David took a short break to tour Arenas around the UK with The Osmonds, Leo Sayer and Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers in June.
2011 - David will join Albert Square this year, playing Eddie Moon, the charismatic father of Michael and uncle to Alfie, in BBC One's EastEnders. Eddie is the head of the family and will arrive with his children in tow heralding a new era for the Moon clan. Later in the year ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’ will take to the road again, commencing in Birmingham in September.
David Essex is the only artiste in the world to have achieved success in all areas of entertainment as a singer, writer, producer, director, actor in theatre, films, television, stage and recording. A unique talent who continues to break boundaries and a success story that goes on and on and on...............
See the website www.allthefunofthefairmusical.com for more details.