Dave Edmunds

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Dave Edmunds
Edmunds performing with Rockpile at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, 1980
Edmunds performing with Rockpile at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, 1980
Background information
Birth nameDavid William Edmunds
Born (1944-04-15) 15 April 1944 (age 79)
Cardiff, Wales
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1968–2017

David William Edmunds (born 15 April 1944)[2] is a Welsh singer-songwriter, guitarist 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 and rockabilly.[3]


Early bands[edit]

Edmunds was born in Cardiff, Wales. As a ten-year-old, he first played in 1954 with a band called the Edmunds Bros Duo with his older brother Geoff (born 5 December 1939, 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, Tom 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.[4] 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 (b. 13 August 1946, Barry, South Wales) and John Williams (stage name John David) on bass. The Raiders worked almost exclusively in the South Wales area.

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,[5] 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 British Columbia label,[6] 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.[7] "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".[7] The band issued two albums.

Solo career[edit]

Cashbox advertisement, December 19, 1970

After Love Sculpture split, Edmunds had a UK Christmas Number 1 single in 1970 with "I Hear You Knocking",[8] 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 Atlantic Ocean. It sold over three million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[9] 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". 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.

Edmunds' only acting role followed, as a band member in the David Essex movie Stardust.[10] 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 (among others) Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe, Flamin' Groovies, and blues rock band Foghat, 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 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 Wall of 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[edit]

His own solo LP from 1975, Subtle as a Flying Mallet, was similar in style.[11] 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.[11] 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.[11] 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. Edmunds spent the 1980s collaborating with and producing an assortment of artists, including Paul McCartney, King Kurt, Stray Cats, Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Status Quo.

On his 1983 release, Information, Edmunds collaborated on two songs with Jeff Lynne, the leader of Electric Light Orchestra.[11] One of these songs, a Lynne composition, "Slipping Away", became Edmunds' only other US Top 40 hit, 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. He also recorded the soundtrack for the movie Porky's Revenge!,[11] supplying the main theme, "High School Nights."

In late 1985, Dave Edmunds was the musical director and a participating band member of Carl Perkins's Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session television special recorded live at Limehouse Studios in London. Other musicians involved in the project included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Rosanne Cash.[11] In 1989, Edmunds produced the album Yo Frankie for Dion.[12]

1990 onwards[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

On New Year's Eve 2008, he appeared on Jools' 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 an open-air concert at Carrickfergus Castle,[16] on 31 October at Ipswich Regent, on 7 November at Stoke Victoria Hall and on 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.[citation needed]

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 was Edmunds' final album and after playing a final show in July 2017, he was reported to have retired from the music business.[17][18][19]

Selected discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

with Love Sculpture:

  • Blues Helping (December 1968)
  • Forms and Feelings (January 1970)

with Rockpile:

as Dave Edmunds:

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
1972 Rockpile
1975 Subtle as a Flying Mallet
1977 Get It 42
1978 Tracks on Wax 4 17
1979 Repeat When Necessary 39 54 17 45
1981 Twangin... 37 48 5
1982 D.E. 7th 60 46 13
1983 Information 92 51 20
1984 Riff Raff 140 26
1989 Closer to the Flame 146 36
1994 Plugged In
1999 Hand Picked: Musical Fantasies
2013 ...Again
2015 On Guitar...Rags & Classics
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

  • I Hear You Rockin' (June 1987) (US #106)
  • Live on the King Biscuit Flower Hour (May 1999)
  • A Pile of Rock: Live Featuring Billy Bremner, Geraint Watkins & the Refreshments (Sweden, 1999) (Pool CD018)
  • C'Mon Everybody Live (Same source as King Biscuit Flower Hour – May 1999, but different tracks) (January 2004)
  • Alive & Pickin' (Canadian mail order only) (February 2005)


with Love Sculpture:

  • The Classic Tracks 1968/1972 – EMI UK – 1974
  • The Dave Edmunds & Love Sculpture Singles A's & B's – Harvest Heritage – EMI UK – 1980

as Dave Edmunds:

Year Album Peak chart positions
1982 The Best of Dave Edmunds 163
1993 The Dave Edmunds Anthology (1968–1990)
2004 From Small Things: The Best of Dave Edmunds
2008 The Many Sides of Dave Edmunds: The Greatest Hits and More 38
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
US Main.
1968 "Sabre Dance" (with Love Sculpture) 5 x
1970 "I Hear You Knocking" 1 4 3 4 x 1 4 4 3
1971 "I'm Comin' Home" 52[A] 36 75 x
"Blue Monday" 104 x
1972 "The Promised Land" 5 x
1973 "Baby I Love You" 8 48 x 6
"Born to Be With You" 5 96 x 11 2 7
1976 "Here Comes the Weekend" x 28
"Where or When" x
1977 "JuJu Man" x
"I Knew the Bride" 26 32 x
"Get Out of Denver" (US only) x
1978 "Deborah" x
"Television" x
1979 "A1 on the Jukebox" x
"Girls Talk" 4 9 18 65 x 11 24 23
"Queen of Hearts" 11 59 x 12
"Crawling from the Wreckage" 59 x
1980 "Teacher, Teacher" (by Rockpile) 83 31 51 x
"Singing the Blues" 28 67 x 19 7
1981 "Almost Saturday Night" 58 54 18 15
"The Race Is On" (with Stray Cats) 34 17
1982 "From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)" 28 15
"Me and the Boys" 47
"Run Rudolph Run"
1983 "Slipping Away" 60 39 7 47
"Information" 106
1984 "Something About You" 16
1985 "High School Nights" 91
1987 "The Wanderer" (live) 35
1990 "Closer to the Flame" 86 38
"King of Love" 68
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory. "x" denotes that the chart did not exist at the time.

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director[30] Album
1979 "Girls Talk"[31] Martin Pitts Repeat When Necessary
"Crawling from the Wreckage" Mike Mansfield
1981 "Almost Saturday Night" Twangin...
"The Race Is On" Brian Grant
1982 "From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)" D.E. 7th
"Me and the Boys" Paul Justman
"Dear Dad"
1983 "Slipping Away"[32] Peter Sinclair Information
1984 "Information" Paul Justman
"Something About You" Dee Trattmann Riff Raff
1985 "High School Nights" Marty Callner Porky's Revenge!
1986 "The Wanderer"[33] Ralph Ziman I Hear You Rockin'
1990 "Closer to the Flame" Michael Salomon Closer to the Flame
"King of Love" Mick Haggerty


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Dave Edmunds biography, birth date, birth place and pictures". www.browsebiography.com. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Edmunds summary". Itsaboutmusic.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  4. ^ "BBC Edmunds Tribute". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 November 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ "biography". Makingtime.co.uk. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  6. ^ "The Human Beans : Single 1967 : Columbia DB 8230 : "Morning Dew (Take Me For A Walk)" / "It's A Wonder"". Webcitation.org\accessdate=2015-08-17. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b Rick Clark, liner notes from The Dave Edmunds Anthology (1968–90), Rhino Records R2 71191 (1993)
  8. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 179. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  9. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 278. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  10. ^ Edmunds also appeared in the Paul McCartney film, Give My Regards to Broad Street, but just as part of McCartney's backing band.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 770/1. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  12. ^ "Yo Frankie!". Rolling Stone. 15 June 1989.
  13. ^ Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium (Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions, 2000), 538, 570.
  14. ^ "STRAY CATS – LONDON, ENGLAND – 2008". 12 September 2008. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  15. ^ Heatley, Michael (2005). Shaky. Michael O'Mara Books (London). ISBN 1-84317-177-5
  16. ^ "Ents24.com". Ents24.com. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2011.Archived 2014-03-06 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Swanson, Dave (24 July 2017). "Dave Edmunds Is Reportedly Retiring". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  18. ^ "Dave Edmunds Announces His Retirement". 24 July 2017.
  19. ^ "WELSH ROCK'N'ROLL GREAT DAVE EDMUNDS HANGS UP HIS GUITAR". I Like Your Old Stuff. 24 July 2017.
  20. ^ a b c d "Dave Edmunds - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  21. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Discography Dave Edmunds". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Certified Awards". Bpi.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  24. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 100. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013.
  26. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch Charts". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Discography Dave Edmunds". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  28. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". www.flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  29. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 278. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  30. ^ "Dave Edmunds – artist videography". mvdbase.com. Alex S. Garcia. Archived from the original on 22 December 2005. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  31. ^ Girls Talk (1979) at WarmerMusicVideos on YouTube
  32. ^ Slipping Away (1983) at WarmerMusicVideos on YouTube
  33. ^ Dave Edmunds – The Wanderer (Official Video) at DaveEdmundsVEVO on YouTube

External links[edit]