Anglo For Your Ear: David Essex’s “Rock On”

Not content to just be a hot sexy man, DavidEssex put out this very forward-thinking pop songin 1973. “Rock On” contains multi-tracked vocals and layers of distortion and effects that are almost hip-hop in their complexity. A year after its UK release, the single became an American smash, hitting No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Hilariously, Michael Damian, better known as DannyRomalotti on the CBS soap The Young and theRestless, remade this song in 1989. Oddly,this hair-metal cover sounds way more dated than theoriginal. Plus, it’s Michael Damian, so he’s tryinghard to be cool while Essex makes it look effortless. (Nonetheless, Damian’s cover was a No. 1 hit. Never underestimate those Danny and Cricket fans, I guess.)

While watching this clip, notice how Mr. Essex, who’sstanding on a platform in the middle of the crowd,dances around with his mike stand, almost clockingseveral audience members in the face in the process.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself—he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri—he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.
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