Dave Edmunds (born 15 April 1943 in Cardiff, Wales) is a singer, guitarist and record producer. Although he was primarily associated with pub rock and New Wave, and had numerous hits in the 1970s and early 1980s, he was steadfastly devoted to pre-Beatles rock and roll music.
In the late 1960s, he led a blues-rock trio called Love Sculpture, who scored a quasi-novelty hit by reworking Khachaturian's classical piece "Sabre Dance" as a speed-crazed rock number, inspired by Keith Emerson's classical rearrangements. "Sabre Dance" became a hit after garnering the enthusiastic attention of British DJ John Peel.
After Love Sculpture split, Edmunds had a UK #1 single in 1970 with "I Hear You Knocking", a Smiley Lewis cover, which he came across while producing Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets' first album. The recording was the first release on Edmunds' manager's MAM Records label. This single also reached #4 in the U.S., making it Edmunds's biggest hit by far on either side of the Pond. 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.
Edmunds' only acting role followed, as a band member in the David Essex movie Stardust. 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.
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 Nick Lowe's Labour of Lust and Edmunds' own Repeat When Necessary) were in fact group recordings. Dave 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" (written for Edmunds but later a smash U.S. hit for Juice Newton), Graham Parker's "Crawling From The Wreckage", and Melvin Endsley's "Singing the Blues" (originally a hit for Guy Mitchell).
Unexpectedly, after Rockpile released their first LP under their own name (1980's Seconds of Pleasure), the band split, generally attributed to tensions not between Edmunds and Lowe but their respective managers. Edmunds spent the 1980s collaborating with and producing an assortment of artists, from Paul McCartney to King Kurt, and from The Stray Cats 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.
On his 1983 and 1984 releases, Information and Riff Raff, Edmunds collaborated on two songs with Jeff Lynne, the leader of Electric Light Orchestra. One of these songs, "Slipping Away" (from Information), became Edmunds's only other U.S. Top 40 hit, albeit just barely, spending a single week at #39. It was not a hit in the UK.
Edmunds recorded less frequently after the mid 1980s, and now lives in Wales in semi-retirement, touring Scandinavia infrequently, after surviving a quadruple bypass several years ago.
as Love Sculpture:
- "Sabre Dance" (1968) UK #5
as Dave Edmunds:
- "I Hear You Knocking" (1970) UK #1
- "Baby I Love You" (1973) UK #8
- "Born To Be With You" (1973) UK #5
- "I Knew The Bride" (1977) UK #26
- "Girls Talk" (1979) UK #4
- "Queen Of Hearts" (1979) UK #11
- "Crawling From The Wreckage" (1979) UK #59
- "Singing The Blues" (1980) UK #28
- "Almost Saturday Night" (1981) UK #58
- "The Race Is On" (with The Stray Cats) (1981) UK #34
- "Slipping Away" (1983) UK #60
- "King Of Love" (1990) UK #68
as Love Sculpture:
- Blues Helping (December 1968)
- Forms and Feelings (January 1970)
as Dave Edmunds:
- Rockpile (June 1972)
- Subtle as a Flying Mallet (April 1975)
- Get It (April 1977)
- Tracks on Wax 4 (September 1978)
- Repeat When Necessary (June 1979)
- Seconds of Pleasure (October 1980)
as Dave Edmunds:
- Twangin... (April 1981)
- D.E. 7th (March 1982)
- Information (April 1983)
- Riff Raff (September 1984)
- I Hear You Rocking (June 1987)
- Closer to the Flame (April 1990)
- The Best of Dave Edmunds (March 1991)
- The Anthology: 1968-1990 (April 1993)
- Plugged In (August 1994)
- Hand Picked: Musical Fantasies (January 2000)
- A Pile of Rock: Live (September 2001)
- From Small Things: The Best of Dave Edmunds (April 2004)
- Alive and Pickin' (February 2005)