Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 11:26 UK
Dave Edmunds: still rockin' at 65
Dave Edmunds
Dave remains popular with fans

The chart-topping guitarist and producer gets set to tour with Jools Holland as he celebrates his 65th birthday on April 15.

Dave began his musical career as a teenager playing in bands around his native Cardiff in the 1950s.

He made his mark with a blistering solo on Love Sculpture's Sabre Dance which hit the top five in 1968.

But Dave found real fame when his version of I Hear You Knocking was the Christmas number one in 1970.


Rock'n'roll swept the nation in the 1950s when Edmunds was growing up in Cardiff, and stars like Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochrane inspired him to pick up a guitar.

While working as a garage mechanic by day, Dave played in a series of bands such as the 99ers and the Raiders, and often with his elder brother Geoff.

One band eventually became Love Sculpture, who shot to fame in 1968 with the Top 5 hit Sabre Dance.

Their version of the tune by classical composer Khachaturian featured a blistering guitar solo from Dave.

But the band broke up shortly afterwards, and he returned to Wales and the now famous Rockfield recording studios near Monmouth.

Solo success soon followed as Dave scored the Christmas Number One in 1970 - his cover version of the Smiley Lewis track I Hear You Knocking topped the UK charts for six weeks.

It also helped create the reputation of Rockfield, which has since attracted bands including Queen, Oasis, Motorhead, the Stone Roses and Stereophonics.

Dave followed his singles success with an album of rock'n'roll classics called Rockpile, which also became the name of his band.

A fruitful working relationship with Nick Lowe resulted in more solo success in the late 1970s with hits including I Knew The Bride and the Elvis Costello number Girls Talk.

Dave's solo recording career has been relatively sporadic, but he remains a popular live performer.

He toured as a special guest with Joe Brown in 2007 and 2008, and hits the road with Jools Holland on April 30.

Dave has also won wide acclaim for his production work with artists ranging from Shakin' Stevens, the Flamin' Groovies and Brinsley Schwarz to the Everly Brothers and kd lang.


Dave's brother Geoff Edmunds writes from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:

"My, what tributes to Dave! And rightly so. He is, unquestionably, the best rocker of all time (yes, I know, I'm his brother, but it's true!).

"Dave and I started out togther when we were kids, playing boogie woogie piano duets togther - he was about ten and I was 14. My how we rocked! I only wish we could have recorded these piano duets togther...

"I fronted the Heartbeats and Dave had the Raiders after leaving the Heartbeats. We played loads of gigs togther around Cardiff and the Valleys, but I knew then that he was headed for greatness.

"The Raiders was the first band ever to feature just bass guitar and drums - long before Clapton and Cream. That put a heavy strain on Dave to perform and fill in, but not only did he do that well, but broke amazing ground with features like the classical Sabre Dance.

"A few years back, I went down to L.A. and stayed with him for a few days. We laughed, drank and remembered old times and then we went into his studio and for fun recorded an Everly Bros-type version of 'Keep-a-knockin'.

"We multi-tracked the whole thing with Dave on bass, guitar and vocals and me on piano, organ and vocals. It was a hoot. I have the tape and play it every now and then to remind me of how good it would have been to have recorded a brothers album..ah, well...

"In 1996, I arranged a concert in Victoria, with Microsoft and my tech company, who had become partners. I called Dave and asked if he would come up and play, with all proceeds going to homeless kids.

"He agreed, so I called Aynsley Dunbar (British drummer from Journey and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, to name a few) my cousin, Paul Chapman from Florida (formerly from UFO - used to live on Whitchurch Road), Cardiff bass player Geoff McCarthy flew over and I was on piano and B3 Hammond.

"It was the dream gig for me after all these years. The concert was a sell out in one day and we blew the doors off ... pure old Cardiff rock.

"We filmed it and recorded on 32 track ... it was an astounding evening and the guitar duels between cousin Paul (no slouch on guitar!) and Dave was something to behold. I have the videos and will some day put it all together in a documentary film of some kind ... then again, maybe not.

"Anyway, I just wanted to add a few words to the accolades and agree that my bro is pure musical genius. My best wishes to all in Cardiff and south Wales."

Share your opinions of Dave Edmunds - send them by email to wales.southeast@bbc.co.uk

Lis Harrison, Cambridge
Saw you perform at High Lodge, Thetford Forest in June 2009. Thank you, Dave. It was great to feel the 'whoosh' of excitement from the crowd when you came on stage, then to see you blow everyone away with that voice and guitar! Great choice of numbers, too. The only disappointment: there was nothing of yours in the merchandise tent. I've got all your CDs, so how about a t-shirt? I for one would love to have you emblazoned across my chest!! Take care, and keep on rocking.

Annette, West Yorkshire
Thanks for the great article on Dave Edmunds to celebrate his 65th birthday. It was good to read it. Thanks also to Geoff Edmunds for his write up - it was very interesting to read all about the early days and how they both started in the music business. I have seen Dave a few times now, although I had to wait until 1999 to see him for the first time. It was worth the wait. He was fantastic live - much better than I expected. I love to watch him either with a band or doing the solo acoustic songs. I am going to see him in Bridlington on the 21 May and I can hardly wait. Take care and keep rockin' Dave.

Lis
Happy birthday, Dave ... you're seriously special! There's a section of our jukebox devoted to your singles, and I play your albums (really!) every day ... timeless, smooth stuff! Wish I could buy you a pint!

Chris Green, Loire Valley, France
I was privileged to see Dave play a couple of sets solo in an east Monmouthshire pub about 5 years ago. He was superb. I did not know his work that well but am now a true fan. Keep on rockin' Dave.

Graham F, Cardiff
It seems a shame that the Jools Holland tour with Dave as special guest won't be playing in his homeland. All the gigs that feature him appear to be in England, Scotland or Ireland, or over the Channel! The nearest venue to Wales is Shrewsbury. Maybe Dave should have a quiet word.

Paul Hook, Monmouth, now Virginia, USA
Dave was a regular around Monmouth when I was a kid. He used to show up at the Nags for a pint everynow and then - a real gent. The last time I saw him he was playing at the Rockfield Christmas bash at The Paddocks - Mickey G, Dave Charles, and the lads, "rockin" old school. Hi to everyone in Monmouth, I miss you all!!

Keith Lodwick, Mandurah, Western Australia
Remember Dave from too many years back at the Kennards and his brother Geoff in the Heartbeats - was Geoff Denny Driscoll? Then there were the fantastic nights at the then notorious Moon Club on the Hayes with Mickey Gee (sadly taken from us). I remember the time back in the seventies when I was a delivery driver for a builders merchants and was trying to make up time on the back road between Chepstow & Monmouth when around the bend came this black BMW 7 and we ended up nose to nose but laughed it off. If you're ever in Oz, Dave, let me know on Facebook and we'll sort something out!!!

Wynne Jones from Carmarthen
Dave was married to my best friend's sister and what a nice guy he is, down to earth and a very proud Welshman. I first saw Dave as a guest with Andy Fairweather Low's band Fairweather on stage in Llanelli's Glen ballroom. I have seen him several times since, including the acclaimed live TV concert with Dion at London's Town and Country Club and with Joe Brown at Swansea's Grand Theatre. He is a legend that the UK should be proud of and has done himself justice with the best artistes on the planet. All the big boys fully respect Dave's super talent as a guitarist and producer/engineer. Keep on rockin'

Ed from Philadelphia, USA
Saw Dave every year from '82 on... Got to meet him a few times - a real gentleman - never too busy to answer a question or two. His 1990 Rock & Roll Revue with Dion, Graham Parker, Kim Wilson and The Stax horns NEEDS to be released in some form. Dave has a great following! How about a tour?

Ricky, Cardiff
Mickey Gee made Dave. Who played the first bend in I Hear You Knocking? It wasn't Dave was it? Mickey RakaRaka Gee.

Barrie Evans from Barry
I have had the pleasure of meeting Dave at a number of venues over the years and to say he is down to earth is an understatement. He is best mates with two of my cousins from the sixties band Amen Corner. For me Sabre Dance is like a tonic but if you try playing it on the best guitar in the world it is nigh on impossible - that shows how talented Dave really is. Keep on rocking, Dave.

Jamie from Toronto, Canada
I am a huge Dave Edmunds fan especially when he's rocking. Saw Rockpile and Information tour shows. Just awesome, go see him if you ever get the chance.

Rosemary Davies
Dave is one of the nicest gentlemen I've ever met, a regular customer at a store in Cardiff, he was a pleasure to assist. Not just a fine musician, but an all round nice guy. So different from the usual boorish slobs in the city around his age. The bloke's a gem.

Share your opinions of Dave Edmunds - send them by email to wales.southeast@bbc.co.uk



SEE ALSO
Audio: Dave Edmunds & Owen Money
14 Apr 09 |  Music
Chapter opens on studio legends
15 Sep 07 |  South east
Tributes to veteran guitarist Gee
22 Jan 09 |  Wales
1998: Mickey Gee on playing
22 Jan 09 |  Wales

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific