Dave Edmunds

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Last updated: 26 August 2009

Born in Cardiff in 1944, Dave Edmunds began playing in local blues bands The 99ers and The Raiders. In 1966 he left Wales to join The Image, and The Human Beans the following year.

However, success didn't come until the formation of the psychedelic rock group Love Sculpture. Their finest hour was the five minute guitar maelstrom of 1968's Sabre Dance, which reached number five in the charts. A reworking of a melody by Russian composer Aram Il'yich Khachaturian, it sounds like the movie intro Tarantino never got round to basing a film around.

Unfortunately, Love Sculpture split up soon after the success of Sabre Dance. Edmunds decided to go solo, and in 1970 had a number one single for six weeks with the Smiley Lewis cover I Hear You Knocking. Though credited to Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, the song was a solo effort but for bassist John Williams. It was followed by the album Rockpile, a moderately successful collection of covers.

Edmunds' solo career was distinguished by his painstaking re-creation of rock'n'roll classics, and in his own studio taught himself to replicate the techniques of his beloved Spector and Sun classics. Two other hits followed - covers of The Ronettes' Baby I Love You and The Chordettes' Born To Be With You - along with the 1975 album Subtle As A Flying Mallet.

By this time Edmunds was running his hugely successful South Wales studio Rockfield, and producing artists including The Flamin' Groovies and Brinsley Schwarz. Indeed, he teamed up with Schwarz's bassist Nick Lowe, which resulted in hits including I Knew The Bride and the Elvis Costello-scribed Girls Talk.

When Rockpile imploded in the early 1980s, Edmunds gradually disappeared from the mainstream, but along the way worked with ELO's Jeff Lynne on a couple of albums, Information and Riff Raff. He even provided songs for the soundtrack to the film Porky's Revenge.

His solo career stalling by the mid 1980s, Edmunds focused instead on production work. His credits have included rockabilly group The Stray Cats, the Everly Brothers' comeback album EB84, and work by kd lang and Nick Lowe.

Buoyed by their success and his burgeoning cult status, he returned to his solo career in 1987, of which the most successful release was 1994's album Plugged In. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Key works

  • Anthology cover

    Anthology 1968-90 (1993)

    41 tracks making the definitive Dave Edmunds collection.
  • Get It cover

    Get It (1977)

    1977's near-perfect blend of rockabilly, blues and rock 'n' roll.
  • Subtle As A Flying Mallet cover

    Subtle As A Flying Mallet (1975)

    Dave outdoes himself as a performer and producer.

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