Dec 07

DAVID ESSEX – “Gonna Make You A Star”

FT + Popular63 comments • 7,391 views

#360, 16th November 1974

Checking the usual sources, David Essex’s early career seems to be a complex mesh of meta – being a star, then playing someone who wants to be a star, then singing about turning someone who wants to be a star into a star, then playing someone who’s been turned into a star… at some point, probably the point at which you are listening to this song, you have to stamp your foot and say “OK BEING A STAR IS NOT THAT INTERESTING REALLY”. Except it is interesting, or can be – from the Byrds to Bowie to Britney there are hosts of well-known records about stardom which also manage to be good, draw you in even if it’s just to recoil or envy.

So the problem is with honest toiler David Essex – but he’s made good records too, or at least more entertaining ones than this. Glorious flukes like “Rock On” aside, they seem usually to have been yoked to narratives, big corny ones like Evita or War Of The Worlds. “Gonna Make You A Star” is sung with a dollop of stagey though satisfying grit, but it sounds like it’s hunting for a big story that never coalesces – and it’s an effort, too much effort, to try and unravel the lyrics. Maybe in 1974 the big story was David himself – if that’s the case, it hasn’t travelled.



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  1. 51
    punctum on 15 Jul 2011 #

    Ah yes – the occupational hazard of ingrates, the equivalent of “NO TURNING IN MY DRIVEWAY.” Now fixed!

    (“Don’t these people know who I AM? I’m doing them a FAVOUR!” *flounces off in purple bathrobe*)

    Seriously, though, I am merely using Google Images to find my illustrations (not having a digital camera to take my own pictures, and yes I know I should sort that out) and if anyone has a bone to pick about that, then email me at marcellocarlin at hotmail dot com and I’ll be happy to give you credit or remove the image if you don’t want it there.

  2. 52
    punctum on 15 Jul 2011 #

    Hang on, though, the site that came from is all about illegal downloads!

    Now HOP it before I get the cops on you!

    The SAUCE of some people.

  3. 53
    AndyPandy on 15 Jul 2011 #

    It’s like ‘Soulseek’ great for listening to obscure music but full of slightly neurotic bedroom-dwellers who have the effrontery to ban you from downloading stuff on a whim when I thought the whole idea was free access to music…and its not “really” there’s anyway.

  4. 54
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Jul 2011 #

    I’m still waiting for the bit where Eddie Moon is strolling through Albert Square market and is accosted by Fat Boy who tries to sell him some seventies albums. “You probably remember all this cheesy old stuff, bruv, innit?”

    I do hope the writers have the nerve.

  5. 55
    Erithian on 19 Jul 2011 #

    Yes, but I listened out in vain for any Spandau Ballet playing on the Vic jukebox when Steve Owen was in.

  6. 56
    wichita lineman on 20 Jul 2011 #

    Re 48: I’m quite fond of Down On The Beach Tonight as a lite update of Under The Boardwalk, and I’m VERY fond of Gonna Make You A Star. Even by 70s rock/soul snob standards that seems incredibly blinkered.

    Interesting how Farewell is possibly Rod’s least remembered Top 10 hit from his imperial phase. Maybe because it’s a fourth generation xerox of Maggie May, coloured in by a member of Fairport Convention (I do like it, btw).

  7. 57
    Mark G on 20 Jul 2011 #

    I dunno, it seemed like the first of his “oh I am nostalgic for the comforts of my home”, as per “Every Beat of my Heart” and suchlike, only this time he hadn’t gone yet.

  8. 58
    wichita lineman on 9 Nov 2011 #

    A plug for my blog, including a chinwag with David E about his film and pop career in the seventies:

  9. 59
    Jimmy the Swede on 9 Nov 2011 #

    Nice one, Lino. Memories of a 13 year-old Swede just about getting past the border guards at the Odeon Elephant and Castle to see “Stardust”, an AA film and therefore forbidden fruit for another year.

    Happy Days!

  10. 60
    wichita lineman on 9 Nov 2011 #

    Hats off! I was only 9 so couldn’t get in to see it, much as I wanted to as I LOVED Gonna Make You A Star. I looked so young I still struggled to get in to see an AA when I was 18.

    With all the talk of “event singles” in the mid eighties Popular posts, can I flag up my feeling that this was definitely an event single in ’74? One of those records that sounded like an obvious number one on first listen. Same goes for Tiger Feet. Apologies if I’ve said this on Popular before, and not just down the pub.

  11. 61
    Mark G on 9 Nov 2011 #

    I remember when Stardust was on the telly, the final scene where DEssex/Jim got carted into the hospital and the doors slam shut. Then my sister piped up “Well, he’s obviously all right”

    Which cracked everybody up, and my dad shouted “HOW DO YOU GET THAT CONCLUSION???”

  12. 62
    wichita lineman on 9 Nov 2011 #

    Was Jim McLaine’s tv death based on a true story?

    I’ve assumed it was a loose adaptation of Jim “Leatherhead” Morrison’s demise. Bit early to be Tommy Cooper.

  13. 63
    thefatgit on 9 Nov 2011 #

    Or that fella from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.

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