Apr 08

DAVID ESSEX – “Hold Me Close”

FT + Popular113 comments • 6,465 views

#378, 4th October 1975

A matey vocal matched with a jaunty tune,”Hold Me Close” is clumsily eager to please. It claps me hard on the back and makes me splutter, its bogus bonhomie too loud and too close. Essex’ singing on this is such a put-on: sure, all pop singers act but few of them this badly and baroquely, with such deliberated roughness. An out-take from Oliver fifteen years late, or an echo of “Parklife” two decades early? Either way, I’m allergic.



1 2 3 4 All
  1. 91
    intothefireuk on 15 Apr 2008 #

    For me it was :-

    Disco 45 or Words intermittently between 1972 – 1975

    Disc & Music Echo occasionally 1973-1974

    Record Mirror 1974 – 1979

    Sounds 1975 – 1982

    Melody Maker 1976 – 1989

    NME 1977 – 1988

    All dates are approximate as is my memory.

    I didn’t buy every issue of each but used to swap between them depending on which way the wind was blowing that week. Since the 90’s have bought Q, Uncut, Face, Mojo on a completely irregular basis due to their general shiteness (in varying degrees).

  2. 92
    Matthew H on 16 Apr 2008 #

    The first music mag I bought was Record Mirror in 1983 – 26th March, in fact, with Nick Rhodes on the cover… I’ll go no further for fear of the Spoiler Bunny. I was 10, and my mum was letting me shop around for a magazine to add to the paper delivery.

    I then bought NME – the week they did the Greatest Albums Ever with Marvin Gaye at the top – and Smash Hits, with the Human League featured. Mum decided NME was too “rude” and let me take out a sub for Smash Hits for the next three years.


    Record Mirror (at last) from 1985-1991
    A mix of NME, Select for the rest of the 90s, but I was a Face man, really
    Uncut and Word dominate this decade

    I’ve never truly recovered from RM folding. It hit the right balance for me, plus the dance section (props to James Hamilton again) was essential.

  3. 93
    Matthew H on 16 Apr 2008 #

    Oh, and all nine editions of The Hit.

    I probably shouldn’t have binned them.

  4. 94
    Marcello Carlin on 16 Apr 2008 #

    None of us who saw it can ever forget the NME’s 1985 All Time Top 100 Albums wherein Danny Kelly stated that Psychocandy would have been one of the greatest records ever made if it had been released two weeks earlier.

  5. 95
    Matthew H on 16 Apr 2008 #

    Ah yes. I’ve clearly got my chronology out of whack.

  6. 96
    mike on 16 Apr 2008 #

    Until his ill-health got the better of him, James Hamilton continued his dance column for several years after Record Mirror folded as a stand-alone title – it lived on as a pull-out section inside Music Week. Indeed, the column was compiled on the living room table of the house that I grew up in, and where I had been regularly chastised for single-mindedly over-obsessing about pop music.

    (The first thing that JH did upon marrying and moving in with my stepmother was to enlarge the letter box to a width of slightly over twelve inches, in order for it to receive the white label/promo packages.)

    It was particularly fascinating to watch my stepmother develop an interest in the music that dropped through the letterbox, having previously never got much further than a passing fondness for the Travelling Wilburys. Without any “taste-maker” reference points, she made her own choices. Mr. Vegas was a favourite. And Catatonia. And hip hop, the more lewdly explicit the better. (“Darling, I just love listening to these black men talking about sex!”) And a dub remix of “Ooh Baby” by Vida Simpson, which reduced the song down to one repeated line: “F**k me baby, f**k me.” She used to blast that one out through the French windows. Always big on epater la bourgeoisie stunts, my stepmother…

  7. 97
    Matthew H on 16 Apr 2008 #

    Yes, I used to read the dance column in Music Week whenever I could, but it was hell to get hold of in North West Herts.

    Love the JH tales.

  8. 98
    Mark G on 21 Apr 2008 #

    Primary mag:

    Disco 45 from 1972 to 1980 or so
    Record and Radio Mirror, from 1973 to 1977
    Sounds, 1977
    NME, 1977 to present

    Bought lots of other ones, Record Collector, Mojo, Select, Underground, Hit, etc.

    Hmm, comment 98?

  9. 99
    Roadhog on 26 Apr 2008 #

    I agree with the poster who said how the hell can David Essex be accused of using mockney (as well as being from Plaistow and the son of a dockwer he went to the local secondary modern and left school at 15).It so obvious he slipped the “cockney” line in as a piss take _ i even realised that as a kid.
    For some reason the media are far more lenient to exaggerated accents from outside the London area.
    The most obvious example of this to me coming as I do from Sheffield is the case of the Arctic Monkeys. I can’t believe how they weren’t laughed into ignomony when they appeared with their ridiculous caricature of a Sheffield accent. Remember the lead singer is the son of two university educated teachers from a leafy suburb and would naturally speak in a pretty middle class version of the local accent.
    Not in the type of parody accent that I’ve never even heard the roughest kid from an area like Parson Cross (a very deprived Sheffield estate)speak with.

  10. 100
    Tom on 26 Apr 2008 #

    I don’t like the Arctic Monkeys guy’s voice either – though I don’t know if that’s the accent or phrasing or what.

  11. 101
    richard thompson on 10 May 2008 #

    Coming Home the following year sounded like Hold Me Close and when it was number one on Oct 2 75 The Goodies were on that night so HMC wasn’t the worst song on.
    I bought Popswop from 72 until 1974 when it merged with record mirror so I read that then afterwards, Popswop referred to Essex as Blue Eyes, he was one of their cover stars as well as Donny and Glitter and Bowie.

  12. 102
    Billy Smart on 5 Jun 2008 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: Quite a few television appearances for the popular singing hearthrob;

    ASPEL & COMPANY: Featuring Barry Humphries, David Essex, Claire Rayner (1985)

    THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW: Featuring David Essex, Guys ‘N’ Dolls, Howard Lang (1976)

    THE BIG TOP VARIETY SHOW: Featuring David Essex, Bucks Fizz, The Krankies (1981)

    THE BRITISH ROCK AND POP AWARDS: Featuring Maurice Kinn (Host), Real Thing, David Essex (1977)

    CANNON AND BALL: Featuring David Essex (1982)

    CILLA: Featuring Gerald Harper, The Wombles, David Essex (1974)

    DAVID ESSEX: Featuring David Essex, Marti Webb, Jeremy Irons (1977)

    DES O’CONNOR NOW: Featuring David Essex, Sarah Payne (1985)

    HARTY: Featuring David Essex (1983)

    IN CONCERT: Featuring David Essex (1975)

    THE JOHN DENVER SHOW: Featuring David Essex (1973)

    THE LAUGHTER SHOW: Featuring David Copperfield, David Essex, Hale & Pace (1984)

    THE LES DAWSON SHOW: Featuring David Essex, Brian Blessed (1989)

    LIVE FROM HER MAJESTY’S: Featuring Neil Sedaka, Danny La Rue, David Essex (1984)

    LIVE FROM THE PALLADIUM: Featuring Cannon & Ball, David Essex, Pet Shop Boys (1987)

    MARTI WEBB TOGETHER AGAIN: Featuring Marti Webb, David Essex, Christopher Gable (1982)

    NIGHT MUSIC: Featuring Elaine Paige, David Essex (1982)

    PARKINSON: Featuring David Essex, Rita Hunter, Alfred Marks (1977)

    POP QUIZ: Featuring David Essex, Kenny Jones, Carlene Carter (1982)

    POP QUIZ: Featuring David Essex, Mari Wilson, Leo Sayer (1982)

    RUSSELL HARTY: Featuring David Essex, Jimmy Savile, James Cameron (1974)

    RUSSELL HARTY PLUS: Featuring David Essex, Malcolm Allison, Jill Bennett (1973)

    SHOWSTOPPERS: Featuring David Essex, Katia, Twiggy Lawson (1995)

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE: David Essex (1995)

    THE TWO RONNIES: Featuring David Essex (1982)

    THE VAL DOONICAN MUSIC SHOW: Featuring The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, David Essex (1985)

    WOGAN: Featuring Roger Cook, David Essex, French and Saunders (1984)

    WOGAN: Featuring David Essex, Anthony & Mary Green, George Layton (1985)

    WOGAN: Featuring Francesca Annis, David Essex, Go West (1986)

    WOGAN: Featuring Dora Bryan, David Essex, Jackie Stallone (1988)

    WOGAN: Featuring Rowan Atkinson, David Essex, Ishmail & Merchant (1988)

    WOGAN: Featuring David Essex, Prisoner Cell Block H, Alison Steadman (1990)

    They all survive, but these two are missing;

    SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MILL: Featuring Patrick Moore, Beryl Reid, David Essex (1978)

    SET ‘EM UP JOE: Featuring Georgie Fame, David Essex (1969)

  13. 103
    wichita lineman on 5 Jun 2008 #

    So, anyone going to see Davo at Hammersmith? Chances are he’ll sing Hold Me Close and Tahiti rather than reprising Out On The Street in it’s entirety… but what the hey.

  14. 104
    Billy Smart on 5 Jun 2008 #

    I wonder if Russel Harty conducted a joint interview with Essex, Malcolm Allison and Jill Bennett? That looks like an awkward grouping…

  15. 105
    mike on 9 Jun 2008 #

    wichita l, I’ve seen Mr Essex in concert a couple of times in recent years. There’s rather too much “And now from my new album, available exclusively from my website…” for my liking, but the old hits are more than servicably attended to, and Mr E is the very essence of dignified Silver Foxiness. Biggest disappointment on both occasions: no “Rolling Stone”, no “City Lights”.

  16. 106
    DJ Punctum on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Did he do “Imperial Wizard”?

  17. 107
    mike on 9 Jun 2008 #

    Afraid not, and I think he gave “Stardust” a miss both times as well…

  18. 108
    DJ Punctum on 9 Jun 2008 #

    I recognise the logistical difficulties of getting Ray Cooper to submerge a gong in a filled bath on a nightly basis…

  19. 109
    wichita lineman on 30 Nov 2009 #

    All The Fun Of The Fair – the David Essex father and son musical – is coming to London soon. Includes Hold Me Close, If I Could AND Streetfight! But not Imperial Wizard.

    Actually, I never liked either much at the time. The production on HMC is weirdly unvarnished, as if Wayne and Essex were so pleased with the demo they stuck it out before adding anything as flash as reverb (see also Leo Sayer’s freak masterpiece Orchard Road). Catchy alright, but even as a major fan I couldn’t give this more than 5.

    I’m not sure if its nudging, winking bonhomie affected his standing with previously loyal fans but, even though he was still prime Jackie material, a string of great singles in 76/77 (City Lights, Coming Home, Ooh Love, Cool Out Tonight) all fell short of the Top 20.

  20. 110
    lonepilgrim on 10 Nov 2019 #

    David Essex continues his drift towards light entertainment with this slight but charming ditty. It lacks the rich production values of Sailing which is perhaps just as well – t might have collapsed under the weight.

  21. 111
    Lee Saunders on 10 Nov 2019 #

    Not sure I’d say he was drifting towards light entertainment too much when still making albums like All the Fun of the Fair (from which this is taken) and Out on the Street

  22. 112
    Ariel Tyler on 15 Apr 2021 #

    I like this and I think Davis Essex just about gets away with the cockney (or mockney) delivery. 7/10.

  23. 113
    Gareth Parker on 15 May 2021 #

    I would be much more generous than Tom here. Good little pop single in my opinion, so a 7/10 for me.

1 2 3 4 All

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page