Born in April 1944, Cardiff native Dave Edmunds released a single called Morning Dew in 1967 as a member of The Human Beans. He went on to play guitar in Love Sculpture, who released an incredible rock version of Khatchaturian’s Sabre Dance which made the UK charts in 1968. The group did not manage a follow-up hit and disbanded.
Dave carried on as a solo artist and scored hits with a revival of Smiley Lewis‘s I Hear You Knocking, Down Down and Born To Be With You.
He then featured in the David Essex film Stardust in 1974 and established Rockfield Recording Studios in a converted country house in Monmouthshire, where he became an almost permanent fixture for the next 20 years.
His 1975 solo LP, Subtle as a Flying Mallet, featured a multilayered Phil Spector-esque style which became something of an Edmunds trademark. Collaborating with Nick Lowe – an old friend from Brinsley Schwarz – led them to form the group Rockpile in 1976 with guitarist Billy Bremner and drummer Terry Williams.
Edmunds also enjoyed more UK solo hits during this time, including Elvis Costello‘s Girls Talk, Nick Lowe’s I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll), Hank DeVito’s Queen of Hearts, Graham Parker‘s Crawling from the Wreckage, and Melvin Endsley’s Singing the Blues.
After the breakup of Rockpile, the 1980s were spent collaborating with and producing an assortment of artists, including Paul McCartney, King Kurt, The Stray Cats, Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Status Quo. He also recorded the soundtrack for the movie Porky’s Revenge!, also composing the main theme, High School Nights.
On his 1983 LP, Information, Edmunds collaborated on two songs with Jeff Lynne, the leader of Electric Light Orchestra. One of these songs – the Lynne composition, Slipping Away – became Edmunds’ only other US Top 40 hit, spending a single week at #39 while having a video clip in heavy rotation on MTV. In 1984, Lynne produced six tracks on Edmunds’ following album, Riff Raff.
Edmunds recorded less frequently after the mid-1980s, living in Wales in semi-retirement, but occasionally touring. He joined up with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band for tours in 1992 and 2000.
In 2015, Edmunds released his first instrumental album On Guitar… Dave Edmunds: Rags & Classics, which featured instrumental covers of classic songs such as The Beach Boys‘ God Only Knows and Elton John‘s Your Song.
The album was Edmunds’ final album and after playing a final show in July 2017, he was reported to have retired from the music business