Monday, June 8, 2009

David Essex in 'That'll Be The Day' & 'Stardust' (magazine photo spreads, 1973/74)

The magazine articles below spotlighted a pair of British films that have largely remained underappreciated in the many years since their release.

The two-part gritty Rock & Roll fable helped to propel actor / singer David Essex to super-stardom in the U.K.

Released in 1973 and set in the late 1950s and early '60s (and featuring plenty of great period music), 'That'll Be The Day' tells the story of young
Jim McClain, who yearns for a glamorous life beyond the dead-end existence in which he lives.

The movie co-starred Ringo Starr (looking just right in Teddy Boy finery) as Jim's friend, Mike.
Also featured in the cast were 'genuine' musicians, singer Billy Fury and The Who's Keith Moon.

David Essex had his breakout success as a stage performer in 1971, when he starred in the London cast production of 'Godspell'.

During production of 'That'll Be The Day', Essex wrote his song 'Rock On', envisioning it for use in the film's soundtrack. After the song was rejected for the movie, he recorded and released a version that became a huge chart hit.
'Rock On' subsequently was added to the end credits of the American release of 'That'll Be The Day'.

The magazine piece below ▼ appeared in the May, 1973 issue of Films and Filming.
(click on images to enlarge in a new window)

In the 1974 sequel, 'Stardust', McClain's
Rock & Roll dreams are realized in the late 1960s and early '70s, but the accompanying hazards of fame and excess cause his life to implode.

Ringo Starr opted out of the second film, the role of Mike (now McClain's manager) taken over by British pop star Adam Faith.

Keith Moon returned to reprise his role, and performed on the soundtrack as a member of
The Stray Cats, McClain's band in the film.
Also appearing and performing in the band was Dave Edmunds, who'd had his earliest solo hits a couple of years prior, following his departure from Love Sculpture.
Edmunds' efforts in the film and on the soundtrack helped lead him further into his career as a record producer.
In a curious coincidence, Edmunds would go on to produce the first singles and albums by the 'other' Stray Cats, Brian Setzer's rockabilly revival group, in the early '80s.

Edmunds also spins some good stories about the perils of 'being taken under Keith Moon's wing' during production.

Read an interview;
'Dave Edmunds on Keith Moon' at Tony Fletcher's iJamming!

The magazine piece below ▼ appeared in the October, 1974 issue of Films and Filming.

(click on images to enlarge in a new window)


Buns O'Plenty said...

very entertaining blog!

Robert said...

"That'll be the Day" is a rock and roll movie by default - it's only in the last scene that Jim buys a guitar - but "Stardust" is one of the best fictional films about rock music and its peripheral hysteria ever made. Unfortunately, there's never been any kind of video release, VHS or DVD, and no apparent plans for one in the future. ("That'll Be The Day", was a huge hit in England, but was barely released in the US at all. But it's on DVD - I found a copy in a bargain bin.)
And a curious historical note (unsubstantiated): "That'll Be the Day", while often described as the British "American Graffiti", reportedly began as a script based on Harry Nillson's autobiographical "1941".

Donna Lethal said...

Great! Thanks for posting about these two - I just linked to you over at the Slammer.

agemo said...

"stardust" had a strange effect on me, as i saw it shortly after attending my (estranged) father's funeral...i had never heard of adam faith before this, but fell in love with him because of the film; so i bought adam faith records instead of david essex!

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