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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Rock On"

David Essex - Rock On (1973)

Written by an actor for a movie he was in with Ringo Starr. They didn't use it.

The movie, That'll Be the Day, was set in the lat 50s early 60s. The lyrics therefore make mention of several musical touchstones of the era. David Essex was kind of a Brit pop teen sensation who was trying to break out of that roll and into movies. He wrote a few of his own songs in preparation for a new album, including this one. But once producer Jeff Wayne added his avant-garde instrumentation, the song was no longer wanted for the movie, but instead became a huge hit.

Lots of what makes the song interesting is effects. The bass line has an echo effect on it that has such a serious delay many say it was double tracked rather than pushed through an effect sequencer. The strings (which just sound creepy) are also echo driven. Obviously the vocals have a lot of that reverb sound as well. The drums on the other hand are straight forward. Lots of quiet cymbal work, accented with toms. All together the craziest part is the complete lack of guitar. This song is bass and violin section! Not a lot of tracks from the early 70s that sound like this. Not a lot of tracks anywhere that sound like this. The Bass player responsible for this is Herbie Flowers. He also played bass on Space Oddity and Walk on the Wild Side.

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