Top 10 Dave Edmunds Songs
Dave Edmunds‘ long career has spanned more than 50 years. That means we had a lot of songs to choose from for our list of the Top 10 Dave Edmunds Songs.
Even though he only had one hit on the pop chart – way back in 1970, he reached the Top 5 with a cover of Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knocking” – he’s one of the world’s most respected rockers. He’s not only a great guitar player, but he’s made some of the most pure rock ‘n’ roll of the past four decades.
But it’s his collaborations with Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams – as the band Rockpile, they made their own records and backed each other on solo LPs – for which he’s best known. In 2017, Edmunds reported that he was retiring from music. It’s been one hell of a run, as our list of the Top 10 Dave Edmunds Songs makes clear.
“Cheap Talk, Patter and Jive”
Twangin’ featured help from Edmunds’ Rockpile bandmates Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams. “Cheap Talk, Patter and Jive” is another driving rocker in vintage clothing. The band cooks, the song rocks … and radio ignored this underrated gem from 1981.
“A.1. on the Jukebox”
The pub-rock era of U.K. rock ‘n’ roll is filled with some of music’s greatest characters, some of whom resurfaced after the punk dust had settled. Edmunds teamed up with Will Birch, formerly of pub rockers Kursaal Flyers and later with power-pop giants the Records, for this stomping, countrified rocker. If this had made its way into the hands of a brave country radio DJ, it probably could have been a crossover hit.
One of many killer songs on Tracks on Wax 4, “Deborah” was penned by Edmunds and frequent collaborator Nick Lowe. With its driving acoustic guitar, Buddy Holly drums and sweet harmonies, it sounds like a classic pop song from rock’s golden age.
“In the Land of the Few”
Edmunds was introduced to the world in the band Love Sculpture, which lasted only a couple of years The band scored a Top 5 hit in the U.K. with their take on Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance,” a classical piece transformed into an amphetamine-fueled rave-up. But it’s Edmunds’ own “In the Land of the Few” that stands as Love Sculpture’s brightest moment, with its slightly psychedelic overtones and Edmunds’ great guitar work front and center.
“Heart of the City”
Even though “Heart of the City” was written by Nick Lowe, and it’s primarily associated with him, Edmunds’ version is the keeper. He roars through it at a breakneck pace. Rockpile are here at it again, tearing it up along the way.
“Sweet Little Lisa”
“Sweet Little Lisa” is about as close to vintage rock ‘n’ roll you can get without a time machine. Edmunds hands over lead guitar duties to Albert Lee, who provides some of the sweetest and most rocking country pickin’ ever committed to wax. If your feet aren’t tapping and your head isn’t boppin’ by the end of this, you better check your pulse.
“Here Comes the Weekend”
In 1977, Edmunds signed to Led Zeppelin‘s Swan Song label (Robert Plant was a big fan). His debut for the company, Get It, is a powerhouse slab of rock ‘n’ roll. “Here Comes the Weekend” sounds like a long-forgotten track by the Everly Brothers, Eddie Cochran or Buddy Holly. But it was written by Edmunds and Nick Lowe, and is a highlight of the LP.
“Crawling from the Wreckage”
Written by Graham Parker, “Crawling From the Wreckage” sounds tailor-made for Edmunds, who swings and sways throughout. Like other other albums by Edmunds and Nick Lowe from the era, Repeat When Necessary is a Rockpile album in all but name.
Edmunds’ second Swan Song album, Tracks on Wax 4, was even better than his first. “Trouble Boys” kicks off the album and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Written by fellow Rockpile member and guitarist Billy Bremner, the song remained a staple of the band’s live sets for years.
The ability to write a great song is a special thing, but the ability to take that song and make it your own is an equal triumph. Elvis Costello wrote a good song in “Girls Talk,” but it was Edmunds who made a great record out of it. Taking Elvis’ blueprint and twisting into a perfect pop song, Edmunds created a true classic in his extensive catalog.