David Essex was something of a one-hit wonder in America, reaching the Top Five with the gold single "Rock On" in 1974, but he was one of Britain's top teen-idol sensations and later graduated to an acting career in both theater and film. Essex began his musical career playing drums for an amateur band called the Everons and switched to singing during the mid-'60s, recording a series of unsuccessful singles. Theater columnist Derek Bowman became Essex's manager; while Essex took vocal and dance lessons, Bowman secured the lead part in a production of Godspell for him. Roles in the '50s-inspired rock films That'll Be the Day and Stardust followed, with Essex composing and singing "Rock On" for the former. Now a teen idol in Britain, he scored two number ones in his homeland, "Gonna Make You a Star" and "Hold Me Close," plus several other hits. However, Essex was unable to shed his teen-idol image as a singer, and his chart placings dropped as his fans' age increased. Essex elected to concentrate on his acting career, appearing in productions of Evita and Mutiny and the films Silver Dream Machine and Childe Byron; he charted every so often with songs taken from these projects. The 1990s have seen Essex spend two and a half years in Africa for the Voluntary Service Overseas organization, after which he released an album of '60s material, Cover Shot, and 1994's Back to Back.