David Essex's first notable acting role was the lead in the stage musical, Godspell in 1971. Two years later, he starred in the film That'll Be The Day (1973) and recorded a major hit single, "Rock On" (which he wrote himself), in the same year. A second single, "Lamplight", also reached the British Top 10.
In the 1970s, Essex emerged as one of the UK's top performers. His biggest hits during this decade included a pair of Number One singles : "Gonna Make You A Star" (1974), a satirical look at his success; and "Hold Me Close" (1975), a cheerful singalong.