For this month’s edition of “The initial vs. The Cover”, we space going to take on a 3rd version together we tackle the David Essex tune “Rock On”. We will fight it out in between David Essex’s initial version vs. Covers by both Michael Damian and Def Leppard.

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The track was written for a movie that David was starring in called “That’ll it is in the Day” which also had Ringo Starr and also Kieth Moon. The song, however, was not used in the movie. David wrote the song based upon his personality from the movie and also it has actually a pure old absent & role rebellious attitude. The tune is in reality a tip-of-the-hat come the old time rockers together it mentions “Blue Suede Shoes” and also “Summertime Blues” and it provides a shout-out come an old Hollywood rebel James Dean.

Since we have three versions, we might too jump right right into it.


David’s variation hit #3 ~ above the UK singles chart in 1973 and also didn’t do that great in the US, however doesn’t typical we american don’t love it. The song is very unique in that there space no instruments that play any kind of chords which method there is No Guitar and also No Piano on the song at all. The is all bass, percussion and also horns. It is yes, really stripped down.

You deserve to tell a significant influence of the tune is Jamaican raggae and also the totality dub style. The tune is pushed by the bass line which was done by Herbie Flowers. According to Wikipedia…”(Herbie’s) double-tracked base guitar was treated v a significant “slapback” delay effect, producing a complex polyrhythmic backbeat.”

That was yes, really all the song essential musically for it to be so impactful and also powerful. The musical uniqueness is what makes this tune standout head & shoulders above anything else. The absence of the guitar and piano is not missed and also actually adds to the beauty of the song. How numerous times can you say the no guitar is a an excellent thing. I didn’t think ns would ever before say that together I love me part guitar rock.


In 1989, this soap opera gibbs did a cover variation of “Rock On” because that the movie ‘Dream a tiny Dream’ certification the Corey’s…Corey Haim and also Corey Feldman. The variation was considerably different from David’s. That was full on critical and added everything under the sun. It to be a heavier, pop version of the song and it finished up reaching #1 on the Billboard warm 100 which way it did much better than the original.

Michael’s version although great in its very own right, completely stripped away any of the heart & soul and removing every the distortion sounds contained in the original. The magic in the instrumentation (or lack thereof) in the original is likewise missed and makes the song lacking of any type of real meaning. The only cool thing about the song was the deep, vocal styling that the surname “James Dean”.


In 2006, Def Leppard walk a cover of absent On for their all covers album ‘Yeah’. They did release the track as a solitary and didn’t even chart for this reason why to be I providing it any kind of attention…Well, it is easy. Def Leppard is my favorite tape for one, yet two is since they still play this on regular basis in their live shows. The band feels they have actually made the tune their own and they feel choose they created it so let’s compare it come the original.

Def Leppard’s variation sticks to the initial with the base line. Stack Savage pond the bass part and is among the couple of times he has actually been enabled to light in the band. Wherein the original adds horns and an ext percussion, Leppard throws in the guitar work instead. Phil and Vivian include some yes, really cool and interesting effects with their guitar to include some punch to the song and also Joe does good vocally.

While I execute like this version and find that much better than than Michael Damian’s variation it tho doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Even though the is the heaviest, many rocking version of the three songs, it still is missing the rebellious perspective of the original.


This is basic verdict for me. David Essex’s initial version is the stand the end champion. It is the most distinct version of the song, in truth it is so unique that all various other versions are fancy Karaoke versions. The incredible bass work and overall percussion is the magic behind the song as well as the lack of any type of chords. David’s vocals showed an ext heart and feeling and also I believed his variation had much more heart & soul. I have to admit, I also like the reggae influence as well.

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Now that is her turn. Let me know which variation you favor best and also why. Also, let me recognize if over there is a variation out there the is much better and need to be included. I hope you enjoyed the walk v this month’s song. Have actually a an excellent rest that week.

“Rock On”


Hey, kid, absent ‘n’ roll, rock onOoh, my soulHey kid, boogie, too, did ya?Hey, shout, summertime bluesJump up and also down in my blue suede shoesHey, kid, absent ‘n’ roll, absent on

And where execute we walk from here?Which is a method that’s clear?Still in search of that blue jean infant queenPrettiest girl I’ve ever seenSee her shake top top the movie screen, Jimmy Dean(James Dean)

And where perform we go from here?Which is the method that’s clear?Still trying to find that blue jean infant queenPrettiest girl I ever seenSee she shake on the movie screen, Jimmy DeanJimmy Dean

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