Documenting the five years David Essex spent at CBS during the mid-'70s, The Best of David Essex is the best ever document of the halcyon days when just about anything with his name on it was guaranteed a roost near the top of the U.K. chart. Opening with the biggest one of the lot, 1975's U.K. chart-topping "Hold Me Close," it then marches resolutely (if not chronologically) through a hit parade that is almost unparalleled, for quality if nothing else. From 1973's immortal "Rock On" to 1977's "Cool Out Tonight" (a song that is, thankfully, a lot more memorable than its title), 11 singles are then neatly complemented with five more key album cuts, all but one spun off his debut. That the end result is most heavily weighted toward Essex's most influential (not to mention successful) period is another point in its favor, although the greatest benefit is probably derived from the stark realization of just how all-powerful the young Essex was. He scored no more than two number ones ("Gonna Make You a Star" was the other) and just four more Top Tenners ("Rock On," "Lamplight," "Stardust," and "Rolling Stone"). But he dominated the teen mags of the age, and he starred in two of the greatest rock & roll movies ever made, That'll Be the Day and Stardust. In other words, a little went a long way, in the nicest possible meaning of the phrase -- and that economy renders this a one-stop that you'll never want to leave.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson