David Dundas

One of the big hits in 1977 came from a TV commercial for Brutus Jeans, which was made into a song and rocketed up the charts from a then unknown artist.

David Dundas had been an actor originally starting at Margate Stage Company as an assistant stage manager and general 'dogsbody' as the term he used to describe it. He was then enthralled enough by this to enrol at Central School Of Acting for 3 years. Upon leaving, his first break came in the film starring David Niven and Judy Geeson in 1969 - quite a feat for one's first film! Entitled, "Prudence And The Pill", the movie was at the height of the 'swinging sixties', mostly made in 1968. He also did some theatre work in plays such as "Macbeth" and various TV dramas for the BBC, his first one being "Pere Goriot" and then "Masterpiece Theatre" in 1971. In the same year, his next feature film role came in "Mosquito Squadron", alongside many famous names including David McCallum. This was an English film, starring mainly English actors, and based on a story of pilots in World War II. During that same year, he ended up scoring music for the film, "Private Road", alongside Michael Feast, and this would change his career.

Although that was to be his last acting role in films, his TV work carried on with plays and dramas such as "The Weir Of Hermiston" for the BBC in 1973. In 1975, David started writing songs with Michael Feast, which eventually led to writing jingles for radio and TV, his first jingle being for Capital Radio; this became his career, and so the acting work stopped there. Those very first jingles for Capital led to more and more work in the industry, in fact, one of the catchiest being for DJ Roger Scott - it can still be heard on Capital's website today! Although it was a hard industry to break into, his jingle for a company called Brutus Jeans would then break him into the mainstream. David recorded this jingle in his bedroom, the commercial aired, and the response and feedback to the song was overwhelming! So much so, that a demand arose for it to be released as a record entitled, "Jeans On"! In fact, David recorded that very single in the same bedroom where the original jingle had been recorded.

With the "Jeans On" TV commercial airing constantly, the demand for the single became huge literally overnight, and next there was also a demand for an album from Chrysalis, his record company, and the prospect of more jingles to be written in a similar vein!

His first TV appearance for "Jeans On" was on Top Of The Pops, and then work commenced on the album, on which David was now hoping to gather a bit more than just a bunch of commercial jingles.

The next single was "Where Were You Today"; it was used for the C&A clothing stores in another TV commercial, and again had a huge amount of airplay on TV, and was even more infectious than "Jeans On". Sadly, it never got the radio airplay so very few people found out about it when it was released as a single.

The album, "David Dundas", was recorded in about six weeks, due to the high demand from the single being a hit, and was produced by Roger Greenaway, one of the biggest pop writers at the time. He also co-wrote "Jeans On" and "Where were you today", as well as another album track, "Daisy Star". He had, in fact, been asked by Air Studios to get together with David and turn "Jeans On" from a jingle into an actual song. Although the album had some other co-writers and other great tracks such as "Sleepy Serena", which was based on David's sister, it didn't sell especially well.

The last track to be released off the album was "Fly Baby Fly", which this time around was not used in a commercial or a jingle and, therefore, never got any airplay at all. Despite having two hits off the album, David never really went out to tour in promotion of it with any band; all he'd been awarded an opportunity to do was just a bunch of odd festivals here and there, whenever the promotion so required.

Chrysalis, still wanting another album, received David's next effort, "Vertical Hold", in 1978, whose writing and recording took about 3 months. The first single off the album was "Guy The Gorilla", and it was about London Zoo's famous beloved animal. This single didn't fare well and once again received no airplay, and David's efforts had now shifted towards trying to write hit songs, rather than jingles, for this album. Interestingly enough, according to hearsay, when Genesis were looking for replacement for Peter Gabriel after he quit in 1976, David was one of the names suggested for the spot of the lead vocalist in the group. Whether there is any truth to this rumour is not entirely known, however, it's still not a hugely known fact. Also missing this time was Roger Greenaway's input, although some the first album's co-writers like David Howell and Michael Feast were still involved. David was also trying to improve his songwriting skills at the time, as he was still primarily a jingle writer, and instead of 30-second snippets , the record company wanted three-minute radio hits! This album also moved away from the sound of the first one, being less commercial and with some tinge of Caribbean/Latin influences added in.

Due to the lack of sales, David didn't get to do much with this album as far as promotion went, and to prove this, it is an extremely hard album to find these days. Additionally, David was still busy working on commercials and had no real time to spare on any such promotional activities. The follow-up single, "When I Saw You Today", thus received no push and disappeared without a trace, this being the final release off his second and final album. Chrysalis showed no interest in a third album, and he didn't ask for a chance to record one either.

Rather than trying out for another record, David was quite happy to go back behind the scenes were he felt more at home anyhow, writing jingles and moving towards movie score writing later on. Although away from the music scene, he did write some other songs for artists such as Frida (of ABBA) and Patti Labelle. One of his biggest achievements arrived in the 1980s when he penned the theme for Channel 4, which ran for years. Amongst the movie scores he wrote is "Withnail And I"; the movie itself garnered a huge cult following and was apparently based on some of David's own experiences in trying to scrape by in London, living in a flat when times were hard. He also wrote more scores for "How To Get Ahead In Advertising", "Dark City", and "Freddie the Frog". 1987 saw David doing voiceovers for the film " Wind In The Willows" and composing the music to the film "Freddie The Frog". Still recording jingles is where it's at for him, and in the USA one of the big department stores is currently using his jingle, "I Love Your Style". With a full schedule ahead and always keeping busy, there are no plans to write new material or record a third album anytime soon, but you never know until someone makes an offer…

Discography

SINGLES
YEAR A SIDE B SIDE CAT #
Oct-76 Jeans on Sleepy Serena Chrysallis CHS 2094
Mar-77 Another Funny Honeymoon Daisy star Chrysallis CHS 2136
May-77 Where were you today New York Doll Chrysallis CHS 2154
Aug-77 Fly baby Fly Hold on Chrysallis CHS 2156
78 Guy the Gorilla Radio Fun Chrysallis CHS 2236
78 When I saw you today Gimme a little bit Chrysallis CHS 2243
ALBUMS
YEAR TITLE TRACKS CAT #
1977 David Dundas Intro (Hello), New York Doll, Another Funny Honeymoon, Daisy Star, Baby Face, Stick On Your Lollipop, Jeans On, Hold On, Where Were You Today, Sleepy Serena, Out Of The Darkness, Outro (Smile On) Chrysallis  1141
1978 Vertical Hold It Ain't So Easy, Doing The Best I Can, Guy The Gorilla, Lady You Are My Only Worry, Gimme A Little Bit, When I Saw You Today, Radio Fun, Never Surrender, 12-Bar Blues, America Chrysallis 1197
Writing credits Song Artist
Dundas/Greenaway At The Disco Rosetta Stone
Dundas/Howell Come To Me I Am A Woman Frida

For more information, contact Jason Humphries

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