Perhaps somewhat unfairly lumbered with the one-hit wonder tag, Dave Sampson made a minor impression on the British charts with the catchy self-penned Sweet Dreams, which peaked at number 29 in July 1960. A fine singer of beat ballads and light rockabilly tunes, Sampson’s style was probably too close to that of his friend Cliff Richard for him to achieve lasting success of his own.
On leaving school he found employment as a messenger boy for an advertising agency in London’s West End, prior to forming a musical group with friends in Chingford, where he lived. After writing Sweet Dreams, Sampson made a demo recording of the song in a Soho studio, which he took along to Cliff Richard’s house to see what he thought of it. In turn, Richard played the disc for EMI producer Norrie Paramor, who negotiated a record contract, with the song being released on the Columbia label by Sampson and his band, the Hunters.
1963 saw Sampson move to Hamburg, where he sang at the Star Club, before returning to England and running a record shop in Walthamstow for several years.
In the late nineties, Sampson and the Hunters reformed for the occasional show, with the RPM label issuing a CD containing their entire recording output.
In 2005 he appeared with legendary guitarist James Burton in the Ricky Nelson tribute show Remembering Ricky, singing in his still smooth rocking way.
Born in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire on January 9 1941, David John Sampson died in Colchester Hospital, aged 73, on March 5.
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