Dave Sampson (9 January 1941 – 5 March 2014) was an English rock singer.
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.
David John 'Dave' Sampson was born 9 January 1941 at Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England. On leaving school he found employment as a messenger boy for an advertising agency in London’s West End, prior to forming a skiffle group in 1957 with friends in Chingford, where he lived.
He moved on to play in various bands on the London rock'n'roll scene, notably The Parker Royal Four which included some schoolmates of Cliff Richard. His first ever recording was a four tune extended play demo disc with Steve Laine later of the Liverpool Five. Both Dave and Steve were the singers with a band that never was named.
After meeting and performing with Cliff and The Shadows, Dave wrote the song "Sweet Dreams" with Cliff in mind. 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 ended up signing Dave to record the song himself.
Sweet Dreams" became a UK hit single in May 1960 for Dave Sampson and his backing band, The Hunters, which peaked at number 29 on the UK Singles Chart. "Sweet Dreams" was released on the Columbia Records label, and spent six weeks in the chart.
Dave Sampson & the Hunters made five singles and an EP in the early '60s that were very much in the Cliff Richard & the Shadows mold, with their imitation of the tamer elements of Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson, as well as the cleanly echoing, almost surf-Hawaiian sound of the guitars. After “Sweet Dreams” none of his subsequent efforts charted. Dave Sampson wasn't without his virtues, he wrote a couple of his singles, including "Sweet Dreams," and had occasional brushes with a polished rockabilly sound.
During the 1960s Dave toured with a number of British pop stars of the day. As well as Cliff Richard and the Shadows, they included Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Joe Brown. From 1963 he worked in Hamburg at The Star Club and The Top Ten Club along with The Beatles and other international stars including Jerry Lee Lewis, 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.
A recent highlight of Dave's career was his 2005 appearance with the legendary guitarist James Burton in the Ricky Nelson tribute show, Remembering Ricky. Dave has also made several appearances via the 2i's Reunion at the 100 Club in Central London. He also appeared to an audience of Teddy boys at The Pavilion pub in Battersea organised by the International Edwardian Teddy Boy Association in 2010 in which he appeared with Clem Cattini and Cliff Edmonds in a session band called "The 2i's Boys".Sampson died at Colchester Hospital, Colchester, Essex, in March 2014, aged 73.