You could say the only way was Essex at the Liverpool Empire 45 years ago this month in 1974.
Crowds of adoring fans crammed into the theatre to see their idol David Essex croon his way through some of his greatest hits while hundreds waited outside.
They’d queued for hours to watch him perform hit singles like Rock On, which went to Number One in the USA, and UK chart topper Gonna Make You a Star.
Many caught a glimpse of him as he made his way from his hotel, where he was pictured by the Liverpool Echo, to the famous theatre on the corner of Lime Street.
Essex was at the peak of his popularity when his nationwide tour came to Merseyside. He’d also just starred in two smash-hit movies – That’ll Be the Day in 1973 and Stardust in 1974.
But Essex wasn’t the only big name to play the Empire in the 1970s. Acts as varied as The Carpenters, Queen and the Rolling Stones all performed there in a memorable decade.
The Stones played two shows in a day at the Empire in March 1971 on their Goodbye Britain Tour – so called because the band announced they were becoming tax exiles in the south of France.
Their set list included the classics Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Woman, Brown Sugar and Street Fighting Man. The encore was the Chuck Berry favourite Let it Rock.
The home of the Beatles gave the Stones a rapturous welcome. The next night they crossed the Pennines to Leeds and ended their tour with three dates in London.
Early in their career, American singing duo Richard and Karen Carpenter recorded the Beatles’ hit Ticket to Ride. But it only reached No. 54 in the US charts.
By the time they appeared at the Empire in February 1974, they’d notched up a string of hits. Each was brilliantly interpreted by Richard and superbly delivered through Karen’s natural contralto voice.
These included the Burt Bacharach song Close to You, We’ve Only Just Begun, Superstar and Goodbye to Love composed by Richard Carpenter in 1971.
Rock sensations Queen came to the Liverpool Empire in June 1977 on their Day at the Races tour. It was the first time the band played the single Somebody to Love as well as full versions of the monster hit Bohemian Rhapsody and Brighton Rock.
The group played two nights at the Empire before rounding off their 59-show American and European tour at Earl’s Court in London.
It was during the European leg that Brian May and Freddie Mercury realised how much their fans adored singing along with them – and wrote the hugely interactive hits We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions as a result.
The Beatles made their final appearance at the Empire as a band on December 5th 1965 – but George Harrison and Paul McCartney both returned within a decade. They were playing separately of course.
First back was Harrison in December 1969. He was snapped backstage by Echo photographers accompanying American musical duo Delaney and Bonny on their UK tour. Harrison offered them a contract with Apple Records the same year.
Paul McCartney and his wife Linda appeared at the Empire with their band Wings in May 1973. It was a momentous year for the group as they wrote and performed the title track for the Bond film Live and Let Die and released their much acclaimed album Band on the Run.