Friday, 10 February 2017
Friday On My Mind/Sorry/Who'll Be the One/Made My Bed, Gonna Lie In It
"Friday on My Mind" is a 1966 song by Australian rock group the Easybeats. Written by band members George Young and Harry Vanda, the track became a worldwide hit, reaching no. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1967 in the US, no. 1 on the Dutch Top 40 chart, no. 1 in Australia and no. 6 in the UK, as well as charting in several other countries. In 2001, it was voted "Best Australian Song" of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as determined by a panel of 100 music industry personalities. In 2007, 'Friday on My Mind' was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.
In addition to its 7" single release in late 1966, the song was issued in the United Kingdom on the band's first album for United Artists titled Good Friday which was also released in North America under the song's title. In Australia the song would be released instead with its B-side, "Made My Bed (Gonna Lie in It)", on the greatest hits package The Best of The Easybeats + Pretty Girl in 1967 and an EP named after the track in September 1967, with the tracks "Sorry", "Who'll Be the One" and "Made My Bed, Gonna Lie in It"
Thursday, 9 February 2017
Heaven and Hell/Women Make You Feel Alright/Come and See Her/Pretty Girl
In June,1967 UA in America released the superlative psychedelic rocker "Heaven & Hell". It was their last Talmy-produced single, with Nicky Hopkins prominent on harpsichord, and some great bass playing by Dick. It was released in June, with the wonderful "Pretty Girl" relegated to the b-side, and became another Top 20 hit in Australia. By rights, it should have been a double-sided hit for them worldwide. For a while it looked set to restore their chart fortunes, especially in the US, but once again bad luck intervened: just as it entered the charts, the single was banned by various US stations, due to the line "discovering someone else in your bed" and supposed drug references. Inexplicably, it also failed in the UK.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
I'll Step Down/Mean To Me/It Had To Be You/You'll Never Know
Judy Stone (born 1 January 1942) is an Australian pop and country singer from Sydney, who came to national prominence in the late 1950s through her regular TV appearances on the Australian pop music show Brian Henderson's Bandstand and her many hit records.
Major national hits were '4,003,221 Tears From Now' (1964), 'Born a Woman' (1966), '(Would you Lay With Me) in a Field of Stone' (1974), 'Mare Mare Mare' (1974), 'Hasta Manana' (1976) and 'Silver Wings & Golden Rings' (1976).
In 1963, she recorded "It Takes a Lot (To Make Me Cry)" on which the Bee Gees (Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb) sing backup vocals, and the song was released as a single in July.
She began touring with Joye and the Joyboys, and then signed a deal with Festival Records. Judy eventually teamed up with Col Joye on a number of recordings, including the EPs `The I's Have It' and `Clap Your Hands', and albums Col and Judy and The Best of Col and Judy, which contained material like `Young And Healthy', `Angry' and `Side by Side'. In early 1965 she embarked on a two-month Japanese tour with Joye and the Joyboys. A year later, she married Leo De Kroo of The De Kroo Brothers.
A 1966 single from Judy Stone which gave Bandstand's #1 lady a whole new sound..a real swingin' 60's sound with a groovy production by Pat Aulton. It was perhaps a bit too 'hip' for Judy's fans who liked her ballads, country & more traditional pop songs.
In September 1966, she scored her third Sydney Top 10 hit when a cover of Sandy Posey's `Born a Woman'. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Judy consolidated on her early pop successes with regular appearances on the club and country music circuits.
In 1974, Stone entered her most successful phase since the mid-1960s Judy's most recent recording was a duet with Scottish singer/songwriter Isla Grant on a stirring rendition of her song What's A Girl To Do? from Isla's 2007 album "Down Memory Lane".
Sunday, 5 February 2017
Too Much/I'll Make You Happy/A Very Special Man/Tryin' So Hard
In early 1966, while the group were still touring Australia, their manager, Mike Vaughan, flew to New York City to attempt to secure an American recording contract for the band. Despite an initial lack of interest, Vaughan was able to convince United Artists Records to sign the band. Just before relocating to London in 1966, they recorded a farewell TV special for the Seven Network, titled The Easybeats, more commonly known as The Coca-Cola Special), one of the few surviving appearances from the band's career during this period. The group left for the UK on 10 July 1966.
In August 1966, Albert Productions released an E.P. of material recorded before the group left Australia. Titled Easyfever, it reach #1 on the Australian singles charts. Albert Productions then released an entire album of material titled Volume 3 on 3 November 1966. This too was a commercial success and its lead single "Sorry" topped the Australian charts.
Happy Is The Man/You Me, We Love/Saturday Night/All Gone Boy
The Easybeats were an Australian rock band which formed in Sydney, Australia, in late 1964, and disbanded at the end of 1969. Regarded as the greatest pop band hailing from Australia in the 1960s[who?], they were the antipodean echo to the style and sound of the Beatles in Britain, and the first rock and roll act from Australia to score an international pop hit with the 1966 single, "Friday on My Mind".
The band's line-up exemplified the influence of post-war migration on Australian society. All five founding members were from families that had migrated to Australia from Europe: lead singer Stevie Wright and drummer Gordon "Snowy" Fleet were from England; rhythm guitarist George Young was from Scotland; lead guitarist Harry Vanda and bassist Dick Diamonde were from the Netherlands.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Friends - La La Song/Madder Lake - Down The River/Country Radio - Silver Spurs/Johnny O'Keefe - High Rollin' Man/69'ers - Harry Rag/Glen Cardier - Australia
Sunbury '73 ran from 27 January to 29 January. The attendance was 25,000 - 30,000 and the entry fee was $8.00 (3 days), $7.00 (2 days), $5.00 (1 day). Promoter, John Fowler provided a documentary, Sunbury 1973, which was aired on GTV9. Music entrepreneur Michael Gudinski was involved with the first Sunbury festival—as well as managing several major acts that appeared—he operated a lucrative concession selling watermelon to festival-goers. His new record company, Mushroom Records, was established with Ray Evans late in 1972. It became associated with Sunbury thanks to its inaugural album, a three-disc set of live recordings from the 1973 festival, Sunbury 1973 - The Great Australian Rock Festival. Guitarist, Lobby Loyde and his band, Coloured Balls were joined on-stage by Billy Thorpe and Leo de Castro (Friends) to record a live set, Summer Jam, which was issued in November. Carson released their own live album, On the Air in April but had disbanded by that time. Veteran rocker, Johnny O'Keefe, was initially booed but won the crowd over by his performance and went on to do several encores.
The 1973 festival was MCed by comedian Paul Hogan.
Band of Light
The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band
The Flying Circus
Max Merritt & the Meteors
Mississippi (backed by a full orchestra)
Mulga Bill's Bicycle Band
Spirit featuring the Staehely Brothers
Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
Everlasting Love/Take Me for a Little While/It's Hurting Badly/I Can't Help Myself
Popular Melbourne band The Town Criers formed around 1965. Their first single, a cover of The Kinks' "The World Keeps Going Round", was released on the Melbourne independent label Trend but didn't make any impression on the local charts. The B-side, a great 'garage-punk' number called "Big Deal", was included on the bootleg Oz '60s compilation CD It's A Kave-In, which also features another Criers rarity from this period, a version of the blues standard "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut".
The Criers gigged consistently around Melbourne over the next two years, and in late 1967 they were signed to the Astor label by A&R manager Ron Tudor. Their second single, released in February 1968 and nominally produced by Geoffrey Edelsten, was a strong version of "Everlasting Love", the much-covered hit originally recorded by American singer Robert Knight in 1967 and also released in 1968 in the UK by The Love Affair. The song was penned by pop songwriters Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, who also wrote "Hayride" and "La La" (both hits for The Flying Circus) and "Groupie" (covered by The New Dream). It was an immediate success and became a big hit in Melbourne, reaching #2 and also charted in Sydney (#16) and Adelaide (#33) in April-May 1968, and this success proplelled it into thethe Go-Set Top 20; it peaked at #18 and consistently out-charted the Love Affair version. The song has been covered many times since then, including a 1990s version by U2.
George Kurtiss left the band in May 1968 and was replaced by John Taylor (ex Strings Unlimited). Their second Astor single, "Unexpectedly" / "It's Hurting Badly" was released in September, but failed to chart. Astor also compiled the two Town Criers singles for an EP, Everlasting Love, released during 1968.
During the latter half of 1968 the Town Criers travelled to South East Asia where they entertained Australian and American troops stationed in Vietnam. This was followed by a trip to the USA, where they appeared on the Bob Hope Christmas Special. In early 1969 founding vocalist Andy Agtoft and John Taylor both left the group. Agtoft was replaced by singer Barry Smith from Adelaide; this raised the band's profile in Adelaide, but it may also have led some fans to think that the band itself was from Adelaide. It's also possible there was some confusion with The London Criers, a well-known late-60s Adelaide show band. Taylor subsequently joined the Sydney band Daisy Clover, who released two singles on Festival.
In the late 1970s Andy Agtoft joined Scandinavian band Soames Electric, singing with them and writing English lyrics for their songs. After he left that group he joined another Scandinavian band, Churchill, before returning to Australia. Andy and Barry Smith have collaborated on a history of The Town Criers called Everlasting Pop, published by Chris Spencer's Moonlight Publications.
Andy Agtoft (vocals) 1967-69
Mark Demajo (bass)
Sam Dunnin (guitar)
Chris Easterby (drums)
George Kurtiss (keyboards) 1967 - May 1968
John Taylor (keyboards) 1968-69
Barry Smith (vocals) 1968-69
Golfshoes/C.Y.O. Dance/The Nips Are Getting Bigger [Original Version]
Mental As Anything are an Australian new wave/pop-rock band that formed in Sydney in 1976. Its most popular line-up (which lasted from 1977-1999) was Martin Plaza (birth name Martin Murphy) on vocals and guitar; Reg Mombassa (birth name Chris O'Doherty) on lead guitar and vocals; his brother Peter "Yoga Dog" O'Doherty on bass guitar and vocals; Wayne de Lisle (birth name David Twohill) on drums; and Andrew "Greedy" Smith on vocals, keyboards and harmonica. Their original hit songs were generated by Mombassa, O'Doherty, Plaza and Smith, either individually or collectively; they also hit the Australian charts with covers of songs by Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.
Their top ten Australian singles are "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" and "Too Many Times" (both from 1981), "Live It Up" (1985) and "Rock and Roll Music" (1988). Internationally, "Too Many Times" made the Canadian top 40 in 1982, and "Live It Up" peaked at No. 3 in UK, No. 4 in Norway, and No. 6 in Germany, after it featured in the 1986 Australian film "Crocodile" Dundee.
All of the early members are visual artists and have had combined studio displays, some have had solo studio displays with Mombassa's artwork also used as designs by the Mambo clothing company. The majority of the group's record covers, posters and video clips have been designed and created by themselves or their art school contemporaries. On 27 August 2009, Mental As Anything was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie and John Paul Young.
Thanks to Sunshine for this FLAC version.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The Hokey Pokey/You Make Me Happy/Beach Ball/You Gotta Have Love
Jimmy Hannan (born August 1934 He was born and bred in Sydney's Surry Hills)is a Gold Logie-winning variety show host, singer, actor and game show host. Making appearances on over 20 shows, his career in Australian television and radio spanned 30 years.
Jimmy got his start on television as a bright-eyed 18-year-old contestant on Name That Tune. It was 1956 and television had just launched in Australia. Very few people had televisions in their homes so people crowded around TV shop windows to watch, and listen - the shops kindly left the sound on. Jimmy was on the show for six weeks and never made a mistake guessing the songs. He used his £500 prize to go to Canada to further his career.
After snagging a compere role on the musical variety show Saturday Date (1963-67, TCN-9), Jimmy wanted to make a record of his own. 'Beach Ball' was originally recorded by The City Surfers in 1963 and the words and music were written by Roger ‘Jimmy’ McGuinn, who went on to start the band The Byrds, and Frank Gari. You can hear back-up vocals from the Bee Gees (early in their career) and the song also features musicians from Col Joye’s band on drums and guitar. The song was released in February 1964 and reached number 2 on the Australian charts.
Surfing music and the dance 'The Stomp' were popular at the time. During the taping of Saturday Date in 1963 an article from the Australian Women’s Weekly notes, ‘the teenage audience were so carried away with stomping on the cement studio floor that the camera was vibrating and the singer couldn’t be heard. In the end the singer and [host] Jimmy Hannan gave up trying to compete, and joined in the stomp instead.’
The concert photographs above were taken by an unknown photographer at Sydney Stadium in 1965 and are a terrific example of Jimmy’s popularity and vitality. Jimmy remembers this particular concert at Sydney Stadium where he performed alongside Johnny Devlin, Little Pattie and The Denvermen. Jimmy looks very relaxed in his role as a teen idol, managing to appear casual even in a suit jacket and tie.
Jimmy went on to win a Gold Logie for most popular television personality in 1965 for Saturday Date.
In 1957 Jimmy got his start as a singer in a big band that played at the Marrickville Strollers dance hall in Sydney. They played to 2,000 jitterbugging dancers each weekend. The Bee Gee's Barry Gibb joked that they got their name from being Jimmy's 'Backing Group'. Jimmy regularly hosted shows on Melbourne’s 3UZ and Sydney’s 2GB radio stations.
Jimmy's long list of TV credits includes: Name That Tune (1956), Say When (1962), Saturday Date (1963-67), Jimmy (1966), Take a Letter (1966), The Go!! Show (1967), Take a Letter (1967), Jimmy Hannan Tonight (1967), Generation Gap (1969), In Melbourne Tonight (1970), The Weekend Starts Here (1970), Spending Spree (1971-5), The Graham Kennedy Show (1972-75), Split Second (1973-74), The Mike Walsh Show (1973-84), The Ernie Sigley Show (1974), The Jimmy Hannan Show (1975), Celebrity Squares (1975-76), Let’s Make a Deal (1976-77), Micro Macro (1978), Have a Go (1980), Personality Squares (1981), Search for a Star (1981), $100,000 Money Makers (1982), Value Shopping (1987), This Is Your Life (1989).
He met his wife Joanne when he was singing in the big band. Four children and 59 years later, they are still very much in love. Jimmy retired at 50 and moved up to a farm in Bellingen where he kept cattle for 10 years.
Thanks to Brian for sending me this one.
Saturday, 7 January 2017
He's My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy/Stompin' at Maroubra/We're Gonna Have a Party Tonight/Dear Judy
Patricia Amphlett, a popular Australian singer of the 1960s, was born in Paddington, Sydney on 17 March 1949. Amphlett began her singing career early, having appeared on the talent show, Opportunity knocks, at the age of 13. After that she became a regular performer at surf club dances on Sydney's southern beaches.
She picked up a weekly gig at Bronte Surf Club, backed by a band called the Statesmen. During one of these performances Amphlett was spotted by an EMI Records talent scout, was given an audition and then a contract. Her first single for the label, He's my blonde headed stompie wompie real gone surfer boy was released on 7 November 1963. By the following January it had risen to number two in the Top 40 charts, only kept from the number one position by the Beatles' I wanna hold your hand.
During the latter part of the 1960s, Amphlett won a number of music awards. In 1972 she participated in the now famous Labor Party It's time advertising campaign for the federal election held that year. The following year she married Keith Jacobsen, a fellow musician. During the 1970s, Amphlett performed on the club circuit and was a regular guest on television's long running Midday show.
"Little Pattie" singing to an audience of Australian soldiers at the Bokah Music Bowl, a temporary stage with a parachute as a shade canopy. Ms Amphlett accompanied Col Joye and his band the "Joyboys" on this and a later tour of South Vietnam in August 1966.
In addition to her music career, Amphlett served on the Council of the Australian War Memorial between 1995 and 1998, and as the National President of Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. She has also been on the Federal Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and was vice-president of Actors' Equity. In 2000 the Sydney Morning Herald included her on a list of the 'century's most loved faces', and she was included in a 1998 issue of Australian stamps featuring Australian bands.
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Christmas In The Air/Merry Christmas Polka/ Christmas/Mary's Boy Child
James Oswald "Jimmy" Little, AO (1 March 1937 – 2 April 2012) was an Australian Aboriginal musician, actor and teacher from the Yorta Yorta people and was raised on the Cummeragunja Mission, New South Wales.
From 1951 he had a career as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, which spanned six decades. For many years he was the main Aboriginal star on the Australian music scene. His music was influenced by Nat King Cole and American country music artist Jim Reeves. His gospel song "Royal Telephone" (1963) sold over 75,000 copies and his most popular album, Messenger, peaked at No. 26 in 1999 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 1999 Little was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album. On Australia Day (26 January) 2004, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia with the citation, "For service to the entertainment industry as a singer, recording artist and songwriter and to the community through reconciliation and as an ambassador for Indigenous culture". As an actor he appeared in the films Shadow of the Boomerang (1960) and Until the end of the World (1991), in the theatre production Black Cockatoos and in the opera Black River. As a teacher, from 1985, he worked at the Eora Centre in Redfern and from 2000 was a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney's Koori Centre.
In 1958 Little married Marjorie Rose Peters and they had a daughter, Frances Claire Peters-Little. Little was a diabetic with a heart condition and, in 2004, had a kidney transplant. After his transplant he established the Jimmy Little Foundation to promote indigenous health and diet. Marjorie died in July 2011. On 2 April 2012 Little died at his home in Dubbo, aged 75 years.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
I Believe/Mary's Boy Child/Silent Night/Deck The Halls
Larry's Rebels were a garage rock band, formed in Ponsonby, New Zealand, in 1964. Staying with a relatively preserved lineup, the band had in New Zealand and Australia several nationally charting singles. The group incorporated a diversity of musical genres ranging from blues rock to psychedelic pop, in large part due to the versatility of lead vocalist, Larry Morris. As Larry's Rebels progressed, they were able to merge both British Invasion, and American musical influences into their own repertoire.
In late 1965, the group shared top billing with Ray Columbus and the Invaders at the Miss Auckland Personality Contest. Impressed by the performance, Russell Clark, the manager of Ray Columbus and the Invaders, agreed to oversee Larry's Rebels, and he soon finalized a deal with Philips Records. With Russell, the band recorded demos for their debut single, many of which were rejected by the record company. Finally the group released their first single in December 1965 after settling with a cover version of Dionne Warwick's "This Empty Place". Though they did not manage to chart, the single sold well enough to encourage a second recording, with the folk piece, "Long Ago, Far Away", being distributed in early 1966 to local success.
After a string of concerts in Australia in April 1967, promoter Ron Blackmore, head of the largest booking agency in Melbourne, closed a deal with the group to take part in The Easybeats high-profile homecoming tour. A follow-up to the band's successful single, a rendition of The Creation's "Painter Man", was released in April 1967, and raced up the charts before unexpectedly stalling at number six. The single's sales were impeded when a disgruntled listener complained about the inclusion of the term, "shit-cans". The phrase was miscued after Morris overdubbed "tin can" twice to emphasize the wording. Consequently, radio host Pete Sinclair banned the song from further airplay. It appeared the setback had little impact on the group's popularity when, in May 1967, their debut album A Study in Black was released, and a single, "Let's Think of Something", earned Larry's Rebels their first number one hit in Auckland and reached number four nationally.
On the band's return to Auckland, Clark arranged a publicity stunt in which Morris rescued a Miss New Zealand contestant from a fall overboard from a cruise. The act was later admitted to be fake, but attention was drawn to the group's psychedelic light show - the first of its kind in New Zealand. The band revealed the show when they went back on tour in August 1967, playing in the Golden Disc Spectacular. Afterwards, Larry's Rebels spent the rest of 1967 and most of 1968 in Australia, performing in larger venues as the featured attraction. The band was exposed to the drug scene while touring, particularly Morris, who would be late for concerts as a result. An original composition by Morris and Williams, "Dreamtime", was released in November 1967, and garnered another hit when it charted at number four. The group continued to incorporate psychedelic influences into their music, which ended with an ill-fated single, "Fantasy". Despite the setback, the group restored their position in the charts with the song, "Halloween", placing at number six in July 1968. However, the stress of another tour caused Rouse to suffer a nervous breakdown and leave Larry's Rebels. Their next recording, the Top Ten hit "Do What You Gotta Do", featured Mal Logan as his replacement, and included Brian Henderson on organ.
Friday, 9 December 2016
Slippin Around/Straight Skirts/I'm Grateful/How Would Ya Be
Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's first true superstar of the rock & roll era, a teen idol whose national fame and revolutionary impact made him a Kiwi counterpart to Elvis Presley. Born May 11, 1938 in the small town of Raetihi, Devlin was raised in nearby Wanganui, where in 1951 he made his solo performing debut yodeling at the local opera house. After graduating high school, he spent two years as a bank clerk, occasionally playing country & western music with his brothers in a band called the River City Ramblers. Then, in mid-1956, Devlin heard Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel"; overnight he became obsessed with rock & roll, snatching up Presley singles and performing Elvis songs on the amateur talent quest circuit. Complete with ducktail, loud suits, and hepcat lingo, he assimilated himself completely in the culture portrayed in American teen movies of the era, earning something of a reputation as the town eccentric.
Although Devlin regularly appeared in talent contests, he at first enjoyed little success, but in early 1957, he was spotted by Johnny Cooper, who had cut the first-ever New Zealand rock record, a cover of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock," two years prior. Cooper became Devlin's mentor, and his career surged, he regularly won top honors at talent shows and played to increasingly enthusiastic crowds. After settling into a regular gig at Auckland's Jive Centre, Devlin's fame grew, and his nightly sets of dead-on Presley imitations were the stuff of massive teen hysteria; finally, in mid-1958, he recorded his debut single, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." It was a massive hit, selling over 2000 copies in Auckland alone during its first month of release on its way to passing the unprecedented five-figure mark; trumpeted in the press as "New Zealand's Elvis Presley," Devlin was a true phenomenon, mobbed by fans wherever he went.
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
California Sun/The Hokey Pokey/What A Night/The Can Can Ladies/Shakin' All Over/That's How It's Gonna Be
1962 - Released first E.P. record Johnny Chester's Hit Parade, 6 tracks it contained both sides of his first three singles.
John Howard "Johnny" Chester (born 26 December 1941) is an Australian singer-songwriter, who started his career in October 1959 singing rock'n'roll and in 1969 changed to country music. He has toured nationally with The Beatles, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride. During his career he has led various groups including Johnny Chester and The Chessmen, Johnny Chester and Jigsaw, Johnny Chester and Hotspur. With Jigsaw he had five top 30 hit singles, "Gwen (Congratulations)" (1971), "Shame and Scandal", "Midnight Bus" (both 1972), "World's Greatest Mum" (No. 9, 1973) and "She's My Kind of Woman" (1974).
Chester has hosted various TV series: Teen Time on Ten (GLV-10, Gippsland, 1963–64), Teen Scene (ABC TV, 1964–65) and Country Road (ABC TV, 1977–78). He has worked as a radio announcer on Melbourne radio station 3UZ and Radio Australia. He wrote a musical comedy, Rebound, that opened in Wagga Wagga. Chester has won Golden Guitars at the Country Music Awards of Australia for best selling track in 1975 and for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1983. In 1994 he was awarded the Songmaker of the Year Award from the Tamworth Songwriters Association. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, he is "one of Melbourne's first and best rock'n'roll singers of the early 1960s". Music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, acknowledges Chester's "essential inclusion on any major national rock package coming into Melbourne" and later he "helped bring Australian country music to pop
The Twist/The Hoochie Coochie Coo/Twistin' Australia Way/Let's Twist Again
John Michael O'Keefe, known as Johnny O'Keefe (19 January 1935 – 6 October 1978), was an Australian rock and roll singer whose career began in the 1950s. Some of his hits include "Wild One" (1958), "Shout!" and "She's My Baby". In his twenty-year career, O'Keefe released over fifty singles, 50 EPs and 100 albums. O'Keefe was also a radio and television entertainer and presenter
Often referred to by his initials "J.O.K." or by his nickname "The Wild One", O'Keefe was the first Australian rock 'n' roll performer to tour the United States, and the first Australian artist to make the local Top 40 charts and he had twenty-nine Top 40 hits in Australia between 1958 and 1973.
Johnny O'Keefe was the younger brother of Australian jurist Barry O'Keefe (a former head of the New South Wales ICAC). His father, Alderman Ray O'Keefe, was Mayor of Waverley Council in the early 1960s. Through Barry, Johnny O'Keefe is the uncle of Australian TV personality Andrew O'Keefe
"She's My Baby" was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry in 2007.
The Wild One (Live)/Ain't That A Shame (Live)/ Silhouette (Live)/Litty Bitty Pretty One (Live)
"Wild One" or "Real Wild Child" is an Australian rock and roll song written by Johnny Greenan, Johnny O'Keefe, and Dave Owens. While most sources state that O'Keefe was directly involved in composing the song, this has been questioned by others. Sydney disc jockey Tony Withers was credited with helping to get radio airplay for the song but writer credits on subsequent versions often omit Withers, who later worked in the United Kingdom on pirate stations Radio Atlanta and, as Tony Windsor, on Radio London.
According to O'Keefe's guitarist, Lou Casch, the song was inspired by an incident at a gig in Newtown, Sydney, in about 1957. According to Casch, as O'Keefe and the Dee Jays played at an upstairs venue, an "Italian wedding" reception was taking place downstairs. Some of the dance patrons came to blows with wedding guests in the men's toilets, and within minutes the brawl had become a full-scale riot that spilled out into the street, with police eventually calling in the Navy Shore Patrol to help restore order.
The release date of the single, 5 July 1958, is considered the birth of Australian rock and roll. The band Jet and Iggy Pop cover was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the original release. The Living End performed the song at the 2008 APRA Awards to mark the anniversary.
O'Keefe was the first artist to record it, on his debut EP Shakin' at the Stadium, released on the Festival label. This version, ostensibly recorded live at the Sydney Stadium, was in fact a studio recording, overdubbed with the sound of a real audience.
An alternate version was recorded and released outside Australia: in the USA (as "Real Wild Child") on Brunswick and in the UK on Coral. "Festival liner notes have always put forward that the crowd overdub was the only difference... Ignoring the crowd overdub at the start, both versions have a different intro and JOK's vocal on the foreign versions is noticeably wilder than on the EP version issued here… As far as I know, the US/UK single version which, IMHO, is markedly superior to our version, was never issued in Australia... at the time, [but] it did finally appear on a local compilation LP in the 70's and is now commonly available on various JOK CDs."
The song was the first Australian rock recording to reach the national charts, peaking at #20.
Rockin' Rollin' Clementine/Bye, Bye Baby Goodbye/Oh Yeah Uh Huh/Teenage Baby
Colin Jacobsen, born 13 April 1937, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Joye began his career in 1957 singing with his brothers at suburban dances which they organized themselves, becoming popular with teenagers who were anxious to be involved with the ‘new’ rock ‘n’ roll emanating from the USA and UK. After recording successfully as Col Joye And The Joy Boys, his success as a solo artist was guaranteed once he had gained recognition on national television. His good looks and easy-going manner captured the hearts of many teenage girls, even though his vocal talent was not exceptional. From his first record release in 1958 through to 1965 Joye released over 50 singles including ‘Oh Yeah, Uh Huh’ (1959), ‘Bad Man’ (1960), ‘Goin’ Steady’ (1961), Sweet Dreams Of You’ (1962), ‘Whispering Pines’ (1964) and ‘Can Your Monkey Do The Dog’ (1965). Throughout this time, Joye vied with Johnny O’Keefe for the title of the most popular teen idol of the rock ‘n’ roll era in Australia. His material basically consisted of covers of international hits, but later he wrote his own material, or was provided with songs by his backing band the Joy Boys, who also had a successful recording career in their own right. After the initial rock ‘n’ roll boom died, Joye continued his success with ballads and later resurfaced as a country and MOR artist, recording consistently during the 70s. Joye also became involved in management (having Andy Gibb on his books at one time), music publishing, a talent agency and with his brothers Kevin and Keith ran the ATA label. Joye still performs and records today and is popular on the 50s’ and 60s’ revival circuit.
Friday, 25 November 2016
Take It Easy/You're Not Alone/Open Up Your Heart/Morning Of The Earth/Day Comes
G. Wayne Thomas was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and spent his early years from a very young age boarding at Timaru Boys High in the South Island. Due to his mother’s poor health, the family later moved to Christchurch, where he attended Cashmere High. Here he joined the school band and played First 15 rugby, subsequently being selected to play for Canterbury in several divisions up to under 19s, and for the schoolboy side that toured Fiji.
His first job was as a Production Assistant with CHTV 3, and he later moved to Australia on a scholarship to study Theatre Production at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). During this time he worked as Stage Manager for Frank Strain’s Theatre Restaurants at night, before taking a full time position with the then Elizabethan Theatre Trust Company, now Opera Australia.
Subsequently he accepted a position at Channel 7 in Sydney, as Stage Manager of a new TV series starring Tony Hancock, the British Comedian. Before production commenced, however, Mr. Hancock took his own life, leaving G. Wayne and many of the crew at a loose end. Following this, a chance a meeting with Bryce Courtney, Creative Director of advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson at the time, resulted in a position as Film Cameraman with that company, and although he was totally unqualified for this role, he managed to pull it off.
Wayne’s recording career as an artist began after being offered several writing and recording contracts. He asked a lawyer friend, Peter Steigrad, to assess them and his conclusion was that they were all rubbish. They decided to work together so that they would own the recordings and lease the finished product to a record company. The first recording session was scheduled with his backing band to include Rod Coe, an old friend of Wayne from New Zealand, who later became Slim Dusty’s Producer, Murray Grindley who became New Zealand’s most successful jingle writer and producer, and Allison McCallum who also became a successful recording artist in her own right.
The first four songs recorded under the new arrangement were “Take it Easy”, “You’re Not Alone”, “You Can’t Have Sunshine Everyday” and “Hello Sunshine” which was released by Allison McCallum, the tracks were all produced by G. Wayne Thomas. Before the release of the first single, Warner Bros realized that there was a drummer by the name of Wayne Thomas, playing in a fairly successful band at the time. G. Wayne was asked to add the ‘G’ in front of his name to differentiate between the two musicians, and he was happy to oblige. His first name was actually Graham although he had never been called that.
Early recordings were reasonably successful, getting good airplay. “Take it Easy” reached around No. 2 on the 2SM chart in Sydney and about 33 nationally, while Allison’s recording reached the top 10.
After the success of the first two singles, Turner and Greenop asked G. Wayne to produce an album for the band Autumn, and following the success of this album, he was offered the position of Head of A&R and General Manager at Warner Bros. Early into that role two guys came into his office looking to get in touch with him to produce a soundtrack for a movie they were making, later to be called “Morning of the Earth”.
The soundtrack was mostly recorded at TCS Studios in Melbourne at TCS, which at the time was one of only two studios in Australia that could provide 16 track recording. Recording was fairly chaotic due to player and band availability, and much is owed to the players who backed up the performers: Duncan McGuire, Billy Green, Mark Kennedy, Phil Manning and Broderick Smith, who sang the Tamun Shud song “First Things First” due to Tim Gaze not being well. John French did an outstanding job as Recording Engineer and Peter Jones was responsible for string and orchestral arrangements.
As there was no SMPTE code or picture lock in those days, timed sequences had to be counted in bars after watching the clips, which were not formatted in any coherent sequence. Consequently Elfick asked G. Wayne to write and record one extra track in case it was needed. This lead to the recording of “Open Up Your Heart”.
Albe and G. Wayne then set about editing and compiling the movie, which was done over about four days and nights, and “Open Up Your Heart” was not needed in the film after all. A master copy of the album, including the extra song, was sent to John Brennan at 2SM, and he was to select a track for airplay to promote the film. He selected the last song on the tape, “Open up your Heart”, and suggested that it should be added over the end titles.
“Open Up Your Heart” was released, with “Morning of the Earth” as the B side, by Warners in 1972. It reached No. 1 in Sydney and would have made No.1 in Australia wide but for the leading DJ in Melbourne refusing to play the track due to a personal argument he had had with Thomas some months before.
“Morning of the Earth”, the Original Soundtrack Album, was released around May 1972, containing only 12 songs. The song order was selected by Phil Greenop to best fit the vinyl format, and the album went on to become Australia’s first Gold Soundtrack album. According to Albe Toms it is the highest selling Australian film soundtrack album of all time.
The following year, at Warner’s request, G. Wayne produced the album “Laid” with a band called Duck, which included members of various bands that had either disbanded or were on extended hiatus. It was essentially a studio band that included John Robinson (ex Blackfeather), Jon English (Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar), Bobbi Marchini, Teddy Toi (ex Billy Thorpe and Max Merrit and the Meteors). Their album was widely acclaimed by critics and fans alike as a great album but only achieved moderate success.
At the same time he was continuously writing, producing and sometimes singing numerous television and radio commercials for Australia’s leading adverting agencies. One of these assignments required him to be overseas for an extended period of time and this eventually lead to him leaving Warner Bros.
On return to Australia he formed his own record label along with Jon English, called Warm and Genuine, the name being an antithesis of the reality of the music/recording business. He produced Jon’s first No. 1 record “Turn the Page” and became the Executive Producer of Jon’s first album “Wine Dark Sea”. These were released through Polygram, on which he also released his first solo album “G. Wayne Thomas” which included his third single “Everything in You” / “Call My Name”, as well as “Come Tomorrow Morning” and a version of Kris Kristofferson’s song “I’ve Got To Have You” made world famous shortly after by Carly Simon.
At this time Thomas was asked by David Elfick to write and produce the soundtrack for Albe and David’s new film “Crystal Voyager”. To do this Thomas formed a studio band, funnily enough, called the “The Crystal Voyager Band” whose members comprised Bobby Gibbert (keyboards), Mick Lieber (ex Python Lee Jackson, Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, guitars) Rod Coe (bass) and John Proud (drums), with Thomas on acoustic guitars and vocals.
G. Wayne’s last single on Warm and Genuine was “Mercy for the Innocent” / “Junkyard” (1975) but then he released “Just to Love You”/ How Can I Tell You” on Polydor in 1976.
Thomas continued to write and produce music for commercials, including “Spirit of Australia” for Qantas Airlines, the words now written on all of Qantas’ aircraft. He also adapted Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” from the “Grand Canyon Suite” for United Airlines in America, and all the music, theme and incidental for Malaysian Airlines.
G. Wayne has won many International and Australian awards for his commercials, such as a Penguin for “Spirit of Australia” for Qantas, a Gold Lion in Venice for “Can’t Say No” for CCs, Clio’s in New York for “Coke Teardrop” and Levi’s “Leaving” also “Get Your Body” for Reebok and International Radio Awards for “Eveready Red” and numerous awards for clients as “Toyota”, Fosters Beer, KFC, St George Bank, Marantz, etc
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, working with pianist and performer Peter Bailey, G. Wayne released four singles on Polydor, including “The Last Laugh” / “Its Alright” 1979, “Missing Persons”/ “Loving You” 1979, I Don’t Want To Spoil Your Party” / “Halfway Home” 1980 and “Tobacco Road” / “They Loved Their Lives Away” 1980, from the 1979 Polydor album “Missing Persons”.
In the late ‘80s, with David Perryman, he produced the original Ray Henwood authored play, “No Good Boyo”, which proved to be one of the hits of the Sydney Festival under Stephen Hall, an old associate from his Opera Company days. The idea of the play is an imagination of what may have happened in the last three missing hours of Dylan Thomas’s life, and it reunited all surviving members of Dylan Thomas’s family from around the world in Sydney for the premier.
G. Wayne was also co-inventor, co- international patent holder and founding director of Pinranger Australia, which introduced differential GPS distance measuring to the sport of golf in the early nineties. The system is now in use on over 10,000 golf courses worldwide and was sold to American interests in the early 2000s. He is currently involved in another innovative “real time” GPS project for specialized sport / recreational performance measurement and display.
He is still undertakes some music projects: he is currently music supervisor for an upcoming film and recently composed and produced the music for six hour long television specials for the “History of the Davis Cup”.
The “Morning of the Earth” album is now in it’s 42nd year on continuous release through Warner Bros, and G. Wayne only occasionally performs in shows around Australia, one of those being as recent as 2014. He has two daughters from his marriage to Dawn: the youngest, Melissa was a successful Australian actress before delivering four grandchildren, and the oldest daughter Olivia is a TV and film executive based in Los Angles.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Play Mumma, Sing Me A Song/City Lights, Saturday Night, 1959/Simple Ben/Embarrasing Situations
John J Francis rose to national prominence with the vanguard of contemporary Australian singer/songwriters who came to the fore in the early 70's. Between 1972 and 1974 he released four highly respected studio albums through Warner Brothers and penned the iconic surf anthem, 'Simple Ben' as well as scoring an Australian top 10 hit with the single 'Play Mumma, Sing Me a Song'.
John J Francis' career began in Newcastle, Australia where he fronted a popular local R n' B band, The Sorrows who became one of the better known Newcastle bands of that era and in 1965 supported the legendary Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, playing to a packed Newcastle Stadium. This performance won the band several gigs at the legendary Sydney dance venue 'Surf City' in Kings Cross, and the following year they were asked to support the Easybeats at a frenetic show in the Newcastle Town Hall.
John J. Francis - Breaks, Works & Thoughts John's second album, 'Breaks, Works & Thoughts', was released in 1973 and included the iconic 'Simple Ben', which is featured on the 'Morning of the Earth' movie soundtrack, the hit single 'Play Mumma, Sing Me a Song', as well as the driving 'Bop Right Over You' and the strikingly powerful and distinctively original 'Steel Man'. 'Breaks, Works & Thoughts' is undoubtedly a landmark in Australian music history and was the most nominated album at the 1973 Australasian Radio Awards (the precursor to today's ARIA Awards) winning the coveted Best Song/Composer of the Year Award for 'Play Mumma, Sing Me a Song'.
It was around this time that John became the musical director for the popular ABC-TV series, 'Sit Yourself Down, Take a Look Around' which featured many emerging artists from the alternative music scene. Hosted by folk/jazz/blues legend Marion Henderson, the show musically covered everything from folk to jazz and blues and even the Aunty Jack crew on one occasion.