Sunday, October 11, 2009

Australian Music to the World (THE SIXTIES)

Here is another interesting article from my vinyl friend down under, Donald Kay:

by Donald J. Kay

Australian music from the sixties technically wasn’t recorded by Australians. We had overseas interests, migrants, which Australia would take under her wing and embrace and call them AUSSIE. Artists such as the Bee Gees, (UK) AC/DC (UK/Scottish), Easybeats (English Dutch), Billy Thorpe (UK,) Ray Columbus and the Invaders (New Zealand), to name but a few.

The record buying public went crazy over these artists, buying their records, watching every pop show we could, just so we could get a glimpse of our idols. Their concerts were sell outs, filled with mass hysteria, girls fainting in the aisles, having to be carted out on stretchers. The music was raw and poppy, selling in the millions. Unknowns became known and ‘till this day some of these artists remain legends.

Stories have been tossed around as to how the Aussie artists got their recognition in America. Some say, they made personal appearances on TV shows etc., while other’s say they got records released possibly because ozzie labels did deals with major/minor labels. Artists like Johnny Young, Normie Rowe, Russell Morris, Bee Gees, Johnny O’Keefe, Lynne Randel, and Dinah Lee all went to the UK or US, to record, and had records released there. It wasn’t until the 70’s with the advent of the video, that many major artists gained recognition, band such as: AC/DC, Midnight Oil, The Church, Little River Band, Jimmy Barnes, Kylie, among others. During the ensuing years thousands of videos were made, cementing the Aussie icons onto the world stage of music.

One of the MEGA metal bands in the world today, AC/DC, had their foundation in Western Australia (as the Valentines). The band had great success playing to packed houses all over Perth. With a few singles under their belt, having recorded for the small Perth label called Clarion, the band decided to broaden their musical horizons and make the journey east. After establishing themselves in Melbourne, they scored a record deal with Philips, which would see them record two or three singles, plus an E.P., and then disband. Vince Lovegrove would go on to manage the ever popular Divinyls, while Bon Scott would join Adelaide outfit, Fraternity, who recorded in their own studios in the Adelaide hills. Again the total output would be 3 or 4 singles and 2 albums, which are highly sought after by collectors.

After Fraternity disbanded, another band was happening, waiting for Bon Scott to take hold of the reins and rock hard. Their first lead singer was Dave Evans, who lent his vocals to the track “Can I Sit next To You Girl.” Evans was soon replaced with the legendary Bon Scott, who would re-record the Dave Evans track, making it his own. Bon would go on to leave his mark in rock history with many great hits and albums under his belt, until his sad death on the Feb, 19, 1980. The band almost folded, but kept going for Bon’s sake, and recruited Brian Johnson, who remains as lead singer to this day.

Another great export to the world is the Sydney band, The Church, featuring lead singer, Steve Kilbey. They first came to prominence after recording a 4 track demo and scoring a record deal with EMI records, with such favourites as “The Unguarded Moment,” and their classic first album,” Of Skins And Heart.” They had great success with their singles and albums souring high in the world charts.

Furthermore, another legendary band, The Divinyls would cement themselves in the music world, when Chrysalis records signed them. Founding members Christina Amphlett, (cousin of Little Pattie), and Mark Mcentee, would recruit players Jeremy Paul (ex-Air Supply), Rick Grossman (Matt Finish) among others. They were very big on the US touring circuit, with their albums, “Desperate,” What a Life” and “Temperamental” and remain personal favourites to this day. Chrissie hasn’t been well lately; having being diagnosed with MS. Former guitarist Mark Mcentee has been living in Perth, W.A.managing a clothing shop with his girlfriend.

Speaking of bands that got their start in Perth, before moving to the big smoke (Melbourne), INXS started out as the Farris Brothers, playing around the pubs and clubs of Perth, before relocating to Melbourne and teaming up with a very young Michael Hutchence, Kirk Pengily, and Gary Beers to become the explosive force known as INXS. Their first track, recorded for the small “Deluxe” label, was a cover version of Aussie band, the Loved Ones, track called “The Loved One.” Another 3 or 4 singles followed before they signed up to the giant WEA music group, which would launch them to the world stage with INXS becoming popular both with FM programmers and also a top billing stage act in their own right.

On the political fence sat one Peter Garrett, who would incorporate his political views in the music that was Midnight Oil. The group were playing pubs and clubs before signing up to Powder Works label, before moving to CBS records with such political motivated songs like “U.S. Forces” and “Blue Sky Mining.” At the present moment Garrett is heavily involved in the political arena, with his musical contributions firmly embedded in music history.

The ever popular Men at Work struck gold with their first self-titled album,” Men at Work.” The album would contain the now anathematic track “Down Under” which has become world famous because of its association with the “Americas Cup.” Enough said.

Nick Cave would leave his mark in music history, firstly with the Birthday Party, the Bad Seeds and a great duet with Kylie Minogue “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” a song reminiscent of the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood duets of the sixties. His most memorable album is Murder Ballads.

In closing, there are many Australian bands making their mark, not only on Australian shores, but they’re being heard and appreciated by the music fans, Worldwide. Australia stand up and be counted.

This Date In Music History-October 11


Daryl Hall - Hall & Oates (1946)

Andrew Woolfolk - Earth Wind and Fire (1950)

Blair Cunningham, a drummer for Paul McCartney/Haircut 100 (1957)

Scott Johnson - Gin Blossoms (1962)

They Are Missed:

Probably the most popular French singer ever, Edith Piaf (real name Edith Giovanna Gassion) died in Paris, France in 1963.

Born today, Dottie West , country music singer, and was one of country music's most influential and groundbreaking female artists. (October 11, 1932 – September 4, 1991)

Buffalo Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer died of a heart attack in 2004 (age 58). Palmer and Neil Young left Ontario for Los Angeles in 1966. There they join guitarist Stephen Stills, drummer Dewey Martin and singer Richie Furay to form Buffalo Springfield.


Aretha Franklin made her New York debut as a pop singer, appearing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village in 1960.

The Highwaymen were at #1 (for two weeks) on the US singles chart with "Michael," a song that also peaked at #1 in the UK. The Highwaymen were US college students who broke up when they graduated.

In 1962, the Beatles made their first appearance on the UK singles chart with the cut "Love Me Do," which peaked at #4 on the chart. Beatlemania had begun.

The Beatles released the single, "Roll Over Beethoven" in 1965, it peaked at #68 on the Billboard Singles chart.

In 1965, saucy-songstress Marianne Faithfull recorded a version of "Yesterday" at London's Decca Studios. During the session, the composer, Paul McCartney, stopped by for a visit.

Another gold record for Aretha Franklin. Her seventh is her recording of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "I Say a Little Prayer," which was released in 1968.

Also in 1968, during a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road six saxophonists recorded parts for "Savoy Truffle" for the forthcoming White Album. George Harrison distorted the saxophones to get the desired sound.

Bluesman Muddy Waters was seriously injured and three other people killed in a car crash near Chicago in 1969.

Grand Funk Railroad's debut LP, On Time, entered the chart in 1969 at #65, much to chagrin of rock critics, who launch an all-out assault on the group. Grand Funk Railroad will be among the best selling acts in rock history.

The #1 album in America today in 1969 was Creedence Clearwater Revival's Green River.

In 1975, the seminal comedy sketch progam "Saturday Night Live" was broadcast for the first time with George Carlin as the guest host. The musical guests on the first show were Janis Ian and Billy Preston. The show really takes off the following week when it highlighted by the reunion of host Paul Simon with his former partner, Art Garfunkel. The show has become one of the most popular live venues for musicians and artists, with some very memorable and historic performances.

Neil Sedaka started a three week run at #1 in 1975 with the song "Bad Blood," his third #1 (featuring Elton John on backing vocals).

"We Built This City," by Starship -- formerly Jefferson Starship, and Jefferson Airplane before that -- rockets to #1 in 1985. It is the first of three chart-toppers from the Starship. The others: "Sara" (1986) and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (1987

In 1986, Janet Jackson started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart with "When I Think Of You," her first US #1 hit.

Drummer Dave Grohl played his first gig with Nirvana when they appeared at the North Shore Surf Club in Olympia in 1990.

In 1995, Tupac Shakur was released from Clinton Correctional Prison on $1.4 Million bail which was posted by Suge Knight. In return 2Pac signed a three album deal with Knight's Death Row Records.

In 1997, Elton John went to #1 on the US singles chart with "Candle In The Wind 97," a re-write of his 1974 hit about Marilyn Monroe. This version was raising funds for the Diana, Princess of Wales charity, following her death in Paris. It went on to become the biggest selling single in the world ever.

In 2003, Mojo magazine readers voted the studio session for Elvis Presley's debut single 'That's All Right' the most pivotal moment in rock history. Bob Dylan's switch from acoustic to electric guitars in 1965 came second, and 'White Riot, the debut single by The Clash released in 1977 was voted third. What about the Beatles' Ed Sullivan gig?

In 2005, current and/or former members of AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Institute, Helmet, KISS, Judas Priest, Whitesnake and Dio contribute to the 11-track "Numbers From the Beast: An All-Star Salute To Iron Maiden." The set even features original Maiden singer Paul Di'Anno.