Tag Archives: Countdown

George Young – the AC/DC Map

GEORGE YOUNG

Vale George Young. The passing of the genius behind The Easybeats and a key member of the Young dynasty has generated new interest in AC/DC, the Young brothers and their huge influence on Australia.

THE AC/DC MAP

If you’re visiting Fremantle, Melbourne or Sydney and want to go on a Bon Scott and Angus Young pilgrimage, here are the sacred sites. On the AC/DC Map of Australia, Melbourne has to come first. Why? The band lived there. And Countdown made them famous there – mainly because Bon Scott put on a school uniform too.

 

Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).
Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).

AC/DC IN ELSTERNWICK, MELBOURNE

Bon Scott immortalised himself and the band filming Countdown  for ABC-TV. These images are from Twitter #ClassicCountdown.  Sarah Clarke @ACSarahAC is the source for the 1985 Countdown studio audience pass.  Sadly the famous studio has now been sold to a supermarket. And by 1985 AC/DC had become world superstars.

 

Sarah Clarke on Twitter @ACSarahAC Bon Scott on Countdown Bon Scott Countdown II

The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).
The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).

 MELBOURNE – ST KILDA

6 Lansdowne Road, East St Kilda.  Demolished and replaced (like most of Melbourne music history) but nevertheless, nominated by music magazine Mojo as a contender for music history’s “vilest den of depravity”. There is also a free app if you are interested – put together by Australian music historian Bruce Milne and Music Victoria.

The St. Kilda Kitchen

It wasn’t all depravity, though. Sometimes there was cake. Trudy Worme’s mum used to drop her off at 6 Lansdowne Road on Sunday afternoons so she could cook dinner for them. She also baked Angus his favourite chocolate cakes. That definitely puts her on the AC/DC Map.

 AC/DC Lane

The visuals in AC/DC Lane (off Flinders Lane, Melbourne and the home of the ‘musicians’ music venue’ Cherry Bar) change all the time.  Even if you’ve been here before, it won’t look the same. AC/DC Lane was the result of lobbying by Music Victoria’s Patrick Donovan (then a journalist with The Age) and James Young, who runs Cherry Bar. 

This part of Melbourne is associated with Bon Scott (far right, with hippie band Fraternity) in particular. This is where he lost his flares, found his tight jeans and discovered his voice. You can walk from AC/DC Lane to Swanston Street and see the trail Bon and the band followed for It’s A Long Way to the Top. 

 

Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.
Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.

The Hard Rock Cafe

The original Hard Rock Cafe was created by former AC/DC manager Michael Browning from the remains of Bertie’s, formerly Victoria and Albert. This is where AC/DC played for $1 and Angus Young fell on the floor and accidentally invented his ‘dying insect’ pose. It stood at 1 Spring Street.

The Australian Music Vault

The Hard Rock Cafe of Seventies legend at 1 Spring Street has now been swallowed up by the corporate towers of Shell (below).  If you want to get a feeling for not only AC/DC, but also Melbourne music history though – the place which formed the sound – The Australian Music Vault in The Arts Centre Melbourne (opened December 2017) is a good place to start. Bon’s leather jacket is archived there.

 

The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon's jacket.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon’s jacket.

 

SYDNEY – THE YOUNGS’ HOME

4 Burleigh Street, Burwood was once home to George, Malcolm and Angus Young. George went on to form The Easybeats and Malcolm and Angus went on to form AC/DC. Burwood is less well-known than AC/DC Lane in Melbourne or Bon Scott’s memorial in Fremantle, but it’s a highlight of the AC/DC Map in New South Wales.

Purchased in 1965 by the Youngs’ father, a migrant from Scotland the house at 4 Burleigh Street was home, after the family left Villawood Migrants’ Hostel. The house dates from 1906. Historian Glenn A. Baker successfully lobbied for its preservation (among with other Australian music landmarks) some years ago.

The National Trust included this house on the National Trust Register in July 2013, saving it for Australia.

FREMANTLE – BON’S GRAVE

You can pay your respects at Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle, Western Australia. There is a walking trail with QR code available.  In 2006 the grave was listed by the National Trust and given heritage status.

On 19 February 1980 Bon tragically died outside 67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich in London. There is no plaque there, despite a petition by fans – but Bon’s memorial in Fremantle is one of the National Trust’s most visited Australian sites. There is also a  statue.

 

The AC/DC Map of Australia begins in Melbourne with the site of the old Hard Rock Cafe at 1 Spring Street (below) and stretches as far as Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle. Images: Pinterest/Twitter

 

.ACDC 1 Spring St BON SCOTT GATE FREMANTLE 6LansdowneRdCirca75 ACDCINMELBOURNE DOT BLOGSPOT DOt COM DOt AU BON SCOTT GRAVE FREMANTLE CEMETERY BON SCOTT GATE 4 Burleigh St Pinterest Fremantle Cemetery Heritage Walk Trail PLAQUE DEMOLISHED 2001 Young House Burwood State Library NSW Stephen Thomas ACDC LANE

 

 

SONGS – The Real Thing

Classic Songs – The Real Thing

Before Countdown in Australia, there was Go-Set magazine in the 1960s, where Australian music, fashion and media exploded and would later evolve into Countdown culture – and eventually The Voice. The Real Thing in various incarnations  has survived from the 70s to today, throughout. Bill Armstrong was running his legendary Melbourne studios where Meldrum and Morris created their hippy anthem. This YouTube clip, below, tells Armstrong’s side of the story.

The Real Thing at Armstrong Studios Melbourne
The Real Thing at Armstrong Studios Melbourne

THE AUSTRALIAN HIPPY ANTHEM
The song be associated with Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum who developed his taste in music during the hippy psychedelic era in Melbourne, while working at Go-Set. It was composed by Johnny Young, later known for hosting Young Talent Time. 

Are you a hippy, Go-Set asked? The Real Thing is a hippy classic.
Are you a hippy, Go-Set asked? The Real Thing is a hippy classic.

RUSSELL MORRIS AND IAN MELDRUM
This is Ian (below)  and the earliest video we have of him, talking about the Australian music industry at an airport – his virtual home, in the early 1970’s.

This clip from the ABC-TV series GTK reveals Ian discussing Daddy Cool and The Mixtures in 1971 – when he worked as a manager, record producer and a Go-Set columnist writing what the interviewer calls a ‘stirring’ column.

‘Even my best friends, including myself, are rubbished in that column,’ Ian says. In this clip he also talks about his work on the Australian hit, The Real Thing, by Russell Morris: ’When I got back from London in 1968 I was ready to tackle something like Russell Morris and the Real Thing. I don’t think Russell and I were a good artist-manager team. We argued a lot. But I think that we both benefitted from it.’

GTK – Molly Meldrum on the Australian pop scene (1971)

THE SONG THAT EMI HATED

Russell Morris, speaking to Carol Duncan in a fascinating interview at ABC Radio Newcastle, recalls:

“I remember when we first started in Melbourne, Ian Meldrum said to me, “We’ll go and see Stan Rofe at 3AW.” Stan Rofe was a big star to me, he was on air and I’d heard him on the radio station and I said, “Well how are we going to do that?” and he said, “We’ll just go up to the radio station!”

“So we went up to the radio station and walked in and Stan came down and had a cup of tea with us. Ian said, “We’ve got this, what do you think?” and Stan said, ‘Love it, I’ll play it.’ And that’s what it was like.”

“I tell you what is ironic, The Real Thing was turned down as well. EMI hated it, they thought it was the biggest load of rubbish they’d ever heard.”

And on Molly: “He’s still my best mate but we’d had a couple of professional disagreements. He saw me as Australia’s Davey Jones from The Monkees or some such thing and I wanted to go in a different direction completely as a singer/songwriter so we differed on the way we were going and the record company was pressuring for another single, but I really would have loved to be with a  band like Chain.

“But your fate is your fate. Whatever happens, those doors open and close for a reason and maybe if I’d started it earlier then it wouldn’t have worked.”

“I was happy doing The Real Thing, I quite liked psychedelia. I didn’t like pop a lot but I remember Ian (Molly Meldrum) had done a number of songs with me and we’d done ‘Only A Matter of Time‘ which I absolutely loathe, it was on the back of The Real Thing, and a couple of pop songs and I said to Ian, ‘This is rubbish, we’re not going in the direction I want to go,’

I said, ‘I’m not John Farnham, I’m not Ronnie Burns and I’m not Normie Rowe. I want to do something that they wouldn’t even contemplate thinking about doing. I want to go in that direction. Let’s go psychedelia, let’s go into something more band oriented than a pop single…Ian, to his credit, agreed and said, ‘You’re right, they’re not different enough.”

Read more hereRussell Morris – even better than the real thing

Later on, the arrival of colour television was  Countdown’s ticket to huge ratings. Russell Morris had five Australian Top 10 singles during the late 1960s and early 1970s and is in the ARIA Hall of Fame.

See the YouTube footage – Russell Morris – The Real Thing – (includes a short interview from Hit Scene 1969).

 

Buy The Very Best of Russell Morris on iTunes.

TEN FACTS ABOUT THE REAL THING

  1. Midnight Oil, Kylie Minogue and Third Eye have all covered the song.
  2. The song satirises the 1967 Cola-Cola advertisement song claiming the drink is The Real Thing, as part of the ongoing corporate competition with Pepsi Cola.
  3. As with The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever, the song is built from composite parts. The musicians involved came from The Groop and The Zoot.
  4. Maureen Elkner provides the falsetto. She would later have a feminist hit with Rack Off Normie, written by Bob Hudson as an answering call to his own hit, The Newcastle Song.
  5. The heavily processed vocals include what sounds like Ian Meldrum ‘delivering a buyer-beware message to potential trippers.’
  6. The song’s climax contains a recording of the Hitler Youth choir singing their anthem, Horst Wessel Lied, before the sound of an atomic bomb blast.
  7. It was recorded at Armstrong’s Studios in South Melbourne in 1968.
  8. The sequel to The Real Thing is ‘Part Three: Into Paper Walls.
  9. The song was originally earmarked for The Flies.
  10. Johnny Young (real name John De Jong) wrote the song after sharing a flat in London with Barry Gibb from The Bee Gees. He went on to present and produce Young Talent Time which launched the career of Danni Minogue.

For more information, see Tomorrow Is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, Edited by Iain McIntyre. Purchase at Amazon.

The original jingle The Real Thing was recorded for radio by The Fortunes in the USA in 1969.

 

MIDNIGHT OIL COVER THE REAL THING

Filmed by BSharpProductions and uploaded to YouTube. This gig took place on September 8th 2007 when Midnight Oil played at the Backroom in Byron Bay. Peter Garrett dedicates the song to “all the Australian musicians, writers and poets.”

The Real Thing – Midnight Oil live at the Backroom Byron Bay

 

Buy The Real Thing by Midnight Oil at their website.

THE REAL THING IN JULY 2014

This is the most powerful modern incarnation of the song yet (at least since Kylie’s own version) from the Voice YouTube channel in July 2014. Here Kylie, the judges and the top sixteen contestants take Johnny Young’s composition and give it electrifying ensemble cast treatment.  Will the song be back in a new incarnation beyond 2020? The Real Thing is  one of the few Australian songs which has been revived from the Seventies through to the 21st century. Watch this space.

 

See more on YouTube from The Voice

Australian Music Video Collections

Australian music video clips are curated all the time by professional musicians guest-hosting on Rage, the country’s ABC-TV  long-standing  weekend  institution.

Access to 1970s and 1980s video archives from Countdown have given Rage an impressive library of video gold.

The Countdown map of Australia (ABC-TV)
The Countdown map of Australia (ABC-TV)


FROM MIX TAPES TO PLAYLISTS
Rage
has now inspired a spin-off genre – the Millennial equivalent of the Mix Tape from the Eighties – the  21st century Spotify and iTunes playlist. Many of these contain long-lost 20th century Australian music finds – rarities or one-hit wonders. There is more to Daddy Cool and Ross Wilson than Eagle Rock.

Ross Wilson from Daddy Cool on the cover of Go-Set.
Ross Wilson from Daddy Cool on the cover of Go-Set.

ROCKARENA AND SUZANNE DOWLING
There are many excellent sources for Australian music video on YouTube but one starting point is the ABC-TV series Rockarena, hosted by Suzanne Dowling – featured below on the cover of RAM.

 

Rockarena host Suzanne Dowling on the cover of RAM.
Rockarena host Suzanne Dowling on the cover of RAM.

 

THE PEOPLE’S PLAYLISTS
What about Australian music fans, though? How do they rate the nation’s best-loved tracks and the clips that go with them? Here are a couple to try.

Like the biro-scribbled cassette mix tapes of 30 years ago, they are the work of passionate fans, rather than professional programmers, but maybe that’s what makes them so interesting, if you want to uncover Australian albums and singles.

YouTube – The People’s Choice – Great Australian Playlists

HOME GROWN CLASSICS

AUSTRALIAN IPOD INSPIRATION

 

Collecting Australian Music

Naomi Dinnen's musical memories.
Naomi Dinnen’s musical memories.

Collecting Australian Music

Thanks to AC/DC but also obscure Australian artists like Leong Lau (his 1977 album is currently selling for $1574) the backstage passes, tickets, vinyl and other collectables from Down Under are now seen as a good investment.

Naomi Dinnen, part of whose personal collection was kindly  photographed by her for AMMP, had more than a decade in the music industry, successfully publishing an independent music magazine. She was a columnist for Rolling Stone, Drum Media, 3D World and Juice Magazines, worked for EMI Music and PolyGram Records.  Not everyone has a collection of laminates but they can and do turn up at street markets and garage sales – and on eBay.

 Collecting Go-Set Magazines

Go-Set magazines retail for around AUD$50 online. They are already preserved at The State Library of Victoria on film archives and at the National Film and Sound Archive. A copy of Go-Set bought in 1973 for 25 cents has increased in value 200 fold.

 

GERRY ON TV BILLY THORPE amazing_west_coast-lr_ruqkrmi

 

Collecting Nick Cave 

Nick Cave is one of the few Australian musicians to have crossed the threshold from ‘muso’ to sought-after museum, art gallery and library name. This famous photograph by Bleddyn Butcher (below) appeared in an exhibition on Australian Bohemia, presented at The State Library of Victoria.

Euchrid’s Crib, a gelatin silver photograph, taken in West Berlin on 3rd August 1985 captured Nick Cave when he was writing his novel And the Ass Saw the Angel  and Butcher’s title identifies the character from Cave’s book. This was both Cave’s  bedroom and study, complete with human hair.

When Australian musicians cross the line from gigs to galleries, libraries and museums, prices tend to rise accordingly.

This photograph of Nick Cave with Rowland S. Howard (and unfortunate cat) taken by Peter Milne was part of his superb Juvenilia exhibition at the Strange Neighbour gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Ballarat painter Casey Tosh captured Nick Cave in a portrait which has also found its way onto T-Shirts. He has also drawn Warren Ellis, a former Ballarat resident. The fact that Tosh has also created a whole laneway of street art dedicated to Rowland S. Howard in Ballarat may one day make his paintings and T-shirts collectable.

 

NICK BLEDDYN SHOT MILNE PHOTOS NICK CAVE BY CASEY TOSH WARREN ELIS BY CASEY TOSH

 

Paper Investments

What to watch for –
Australian magazines and street press that has a) vanished and b) escaped household recycling bins could be tomorrow’s Go-Set.

Bon Scott (seen here pointing to Juke magazine) has left a paper trail which is worth collecting.  On the Street, Drum Media and Ram are also worth watching out for.  Tony Mott, the Australian photographer who has exhibited widely and also produced a number of books, has helped to make what used to be free street press, collectable (below).

Australian music posters are best represented in Plastered  by Murray Walding with Nick Vukovic (The Miegunyah Press, 2005) which is now, by itself, a collectable book. The Hair and Masters Apprentices posters, here, are from Plastered.

 

HAIR AT METRO JUKE BON SCOTT SMASH HITS INXS IMG_5636 RAM JJB OTS OOO MOTT DIVINYLS

The Masters Apprentices at Parramatta Town Hall.
The Masters Apprentices at Parramatta Town Hall.

Vinyl Investments

 

A copy of the Masters Apprentices 1979 album Now That It’s Over signed by the late Jim Keays sells for $80 online. Meanwhile, the Taman Shud Evolution LP is valued at $150

Australian pressings of British punk singles and albums are worth watching. The Clash put out London Calling in a Down Under version in 1979 which is now worth $100.  Looking for an eclectic selection? Try Vicious Sloth. This online store is a good source.

From Radio Birdman/Iggy Pop cancelled tour posters to mint-condition box-sets you may find that your Australiana ends up becoming far more valuable than stamps or coins to collectors.

Most people know that The Beatles Yesterday and Today is worth a lot of money (about $995 as we head towards 2020).

 

Who knew that a Tasmanian Christian folk group called The Ascension Four would put out an album worth $65 today, though?

Age and obscurity are not always the keys to a good investment, though. Famous, recent names like Magic Dirt are worth watching. You can buy a poster advertising a gig with Magic Dirt and Rowland S. Howard at The Corner Hotel on 29th October 2008 for $124.99

The poster was free at the time. So was the poster advertising a Nick Cave story in The Monthly magazine – now worth $84.99.

Nick Cave posters are highly collectable.
Nick Cave posters are highly collectable.

 

Start Small or Start Big?

Start small or start big? You don’t have to have a huge outlay to start collecting and vinyl is easily stored and portable.

Artists within bands – who contributed to memorable sleeve art – include Mental As Anything. Vinyl singles with iconic Australiana may help you to up your investment one day. Try  the Mental as Anything ‘Creatures of Leisure’ single for $20.

Sometimes mysteries occur in the marketplace and That Rongeng Sound by Leong Lau is one of them. Asking price? $1574.62 online.

The Beatles in Australia

There are two redesigned Antipodean Beatles covers – Beatles for Sale (tour photographs) and With the Beatles.

An Australian promotional copy of The White Album on eBay is $6000. One of the reasons for this is the censored photograph of a naked John Lennon on the poster which came with the album.

What to Watch

Bands like The Sunnyboys who found their career revived with a television documentary are now seen as an investment. Their self-titled, limited-edition, yellow vinyl album is now $325.

The Sunnyboys on yellow vinyl $325.
The Sunnyboys on yellow vinyl $325.

Midnight Oil posters are worth a long look as the band’s touring exhibition  and its important place in Australian political history is bound to make them desirable to the investors of the future. Blank Canvas Australia sell this poster (from Noosa, below) for almost $250.  It’s also strange but true that a mere flier, from a band like INXS, is now worth $49.99 online.

It is worth trawling eBay, record collectors’ fairs, secondhand shops and open-air markets to see what you can find.

Should this single (below) turn up in a car-boot sale, though, you’d better snap it up. This is God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols on A&M Records and it’s currently worth $24,411.

Do you have a photograph of your Australian music memorabilia you’d like to share with AMMP? Please let us know. Thank you.

The Sex Pistols' famous single $24, 411
The Sex Pistols’ famous single $24, 411

 

 

This Oils poster is worth $249.99
This Oils poster is worth $249.99

INXS Flier 49 99

Collecting Australian music – this INXS flier measures up.

 

 

 

 

Australian Music Plaques

Australian Music Plaques

Australian music plaques are few and far between. Yet, Lygon Street in Melbourne would the  place for a plaque for  Shirley Strachan, who made certain parts of Melbourne his own, thanks to classic Skyhooks songs.

A Plaque For Countdown?

For a small industry, Australian music has achieved big things across the world. It has also lost a lot of people along the way.  Countdown alone, situated at the old ABC Studios in Ripponlea, might deserve the biggest plaque of all – so long is the roll-call of names. Doc Neeson is just one of them.

 

Doc Neeson
Doc Neeson

Unforgettable Names in Australian Music

 

This is just a small selection of the Australian musicians who you might think deserve a plaque. Even if, like Grant McLennan, they already have a bridge.

Doc Neeson and Chris Bailey, The Angels
Greg Ham, Men at Work
Michael Hutchence, Max Q, INXS
Chrissy Amphlett, Divinyls
Guy McDonough and Brad Robinson, Australian Crawl
James Freud, The Models
Steve Gilpin, Mi-Sex
Harvey James and Clive Shakespeare, Sherbet
Dallas Royall, Peter Wells, Ian Rilen, Mick Cocks
Lobby Loyde, Neil Smith, Rose Tattoo
Ted Mulry, The Ted Mulry Gang
Neil Storey, Paul Hewson and Marc Hunter, Dragon
Grant McLennan, The Go-Betweens
Tracey Pew, The Birthday Party

 Australian Music Plaques – one for Tracey Pew? (Pictured)

Tracey Pew, The Birthday Party.
Tracey Pew, The Birthday Party.

 

PAVEMENT TRIBUTES

Powderfinger are part of the Walk of Fame in Brisbane. Little Pattie and other surf icons are celebrated in the streets of Kings Cross outside a lost venue. Cold Chisel are also remembered in Kings Cross outside Sweethearts, which Don Walker made his own in the 1970s.

 

Little Pattie Kings Cross

Little Pattie Kings Cross

 

Sweethearts Plaque Kings Cross April 29 2014
Sweethearts Plaque Kings Cross April 29 2014
Beatles Plaques? Remembering the Australian Tour

 

Beatles Slept Here
Beatles Slept Here

The Beatles slept here. This Australian Women’s Weekly magazine article from 1964 celebrates the group’s stay at The Southern Cross Hotel. Worthy of a plaque? Or should it be outside Melbourne Town Hall, where the band once stopped traffic on Swanston Street? This is the piano Paul McCartney played on, below.

Melbourne Town Hall piano played by Sir Paul McCartney
Melbourne Town Hall piano played by Sir Paul McCartney
Elvis Costello Was Here – at Flinders Street Station
Elvis Costello I Wanna Be Loved Flinders St Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should Flinders Street Station, Melbourne receive a plaque for Elvis Costello, as the site for his famous video, I Wanna Be Loved? Or is it more appropriate that a digital plaque be created for Painters and Dockers, who commemorated the place in the classic song, The Boy Who Lost His Jocks on Flinders Street Station?

 

Mulry to Saddington – Gone, Not Forgotten

Let us know on Twitter who deserves a plaque in a place they called their own. Ted Mulry? Wendy Saddington?

TedMulryplaque

MarcHunterplaque

JohnnyRebbplaque

WendySaddington_blueplaque

LynneRandell_blueplaque