The Easybeats’ Stevie Wright was born on 20th December and was a massive star in Sixties Australia. Just one news story about The Easybeats would make the front cover of Go-Set in the Sixties and he was mobbed by young women, as The Beatles were mobbed in London. They called them The Easys and Wright had a gift for projecting happy-go-lucky, easy charm. Wright was British and his Beatle DNA is obvious in all the old clips, but The Easybeats’ sound was raw and powerful. Bruce Springsteen would later cover Friday On My Mind. The song reached Number One in Australia and Number Six in Great Britain. Wright’s energy had a lot do with it.
David Bowie and The Easybeats
Later on he would make headlines as an addict, but Stevie Wright has been a massive influence on musicians and been widely covered. In a song that lasted around three minutes (Friday on My Mind), Wright and the Easybeats found a song David Bowie wanted to sing too – and summed up an Australian working class attitude that Jimmy Barnes would attempt with Working Class Man, years later.
Stevie Wright Tributes
Stevie Wright and The Easybeats continue to inspire cover versions and tributes. Easy Fever in December 2017, Australia, is just one example. Something about Wright still speaks to singers and musicians today, beyond David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen who delighted Sydney audiences with his version of Friday.
Wright was a fascinating frontman who also took to the stage in Jesus Christ Superstar. Not the average rocker. Steve Hoffman’s website is an excellent Wright resource about this period.
I’ll Make You Happy
I’ll Make You Happy is just one Easybeats classic which put Australian music on the Sixties international hipster map. It stands the test of time, as does The Divinyls’ blistering cover version which Chrissy Amphlett made her own.
I Give You Love
The Easybeats wrote as they spoke. They created three-minute poems about Australian life in the Sixties which Stevie Wright drilled into the camera, then onto the transistor radios of the time. He was Australia’s first international star. Happy Birthday Stevie.
Watching The Go-Betweens on Rage has been a rite of passage for Australians for years, no matter if it’s a vintage clip for Spring Rain or Streets of Your Town. There are two clips for the latter; one directed by Kriv Stenders capturing the places The Go-Betweens lived in, and played in.
“Whenever I hear Streets of Your Town, it’s the images from this video that play in my head – slabs of bright blue sky behind terrace houses, telephone lines, clock towers, apartment blocks and train stations. There are glimpses of the Sydney harbour bridge, overhead tram lines in Melbourne and buildings in central Brisbane. And lots of sun glittering on water.”
Streets of Your Town
The song was included on an iPod given to Barack Obama by former PM Julia Gillard. Taken from 16 Lovers Lane, it appeared in U2’s set list at the Brisbane concert during their Vertigo World Tour in dedication to Grant McLennan.
The 16mm Steenbeck Clip
Kriv Stenders has a YouTube channel showing this and other work, including the film Red Dog. His work for The Go-Betweens on Rage sits alongside a second clip, commissioned by the record company.
“This was one my first ever music videos. I made it with Antony Clare, a friend from Brisbane and the idea was based on the photographic style of one his short films from art college. We shot this in my last year at film school and I remember we travelled by car from Brisbane, to Sydney and then Melbourne filming various members of the band in their favourite parts of each city. We were completely exhausted at the end of it all. It was shot on old 16mm reversal film and edited by hand on a Steenbeck by Annette Davey who is now an established feature film editor in New York…”
Rage has a tradition of asking musicians to guest-program the show, and on Saturday 8th May 1999, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan sat in a hotel room and did just that.
Thanks to Golden Daze at YouTube for uploading clips from the program including the introduction by Robert and Grant, here. The Go-Betweens would program Rage again, with Amanda Brown and Lindy Morrison, almost two decades later.
Chase the Dragon – Beasts of Bourbon
Robert programs The Beasts of Bourbon’s Chase the Dragon much to Grant’s amusement. You can see the song here.
The Go-Betweens on Rage – programming the Beasts of Bourbon.
Sexy Boy by Air
Raining Pleasure by The Triffids
Grant McLennan introduces one of his favourite tracks here, commenting: “One of the most beautiful songs about desire and longing that I’ve ever heard. And I’m going to miss – like we all should – David McComb.”
The Forster/McLennan Playlist
You can download the whole Go-Betweens Rage program, above, on the ABC-TV website. This is the playlist from Saturday 8th May, 1999 (below).
Sexy Boy – Air Virgin Hand In Your Head – Money Mark Polydor Music Sounds Better With You – Stardust Virgin
Be My Baby – Ronettes, The EMI In The Flesh – Blondie EMI Only Love Can Break Your Heart – St. Etienne Warner Chase The Dragon – Beasts Of Bourbon Polydor Jimmy Rogers – Fur Shock White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane Universal (MCA) Long May You Run – Neil Young Warner
Some Kinda Angel – Mojave 3 Shock Bathtime – Tindersticks Mercury In The Neighbourhood – Tom Waits Mercury The More You Ignore Me – Morrissey EMI Sorrow – David Bowie EMI So Young – Suede Sony What Presence – Orange Juice Independent Raining Pleasure – Triffids, The Festival Las Vegas – Underground Lovers Polydor
Rachael’s Coming Home – Russell Morris Festival Remedy – Black Crowes, The Sony Summer Here Kids – Grandaddy V2 Goddess On A Hiway – Mercury Rev V2 Bobby Peru – Luna Shock Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan Sony
The Model – Kraftwerk Independent Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush EMI Slave To The Rhythm – Grace Jones EMI Ray Of Light – Madonna Warner I Love The Nightlife – Alicia Bridges Polydor Trash – Suede Sony
I Love Women – Lou Reed BMG Baby Stones – Robert Forster Universal (MCA) Someone, Somewhere – Wannadies, The BMG There She Goes – La’s, The Polydor Friday I’m In Love – Cure, The Warner Public Image – P.I.L. Virgin The Lights Are Changing – Mary Lou Lord Sony Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft – Carpenters, The Polydor
Cloudbusting – Kate Bush EMI Soon – My Bloody Valentine Shock Ohio River Boat Song – Palace Brothers Shock Cattle And Cane – Go-Betweens, The Universal (MCA) Bachelor Kisses – Go-Betweens, The Warner Spring Rain – Go-Betweens, The Polydor Head Full Of Steam – Go-Betweens, The Universal (MCA)
Right Here – Go-Betweens, The BMG Bye Bye Pride – Go-Betweens, The Polydor Streets Of Your Town – Go-Betweens, The Universal (MCA) Was There Anything I Could Do – Go-Betweens, The Universal (MCA) Cryin’ Love – Robert Forster Shock Surround Me – G.W. McLennan BMG Simone & Perry – Grant McLennan Shock Don’t Blame The Beam – F.O.C. Polydor
If You Want Release – F.O.C. Universal (MCA) Already Gone – Powderfinger Polydor Don’t Wanna Be Left Out – Powderfinger Polydor Good Day Ray – Powderfinger Polydor The Day You Come – Powderfinger – Live On Recovery Polydor JC – Powderfinger – Live on Recovery Polydor D.A.F. – Powderfinger Polydor Pick You – Powderfinger Polydor
50. Westside – TQ Sony
49. Millennium – Robbie Williams EMI
48. How Do I Deal With Love – Jennifer Love Hewitt Warner
47. Say It Once – Ultra Warner
46. Every You, Every Me – Placebo Virgin
45. Zorba’s Dance – LCD Virgin
43. Stay The Same – Joey McIntyre Sony
42. Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill Sony
41. It’s Our Time – Ilanda Shock
40. Praise You – Fatboy Slim Sony
39. All Torn Down – Living End, The EMI
38. 9pm (‘Til I Come) – ATB MDS
37. Right Here, Right Now – Fatboy Slim Sony
36. Last To Know – Human Nature Sony
35. End Of The Line – Honeyz Mercury
34. Put Your Hands Up – Black && White Brothers Central Station
33. Girlfriend/Boyfriend – Blackstreet featuring Janet Jackson Universal (MCA)
32. Enjoy Yourself – A+ Universal (MCA)
31. Smile & Shine – Pandora Universal (MCA)
30. Lullaby – Shawn Mullins Sony
29. Stand By Me – 4 The Cause BMG
28. Save Tonight – Eagle-Eye Cherry Polydor
25. Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin Sony
24. You Don’t Know Me – Armand Van Helden Polydor
23. Tearin’ Up My Heart – N’Sync BMG
22. Have You Ever? – Brandy Warner
21. Angel Of Mine – Monica BMG
20. How Deep Is Your Love – Dru Hill Mercury
19. This Kiss – Faith Hill Warner
18. Protect Your Mind – DJ Sakin && Friends Central Station
17. Every Morning – Sugar Ray Warner
16. Thank Abba For The Music – Steps, Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*Witched & Billie Sony
15. Anthem For The Year 2000 – silverchair Murmur
13. You Get What You Give – New Radicals Universal (MCA)
12. No Matter What – Boyzone Polydor
11. Strong Enough – Cher Warner
10. Honey To The Bee – Billie Virgin
9. Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz Virgin
8. Until The Time Is Through – Five BMG
7. Touch It – Monifah Universal (MCA)
6. That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain Mercury
5. The Animal Song – Savage Garden Roadshow
4. Baby One More Time – Britney Spears Mushroom
3. Why Don’t You Get A Job? – The Offspring Sony
2. We Like To Party – Vengaboys Central Station
1. No Scrubs – TLC BMG
Amanda Brown and Lindy Morrison
Amanda Brown and Lindy Morrison programmed Rage 18 years later, as The Go-Betweens Right Here documentary launched in Sydney, in the wake of Robert Forster’s autobiography, Grant and I (Penguin).