If you hit your teens in Australia in the late 1960s or early 1970s, you got to experience some of the best music on the planet.
The Australian music scene
Australia didn’t have much of its own music scene until the 1960s (although we aren’t discounting the influence of Johnny O’Keefe in the 1950s).
In the late 60s, with the burgeoning of the ‘teen’ culture that swept the western world, Australian bands like The Seekers and The Easybeats had international hits.
But it was in the 1970s that our rock bands and pop musicians came into their own.
In the early ‘70s, our soundtrack was Ariel, Daddy Cool, Tamam Shud, Max Merritt & the Meteors and, of course, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, who gave us one of our great ‘70s’ anthems, ‘Most people I know’.
Before ‘Countdown’, which first aired in 1974, Saturday nights for teens were often spent in someone’s ‘den’ or crammed together in a bedroom listening to the Top 40 on the radio and calling the radio station with requests. (I’m sure at least some of you can remember the thrill of hearing your name read out when your song was played.)
Countdown, which aired on Sunday evenings at 6 pm, changed that culture. Music became intertwined with the visual spectacle of bands performing ‘live’ in the studio. Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum’s knowledge of music and personal relationships with many of the artists gave a whole generation a new take on their favourite artists and bands.
By the mid ‘70s, the TV show had propelled the careers of iconic Australian bands like Sherbet, Skyhooks, Ted Mulry Gang, Marcia Hines, Olivia Newton-John, John(ny) Farnham, Mondo Rock, Men at Work, Icehouse and many others too numerous to list here.
The international influence
Australia might be at the bottom of the planet but thanks to ‘Countdown’ and the radio stations such as 2SM and later 2WS, Australian teens were rocking to everyone from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones to Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, T. Rex and The Jacksons, with The Hollies hanging on from the 1960s.
In 1971, Elton John gave us ‘Crocodile Rock’, Janis Joplin ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and Cat Stevens let us know ‘Morning Has Broken’. Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ was ubiquitous for at least a decade after its original release in late 1971. Cher gave us ‘Gypsies Tramps and Thieves’ and Don McLean delivered ‘American Pie’. We embraced them all.
The universal record collection
I remember visiting friends in the early 1970s and, until the advent of punk, being fairly confident that I’d find a selection of any of the following (depending on the gender of the friend).
- Tubular Bells: Mike Oldfield
- Tea for the Tillerman: Cat Stevens
- Aqualung (or Thick as a Brick): Jethro Tull
- Tapestry: Carole King
- Led Zeppelin III: Led Zeppelin
- Abraxas: Santana
- Paranoid: Black Sabbath
- Sweet Baby James: James Taylor
- Every Good Boy Deserves Favour: Moody Blues
- Bridge Over Troubled Water: Simon and Garfunkel
- The Best of Bread: Bread
- Hot August Night: Neil Diamond
- Something by Creedence
- A Stones album
- A Beatles album
- Alice’s Restaurant: Arlo Guthrie
- With a Little Help from my Friends: Joe Cocker
- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: Iron Butterfly
- Closer to Home: Grand Funk Railroad
- Wheels of Fire: Cream
- Last Exit: Traffic
- What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye
and others I’ve forgotten. I’m sure you can add to this list.
For all our love affair with overseas artists, many of whom toured Australia, it was the home-grown bands we kept in the charts. How else do you explain ‘The Pushbike Song’ by The Mixtures remaining in the Top 40 for 27 weeks? It was the song that wouldn’t go away.
Can we help with advice on downsizing in Sutherland Shire?
If you’ve read this far, then we’re guessing you’re thinking about retirement.
Having navigated the home sale and downsizing process not only for our real estate clients but also for members of our own family, it’s an area in which we’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge. So don’t hesitate to seek out our help – no obligations.
And if we’ve missed your favourite album from the early 70s, or one of the ones we listed was a favourite, let us know.