Category Music

The Big Beat – the soundtrack

The soundtrack to the book of the magazine. One song from each issue of Roadrunner magazine, as featured in the book, The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through the pages of Roadrunner magazine (Roadrunnertwice, 2019).

Roadrunner singles 1978-83

A playlist of singles reviewed in The Big Beat: rock music in Australia 1978-83, through the pages of Roadrunner magazine. The playlist, first published a year ago on this site—and updated in the past few weeks with new tracks added to Spotify in the past 12 months—contains 583 songs and runs for 35 hours and 17 minutes. The Roadrunner years were a golden age for the single and The Big

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The Big Beat—ask a librarian

The Big Beat is on track to sell out. If you haven’t got a copy yet, there are still a few in store at these shops. Once these are gone, the only way you’ll be able to have a look at one will be at your local library. The following libraries have a copy. Australian Capital Territory: National Library of Australia; National Film and Sound Archive; National Museum of Australia Research

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1970: Goodbye Beatles. And so long Janis, Jimi and Jim.

1970 saw the end of many things. The sixties of course. But also The Beatles, who announced their split in April. And Jim Morrison of The Doors, who was found dead in his bathtub in Paris, France on 3 July. Although accounts about the precise circumstances vary, it is generally agreed that he suffered a heart attack after taking heroin. And Jimi Hendrix, who was found unresponsive by his girlfriend

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1969: Armstrong, Biafra, ‘Hair’, Stonewall, ‘Tommy’ and Woodstock

I’ve been having fun pottering around in 1969 to put together the Spotify playlist below. It’s the fourth in my ‘Back to Schooldays’ series and again a roughly chronological selection of singles that charted on Australian radio stations (in this case, 2UW Sydney, 3UZ Melbourne, 4BC Brisbane, 4IP Ipswich and 6PR Perth) sprinkled with a smattering of significant album tracks. The soundtrack to my fourth year at Whyalla Technical High

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The Big Beat: going, going …

Just over fifteen months since kicking off this exercise in self-publishing, and after a steep learning curve but a lot of fun along the way, it feels like I’m entering the home straight. From the print run of 525, four hundred and sixty-five copies of The Big Beat have been sold and (10 November update) there are just 8 out on consignment. Some outlets have bought stock outright and may also

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1968: From ‘Voodoo Chile’ to ‘Goody Goody Gumdrops’

I think the Spotify playlist below does a pretty good job of capturing the swirling crosscurrents of the Australian airwaves in 1968. From the psychedelic soul blues of ‘Voodoo Chile’ to the frothy bubble of ‘Goody Goody Gumdrops’—via country, Motown, soul, blues, sunshine pop, California harmonies, folk, British invasion groups, the ‘underground’ sound and a myriad of other styles and sub-styles—it was a year in which the musical spectrum really

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Andrew ‘Greedy’ Smith: It’s just too sad

Losing Greedy Smith this year was a big shock. A shock that reverberated through the Australian music community. A shock that reminded everyone from the late 70s/early 80s glory years of Australian rock of their own mortality. If Greedy has gone, who’s next? It’s enough to send a shiver down your spine. The massive turnout at the Macquarie Park crematorium on 9 December to celebrate Greedy’s life was testament to

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The Band

The first time I saw Martin Armiger was onstage at Meadows Technicolour Fair on Saturday 29 January 1972. Meadows, on the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide was South Australia’s second pop festival, after 1971’s Myponga, and Martin’s band Toads, Nightly opened the event. Martin moved to Melbourne shortly afterwards and fell fruitfully into the Carlton band, drama and poetry scene captured so vividly in Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip. The first

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The Big Beat: When Sydney Rocked — 1978-1983

The third of the Q&A and book signings to celebrate the release of The Big Beat took place in the heart of the city at Title Barangaroo in Sydney on 21 November 2019. Over a hundred movers and groovers gathered to hear moderator Mark Dodshon skilfully guide the panel of Buzz Bidstrup (ex-Angels and GANGgajang), Peter Oxley (Sunnyboys, Shy Impostors and The Aints) and author Donald Robertson through their memories

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How Roadrunner recorded our noisy history

By Nathan Davies SA Weekend magazine, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 4 October 2019 To flick through the pages of The Big Beat – a bound collection of rock magazine Roadrunner – is to be transported to an Adelaide that no longer exists. An Adelaide of smoke-filled, sticky-floored band rooms still a decade or two from being transformed into soulless pokie dens. An Adelaide of photocopied band flyers sticky taped to Stobie

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Four dudes banging on about The Big Beat at Readings in St Kilda

There was a lot of love in the room for Roadrunner magazine and its anthology The Big Beat at Readings book store in St Kilda last night. A crowd of around fifty gathered to hear Pierre Sutcliffe (ex-Models) lead Phill Calvert (ex-Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party), John Dowler (Young Modern) and myself discuss the Australian post-punk scene and the role that Roadrunner played in it. Among the former contributors in

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The Big Beat—reviews and reactions

The reviews are coming in. And people seem to like the book. Print reviews ‘Roadrunner was the Chrysler of the Big 3 R rock magazines in Australia at the turn into the 1980s, trailing the GM and Ford of RAM and Rolling Stone, and like the Hemi-powered Plymouths and Dodges, it was wild and untamed, and it’s a blessing that there’s now a permanent record of it, all 500 pages of it and bound

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The Big Beat comes back to Adelaide

Around eighty people gathered at The Howling Owl in Adelaide’s East End last night to celebrate the release of the Roadrunner magazine anthology, The Big Beat. Deftly marshalled by ABC Radio Adelaide producer Suzy Ramone, a panel of Dr Collette Snowden, singer and songwriter John Schumann and myself was invited to ruminate and reminisce about the South Australian music scene and the impact of Roadrunner in the post-punk period of

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The Big Beat—where can you get it?

UPDATE: 10 November 2020. Just eight copies left in stores! In October 2019, I published The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through the pages of  Roadrunner magazine. The hardcover book is a 544 page anthology of articles from the magazine, together with a year-by-year history and full index. Featured artists include: The Angels, Australian Crawl, Boys Next Door (and the Birthday Party), The Church, Cold Chisel, The Dagoes,

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