Chartbusters

What's hot

The Big Beat—ask a librarian

The following Australian libraries have a copy of The Big Beat. Australian Capital Territory: National Library of Australia; National Film and Sound Archive; National Museum of…

Continue reading...

In Search of John Maclean—part 1

Scotland has had few men whose names Matter—or should matter—to intelligent people, But of these MacLean, next to Burns, was the greatest. —Hugh MacDiarmid, ‘Krassivy,…

Continue reading...

Australian Rock: The Early Eighties

As the '80s began, the Australian pub rock boom was in overdrive. The new 'door deal' system had increased band receipts enormously and had given…

Continue reading...

Articles and posts

A selection of published and previously unpublished works

Australian Rock: The Late Sixties

From the peak of Friday On My Mind’s world-wide success for the Easybeats in late 1966 and early 1967, the story of Australian rock’s attempts to capture a world audience in the rest of the decade is rather a sad and sorry one. Group after group rose to prominence in Australia and entered the annual Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. Those that didn’t win either broke up or rethought their

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Early Sixties

As the sixties dawned the prospects for Australian rock seemed bright. Johnny O’Keefe, the undisputed leader of the rock pack, was hurriedly preparing for his first American promotional trip. The first crop of Australian rock singers and groups were revelling in the exposure provided by the new TV rock shows like Six O’Clock Rock and Bandstand and the newly introduced Top 40 radio was playing their records. When O’Keefe hit

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Fifties

‘The public for pop in the years 1954 to 1964 created a new social order which changed the fabric of life and the course of the century … ‘It was not merely a case of roll over Beethoven, more the almost entire rejection of an inheritance of style, taste, manners, behaviour and ethics in the pursuit of change.’ — Bob Rogers with Denis O’Brien, Rock ‘n’ Roll Australia — the

Continue reading…

Quietly Confident: Republic of Australia

The clip for Quietly Confident’s one and only single. Republic of Australia (1983). Featuring lead vocalist Len Lindon; vocalists Larry Buttrose and Mark Conway; Russell Handley on the ( )ASIO keyboards; and backing vocals from Mandy and Melanie Salomon.  Quietly Confident was the alternative cabaret act I managed in the period when I left Adelaide and moved to Sydney (1982-83). The track was recorded at Basilisk Studios in Hurstville, Sydney, Martin

Continue reading…

No Fixed Address: young, black and proud

At the time of this Roadrunner cover story from August 1980, I thought No Fixed Address was the most important new band in the country. A bunch of young Aboriginal musicians at the South Australian Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music, bouncing around Adelaide from gig to gig, they were about to start filming a movie, Wrong Side of the Road, loosely based on their lives and experiences and songs from

Continue reading…

Russell Handley (1953-1985)

When Russell Handley, my deputy editor at Countdown Magazine, died at Easter 1985, I wrote the following obituary. Countdown Magazine‘s publisher declined to publish it, preferring a brief notice, so here it is for the first time. Although always camera-shy while working on the magazine (he claimed he didn’t want little girls to recognise him and kick him in the shins after he made a cutting aside about Prince or Duran

Continue reading…

Hoodoo Gurus In The Land Beyond Beyond

Russell Handley always wanted to start a story with ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. At Countdown Magazine, I granted his wish. All photos by John Webber (September 1984 issue).

Stranglers in strife: the 1979 Australian tour

Brian Johnstone, one of my oldest and dearest friends, passed away in Adelaide in January 2015 after a long battle with cancer. We met in Adelaide in the late 70s, in the early days of Roadrunner, were housemates for awhile and he wrote a few pieces for the mag, including this entertaining account of the media shenanigans surrounding the Stranglers tour which was the cover story in the March 1979

Continue reading…

Brian Johnstone (1950-2015)

Eulogy delivered at Brian Johnstone’s funeral, 4 February 2015, Norwood, South Australia. My name is Donald Robertson and Brian was my friend. Our friendship went back nearly forty years and actually started less than a mile south of here, in Donegal St, Norwood. It was the late 70s. I’d come back from two and a half years in the U.K. with a rabid enthusiasm for punk rock and new wave

Continue reading…