As the tributes to George flood in from around the world, Guns N’ Roses also honoured him with a song from his younger brother’s band at a recent show in Hartford, Connecticut.
“We’re gonna do this for a friend of ours, and um, were gonna dedicate it, to his brother. Who just passed away. So, this is for Angus Young, and this is dedicated to George Young who actually produced this song, in the day.”
Guns N’ Roses also paid respects on Twitter:
Whola Lotta Rosie goes out to Angus Young tonight in dedication to his brother George Young
After a hiatus from the Easybeats blog, I’m now back. As most of you already know by now, there’s been a few things going this year Easybeats related. Such as the reissue of the 1980 compilation album Absolute Anthology 1965 to 1969 on CD and digital (I got my hands on a copy today). The much-publicised production of the ABC-TV mini-series The Easybeats has been moving ahead and will be on Australian screens in the next coming months. I am preparing a review of the recent Anthology CD which should be up here soon.
Date: Unknown – filmed 15th June, 1968 at the Bratislava Song Festival. Program: Unknown. Station: Unknown, Czeckoslovak TV. Survival Status: Clips.
A Report From the Festival
“The Easybeats got a fine reception and opened with “Friday On My Mind” but some spoil sport had their amplification down at the mains switch. For the first number we got a virtual drum solo from Tony and a belting vocal from Stevie. This was remedied by the group who realised they were being done and turned up their amps for “Good Times.” With all the guitars a-go-go it was a first rate sound. The excellent Czechoslovakian orchestra was brought in to augment the group under the direction of Norrie Paramor and we got first class renditions of “What In The World,” “Hello How Are You” and “Sha La La” which Stevie managed to turn into a singalong. To their credit they seemed to please not only the young but also the adults who kept their places for once.” – New Musical Express, 22nd June, 1968.
Date: 27th August Program:Time For Blackburn. Station:ITV, London, UK. Survival Status:Unknown. Host: Tony Blackburn.
Date: 11th August Program: Unknown (Broadcast of the 2nd Yugoslav International Song Festival [1968 Spilt Festival]. Station: Unknown, Yugoslavia (Croatia). Survival Status: Unknown.
Date: 12th October Program:Beat Club. Station: ARD Radio Bremen, Bremen, Deutschland. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “Hello, How Are You”.
Date: 16th November Program:Beat Club. Station: ARD Radio Bremen, Bremen, Deutschland. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “Good Times”.
Date: Unknown – filmed mid 1969. Program: Was ist Beat? – Keine Musiksendung! Station: ARD, Germany. Survival Status: Survived.
The Easybeats featured in a segment (7:50 mins to 13:00 mins) on the German TV music program Was ist Beat? (What Is Beat?). The clip was filmed during one of their shows on their final European Tour.
Date: 10th/11th March Program: Unknown Station: Unknown, France. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “Friday On My Mind”.
Date: 15th March Program: Twien Station: Unknown, Holland. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “Friday On My Mind”.
Date: 18th May Program: The Don Lane Show. Station: TCN9, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown.
Date: July Program:Dim Dam Dom. Station: ORTF, Paris, France. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “Friday On My Mind” and “Heaven and Hell”.
Date: 5th August Program: Upbeat. Station: WEWS-TV, Clevland, Ohio, USA. Survival Status: Unknown. Songs performed: “Friday On My Mind” and “Heaven and Hell”.
Also appearing on the show: Janis Ian, Stevie Wonder, Jon & Robin and the In Crowd, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Gene Krupa.
Before the tour, the group video taped two performances for broadcast on the syndicated U.S. music program Upbeat. This would be the group’s only US TV appearance ever.
Introduced by host Don Webster as: “The Pride of Australia, singing their new hit single ‘Heaven’!” – the band lip-synced to the newly censored version of ‘Heaven and Hell’ and the current hit ‘Friday On My Mind’. The members of the group wore their matching black suits, except for Tony who wears a white t-shirt with a handkerchief. Stevie is so animated that the director gives up on close-ups and instead switches to long shots for the remainder of the performance.
Date: August Program: Unknown. Station: Unknown, Philadelphia, USA. Survival Status: Unknown.
An appearance on an unnamed program was mention by Mike Vaughan in a interview for Trouser Press Magazine in 1976.
“Garbage television. A guy in Philadelphia who got dressed up in a witch’s outfit. Nothing like “Bandstand” or “Upbeat”…”. – Mike Vaughan. Trouser Press. 1976.
Since the band left the U.S.A before Halloween – the show Vaughan may be referring to is Disc-O-Teen which was hosted by “The Cool Ghoul” John Zacherle. The show was broadcast on WNJU-TV out of the Channel 47 Studios
Newark, New Jersey.
Date: 13rd February Program: Ten At Ten Station: TEN-10, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: March or April Program: Club Seventeen Station: TVW-7, Perth, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: 3rd March Program: It’s All Happening Station: ATN-7, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: 9th March Program:Saturday Date Station: TCN-9, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Survived. Songs performed: “She’s So Fine”
The footage of this mimed performance has been used by Albert Productions as a promo video for “She’s So Fine”.
Released officially in Australia on the DVD set Bandstand Presents: The Easybeats Live In Australia.
Date: 14th March Program: Go!! Show Special – The First Australian Nation Record Awards. Melbourne, Myer Music Bowl Station: ATV-0, Melbourne, Australia. Survival Status: Program believed to be wiped. Audio survived.
A live broadcast of the awards show. All that survives from this show is the audio from the broadcast. ‘She’s So Fine (live)’ recorded this date and released on Alberts Archives, Easy (as a bonus track) and Good Times: Celebrating 50 Years of Albert Productions.
Date: May Program: Dance Party Station: TVT6, Hobart, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: 22nd May Program:It’s All Happening Station: ATN-7, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: 19th June Program: Bandstand Station: TCN9, Sydney, Australia. Survival Status: Survived. Released officially in Australia on the DVD set The Best of Bandstand Volume 3: 1965- 1965 and Bandstand Presents: The Easybeats Live In Australia.
Date: 20th June Program:Go!! Show Station: ATV-0, Melbourne, Australia. Survival Status: Believed to be wiped.
Date: 26th June
Program: Kommotion Weekend Special Station: ATV-0, Melbourne, Australia. Survival Status: Unknown
Date: 8th October
Program:The Easybeats (also known unofficially as The Coca-Cola special) Station: ATN7, Syndey, Australia. Survival Status: Survived. Currently unreleased officially. The mimed performance of “Sorry” is used by Albert Productions as a promo video. Songs performed: “Wedding Ring”, “I’ll Make You Happy”, “I Can See”, “We’re Doing Fine” (performed by Janice Slater), “Sorry”, “Easy As Can Be”, “Someday, Somewhere”, “In My Book”, “Raining In My Heart (performed by Tony Worsley), “Knocking On Wood” (performed by Tony Worsley), “Come And See Her”, “Come And See Her” (Coke Jingle Version), “Women”, “Too Much”, “If You Don’t Think” (performed by Janice Slater), “Coke Jingle (Make Life Swing)”, “For My Woman”, “A Very Special Man”, “She’s So Fine”.
In the early days of The Easybeats – it was just Stevie Wright, Harry Vanda, Dick Diamonde and John Gamage. During this time, the band would mostly play songs from The Starfighters (Harry Vanda’s former group back home in Holland) play-list with some covers by The Shadows and The Hollies thrown in. After saving up enough money, they managed to record an original song that Stevie had written. In a small recording studio in Pitt Street, Sydney, they cut an acetate recording of “The Lonley Surfer”. According to the Stevie Wright biography Hard Road, the lyrics went:
“When I walk along the sand, I got no one to hold my hand. My hair is blonde, my skin is brown, But the girls wont have me around.”
It is unknown how many discs were made of this recording or if it still survives today. Nothing has ever surfaced either officially or unofficially.
The 2UW Demos
Cashing in on the booming teenage music market, Ted Albert (the 27 year old who joined the family owned music publishing company J. Albert & Son in the mid-1950’s), formed Albert Productions as the company’s artist and repertoire department in 1964. Manager of The Easybeats, Mike Vaughn was a mutual friend of Ted’s. Eager to show his band to Albert, he convinced him to let the group audition for his new company. Seeing the potential in the young band, it was just a few days later that they were signed to Albert Productions.
At the time, Albert Productions lacked any professional recording facilities. However, J. Albert & Son owned and operated the Sydney radio station 2UW. This included; the old radio theatre in George Street, Sydney which was no longer used for broadcast but for used for auditions, rehearsals and demo recordings.
Before The Easybeats began work on their first single, Ted had the band run through the current repertoire of material. This was in the hope that an original song would be the first single (to which J. Albert & Son Publishing would have the rights). A make shift recording studio was set up in the 2UW theatre space with the control room being the old ticket booth. According to music historian Glenn A. Baker, The Easybeats recorded approximately 40 songs for these demos. Of these demos – only five of these songs have been released to the public on the Raven Records E.P. Mean Old Lovin’, while others have appeared on the bootleg album Steady On. It has also been said that their first single “For My Woman” was recorded during these sessions at the 2UW Theatre. However the rough quality of the demos recordings on the E.P. and Steady On are at odds with the much superior audio quality of “For My Woman” and its B-Side “Say That You’re Mine”.
During the band’s Australian Years, Stevie Wright and George Young would continually write new material for both themselves and other Australian artists. These would commonly be written and recorded either at the Young family home’s living room piano or during rehearsals at 2UW theatre with the band.
But in one case; a song written for singer Johnny Young, “Step Back”, was written and demoed in the band’s hotel room. This came about after an appearance The Easybeats made on TVW-7 Perth’s teen music show ‘Club Seventeen’, which was hosted by Johnny Young. Johnny plucked up the courage to ask George if he could have a song written for him. Young told Johnny that he’d been working on a song but the lyrics were still incomplete. He told Johnny to come around the hotel room the next day when he might have something for him.
Martin Clarke, head of Clarion Records: “Johnny came down to the studio in a mad rush, a million miles an hour saying “The Easybeats are here and they are going to write a song for us!”. They were staying in the hotel at the other end of Hay Street. So I gave him a tape machine to record the song in their hotel room”.
An over-enthusiastic Johnny knocked on the hotel room door at 7am the next morning. The door opened to reveal half a dozen naked girls. Clearly no further work on the song had occurred on the song, but a drowsy Stevie went off to his favourite room for writing lyrics. A short time later he came out of the toilet with verses to ‘Step Back’ written on a notepad, after which he went back to bed.
That original demo recorded in the hotel room with George, Stevie, Harry and Johnny survived and was released in 2003 on the UK compilation The Clarion Call.
The song was released officially in 1966 d as a double A-side with ‘Cara-lyn’ and went to #1 in Sydney and Adelaide.
Another demo for a song Johnny Young written by Wright, Young and Harry Vanda was “Good Evening Girl”. The has yet to surface either officially or unofficially. However Johnny Young’s version was released as a B-Side to his single “Lady” in 1967.
Demo Recordings Officially Released
Released on the Mean Old Lovin’ EP
Mean Old Lovin’
I Don’t Agree
Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
Released on theThe Clarion Call compilation
Step Back (with Johnny Young)
Demo Recordings Released on Unofficial Bootlegs
I Know Something (That You Don’t Know)
Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
Every Night (also known as “Nothing Happens”)
Woe Is Me
I Believe In You
I Can Still See The Sun
Demo Recordings logged in the Albert Productions vaults, but still unreleased in any format
These titles were published by Glenn A. Baker in BOMP Magazine, 1978.
Away With The Wind
You Talk To Much
What Do You Want, Babe (demo)
Shout Your House Down (often listed as “Shut Your House Down”)
Not In Here With You
Need a Little Bit of Lovin’
Good Evening Girl
Oh No No No
Going Out of My Mind (demo)
Yes, You Did
Nothing In Particular
So Many Things
Everything You Got Babe (the demo for “You Got It Off Me”)
Some sad news. The Easybeats Manager Mike Vaughan, passed away yesterday (8th September 2015), in Yonkers, New York, from a massive stroke.
Vaughan, a young real estate agent from Sydney, first spotted The Easybeats at the famous Beatle Village nightclub (one of Sydney’s first discotheques). Even during their early days, he saw the potential in the group and was instrumental in getting them their recording contract with Albert Productions in 1965. That year, the band’s popularity exploded in Australia when the single “She’s So Fine” was released. The press, comparing the mania to the Beatles popularity, called it “Easyfever”.
In 1966, he traveled to the U.S. to secure The Easybeats a U.S. recording deal. After meeting with nearly every label in the business, he eventually succeed by landing a deal with United Artists Records. This led to Mike and the group moving to England where The Easybeats would record their international hit song “Friday On My Mind”. He continued to book shows and even co-producing for the group as they toured the U.S., Europe and Australia between 1966 and 1969.
In 1969, he married the former Jaine Anne Higson and, after the group broke -up in November of that year, relocated to New York City. Shortly after his move to New York, he would own and operate two restaurants. In recent years; he would found a successful company that sells satellite TV systems to bars and restaurants for televising sporting events.
Mike had two children, Lainie and her brother Chad. Jaine Vaughan passed away from cancer last year. He will be missed.
Broadcast Date: 2nd November 1969 at 6.30pm EST. Show Taping: 21st October, 1969 at ATN-7’s Epping Studios. Station: ATN-7, Sydney, Australia. Songs Performed: Set-list unknown however one article confirms that “Hound Dog” was performed by The Easybeats. Survival Status: Unknown.
To promote the current Australian tour, The Easybeats recorded their second special for ATN-7. According to TV Week, taping for the show took place at ATN-7’s Epping Studios, after the group had returned from the Queensland leg of the tour. The taping session with the group took place in front of a studio audience. It began at 6.30pm and was scheduled to finish that evening at 9.30pm.
The special was broadcast on Sunday night at 6.30pm (the Australian prime time slot then). Hosted by the “King of Aussie Rock ‘n’ Roll” Johnny O’ Keefe, the special included appearances from The Flying Circus, Johnny Farnham, The Valentines, The Dave Miller Set, Mike Furber, The Children of Tomorrow and “Little” Pattie.
The special was savaged by a conservative reviewer in the Sydney Morning Herald’s entertainment page Veritas. The review was titled “Scruffiest Mob I’ve Seen”:
“Merlie, the make-up girl, must have been away the day Channel 7 recorded its Easybeats special. Otherwise I’m certain Little Stevie and his long-haired mob would have appeared before the cameras with their hair trimmed or at least permed.”
The “reviewer” doesn’t so much critique the special on its own merits, but instead simply objects to having long-haired rockers on their TV at 6.30 on a Sunday.
To date, no footage has surface as of the initial airing of the special. A picture in the Absolute Anthology LP liner notes is said to be a screen shot from the special. The photo has the band are both dressed and on a set very similar to the album cover of the Friends LP.
Special thanks to Stephen Thomas for his research.
The Easybeats [a.k.a The Coca-Cola Special] (1966).
Broadcast Date: 8th October, 1966 at 6.30pm (ATV-7 Sydney), 19th November 1966 at 5.50pm (ADS-7 Adelaide) Taping: July 1966 at the ATN-7 Studios in Sydney. Station: ATN7, Syndey, Australia. Survival Status: Survived but currently unreleased officially. The mimed performance of “Sorry” is used by Albert Productions as a promo video as well as footage in the Friday On My Mind:The Story of The Easybeats documentary. Songs performed: “Wedding Ring”, “I’ll Make You Happy”, “I Can See”, “We’re Doing Fine” (performed by Janice Slater), “Sorry”, “Easy As Can Be”, “Someday, Somewhere”, “In My Book”, “Raining In My Heart (performed by Tony Worsley), “Knocking On Wood” (performed by Tony Worsley), “Come And See Her”, “Come And See Her” (Coke Jingle Version), “Women”, “Too Much”, “If You Don’t Think” (performed by Janice Slater), “Coke Jingle (Make Life Swing)”, “For My Woman”, “A Very Special Man”, “She’s So Fine”.
If you every needed to show somebody the effect Easyfever had on mid 1960’s Australia, then you would only need to show them their Australian “farewell” television special. Although completely mimed, the bands energy is absolutely electrifying as the storm through their set list in front of a studio audience of screaming teenagers complete with go-go dancers and pop idol Billy Thorpe to compère.
Special guests of the program included Janice Slater performing her then current release ‘We’re Doin’ Fine’ with it’s flip side ‘If You Don’t Think’ and Tony Worsley with ‘Raining in My Heart’ and ‘Knocking On Wood’ (released that month on Sunshine).
Coca-Cola sponsored the program and the product placement is so blatant, that you would think it was satire. Thorpe holds a coke bottle facing camera while introducing the band. The Easybeats perform two “Coke Jingles” (the second with some awkwardly scripted opening banter from Stevie). It really shows the a unique period in rock history; there were no cries from fans of “selling out” it’s just what artists did.
The closing credits show us the hysteria of the band boarding their QANTAS jet to the mother land. Next stop – London and Abbey Road Studios.
Currently, the special is still unreleased in its entirety. The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia does have a 16mm kinescope of the program in its archive. This print has been used in various documentaries on the group and the performance of “Sorry” was used be Albert Productions as a promotional video.