Easy Come Easy Go

Broadcast Date: NOT BROADCAST
Filmed: 1967, various locations in the U.K. and Australia (1966).
Station: ABC2, Australia.
Survival Status: the complete original 16mm colour negative is believed to be destroyed.  A 16mm Black and White copy partly survived.  Two sequences were damaged during film processing.  Some of the work print was rediscovered in 2009.  This would be re-edited into a new 33 minute cut of the film.
Songs performed: “Maybe It’s Because I’m an Easybeat”, “Heaven and Hell” (rehearsal, recording and finished song), “Wedding Ring”, “Loch Lomond”, “Who’ll Be The One”, “Saturday Night”, “Friday On My Mind”.
Availability: Released on DVD in Australia – 2nd September 2015.

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George Young during the “Heaven and Hell” sessions. Captured on the film Easy Come, Easy Go.

With The Easybeats abroad, Australia’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commissioned a television documentary on the group which would be screened later that year. Young film-maker Peter Clifton was given the task of documenting the groups efforts in the mother country. The main focus of the film would be the writing and recording of the group’s next single – the mini-epic: ‘Heaven and Hell’. The footage captured is a fascinating look into the behind the scenes of the group in the recording studio mixed with various fantasy sequences and interviews married with Stevie Wright’s narration.

Sadly the finished project was not to be and the film would be burdened with problems after it’s initial completion. The ABC took issue with the films original title: Between Heaven and Hell, so Clifton re-titled it after one of his favourite poems by Brian Patten; Somewhere Between Heaven and Woolworths. This didn’t fare with the ABC either as they felt that title was too close to the Woolworths company and in breach of their anti-advertisement policy. In the end, the ABC suggested the film be re-titled Easy Come Easy Go (in despite of an Elvis Presley film of the same title was released the same year). Clifton agreed with the change and sent the negatives back to Australia to be processed as Black and White print for Australian television. But fate would have its way – and a error in the lab would destroy two entire sequences of the 1 hour documentary, dramatically reducing its running time. The ABC were not impressed, nor at this stage enthused to screen a shorter feature so in the end they cancelled the entire project.

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The band performing “Saturday Night” in Easy Come, Easy Go.

What remained of that black and white print, went missing very soon after.  In 1969 Clifton would re-edit the colour footage of the band performing “Friday On Mind” with other scenes from the film, into a concert film In The Summertime…The Beat Goes On.  This film road-showed across Australia until 1970.    An unnamed Alberts employee has claimed that Easy Come, Easy Go was screened in the outer Sydney suburb of Wallacia in 1970, however it is more likely that it was the sequence from In The Summertime…The Beat Goes On.  According to Clifton, his partner and producer Peter Ryan “threw out all the film components while I was in London and have never been found.”.  Sequences from In The Summertime…The Beat Goes On were later reused in Clifton concert film Popcorn.  The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, where the 16mm print of the original 1967 version of Easy Come, Easy Go is kept, lists a 16mm colour film reel that goes for 3 minutes.  At this stage, the content of that reel is unknown.

An article about In The Summertime... The Beat Goes On (1969). This early concert film by Peter Clifton feature the colour footage from Easy Come, Easy Go. Go-Set magazine. January 15, 1969.
An article about In The Summertime… The Beat Goes On (1969). This early concert film by Peter Clifton feature the colour footage from Easy Come, Easy Go.
Go-Set magazine. January 15, 1969. Click image to enlarge.

 

For years the film was lost until, it was found by an act of chance.  In September 2009, cult-movie distributors Oddball Film+Video held a screening of rare rock films in San Francisco titled:Friday on My Mind: Beat Group and British Invasion on Film. Part of the program was a 16mm print of the lost documentary. As luck would have it – around the same time author John Tait was researching his book on the Vanda and Young songwriting team (which would be released in 2010 as Vanda & Young: Inside Australia’s Hit Factory). Tait’s research partner, Mike Griffiths, discovered the festival by coincidence, when researching information on Easybeats cover songs for Tait’s book.   Oddball Film+Video’s festival came up in one of his Google searches.  Knowing how valuable the film was, Griffiths contacted Peter Clifton and Oddball about retrieving the lost film. How the film made it to the U.S. is still remains a mystery. The 16mm print was returned to Clifton back in Australia for a restoration by the National Film and Sound Archive. The completed film (with the title Easy Come, Easy Go) was finally screened at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012.

The film has made two other appearances since it’s 2012 screening. One at the St. Kilda Film Festival and the other with a performance of the bio-play Stevie: The Life and Music of Stevie Wright & The Easybeats.  It was eventually released on DVD on 2nd September 2015 through Australian DVD label, Umbrella Entertainment (region free as well!).

The DVD release.
The 2015 DVD release.
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