“The Lonley Surfer”
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’m Happy
- Hey Babe
- I Don’t Agree
- Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
Released on the The Clarion Call compilation
- Step Back (with Johnny Young)
Demo Recordings Released on Unofficial Bootlegs
- Steady On
- 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
- Crowded City
- Need a Little Bit of Lovin’
- Good Evening Girl
- Skinny Minnie
- Hold Me
- 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 Other Guy’s Gonna See My Baby