Broadcast Date: NOT BROADCAST
Filmed: 1967, various locations in the U.K. and Australia (1966).
Station: ABC2, Australia.
Survival Status: the original 16mm colour print believed to be distroyed. 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”.
With their rock heroes 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 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). Chifton agreed with the change and sent the negatives back to Australia to be processed. But cruel 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. What remained of the film went missing very soon after, an Alberts employee claimed that the reels were last seen in the outer Sydney suburb of Wallacia in 1970.
For years the film was excepted to be lost. However the story does not end there. 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, Canadian fan Mike Griffiths discovered the festival by coincidence of searching for information on the film on Google. Oddball Film+Video was contacted by Tait who put them in touch with Peter Clifton. 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. The completed film (with the title Easy Come, Easy Go)was finally screened at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012 – 45 years after it was first filmed.
The following a brief run-down of the current edit of Easy Come, Easy Go in its current form:
The opening credits are a mix of newly composed titles and what would have been from the original film. Peter Clifton provides newly recorded narration over the scenes of Easy Fever hysteria. During the film, different members of the band are interviewed and vox pops are dispersed through-out. But it’s Stevie who really stands out as the star (“the fellow who does the jumping around on stage”). Young, fresh faced – oozes charisma as he commentates through-out the film about the band members and their different personalities. The film opens with a shot of Sydney Harbor and jumps to scenes of 1960’s London. Playing over the montage is an unreleased version of ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner’ re-titled ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m a Easybeat’ (sung in a rowdy pub style – similar to the Central Sounds track ‘Kelly’ but more lively).
We then find the group rehearsing and working on the riffs for what will become ‘Heaven and Hell’. We then cut to scenes of fan chaos at Perth Airport (while ‘Wedding Ring’ plays over the footage). George Young: “…we were expected to write a hit, the result was ‘Friday on My Mind’. this is followed by 2011 audio of Harry Vanda talking about the making of ‘Friday’. Next we see their manager Mike Vaughn. Stevie pops into frame: “That’s our manager” he says with an ear-to-ear school boy grin. Mike: “I just got you a great deal”.
Next Olympic Studios. Glynn Johns talks the guitar parts over with Harry and George. Then they go over the vocal parts with Stevie. We cut to the control room were Johns calls out to Nicky Hopkins over the talk-back.
Next is a dream sequence which evolves Stevie playing a card game where he always as four aces in every hand. The Stevie narrates over the scene, explaining that the card game was like the streak of good luck he was having at that point.
Then we cut to footage of Radio Caroline with ‘Who’ll Be The One’ over it. This goes into a 1960’s style video of the band playing golf and clowning around. We then cut to an fantasy sequence of the group in Scotland around an old castle. This is were the ‘Loch Lomond’ footage comes in. We then cut to a music video performance for ‘Saturday Night’. The band are in there ruffles and velvet gear on a sound stage with a white back drop.
The band then interviewed again – this time we hear about their future: Snowy can see the group getting into films, George would like to open a recording studio, while Stevie would like to be happily married. This is followed by a soccer match between the The Small Faces (although at the St. Kilda screening presenter John Tait thought that it was actually Traffic).
There is another quick vox pop from an unidentified London woman who knows the group as “the ones that sound like The Beatles. But The Beatles three years ago”.
We go back to the white sound stage. Stevie: “and now its time for the pay day song”. The band then begin ‘Friday on My Mind’. The credits roll after the performance with the finished version of ‘Heaven and Hell’ playing over a quick recap of the film.
As of yet, Easy Come, Easy Go has yet to see a television or DVD/Blu-Ray release. 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.
UPDATE: Easy Come, Easy Go is finally coming to DVD on 2nd September 2015 through Australian DVD label, Umbrella Entertainment.